Sammi’s Restaurant

When Sammi was a feisty three year old and we were still unclear about why she ate so slowly and with such unusual habits, I tried to entice her to eat heartier foods by inviting her to cook alongside me. It was a method recommended anywhere I sought help with “picky eating,” even though she wasn’t picky in the way that most people described their picky-eating children. She tried a great many things — always willing, often surprisingly eager — but seldom more than a few bites. Cooking together — particularly baking together — was my attempt at imbuing food with a kind of positive energy. It was Jewish-mama-mojo, those afternoons when I plopped her on a stool next to me and held her little hand as it dropped flour in a bowl, stirred eggs, drizzled oil. Continue Reading…

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Mother Blessing

tostados

More than ten years ago, I attended a mother-blessing, also known sometimes as a blessingway, for one of my closest friends. Andrea was due shortly thereafter with her second child, a daughter. Surrounded by a small group of powerful, loving women, Andrea and her still-gestating daughter were touched by healing hands and given tokens of energy and affection in the form of beads to make a bracelet Andrea could use as a focus in labor.

Mid-way through the evening, we gathered in the kitchen of the host, Andrea’s friend, for food and drink. She bustled around in front of the stove and returned with a steaming ceramic bowl of refried black beans, smelling strongly of garlic, and a platter of corn tostados. We all slathered the crunchy, oversized tortilla chips with the savory beans, and I knew that, perhaps in small part due to the circumstances heavy with love and support, I’d fallen in love with a food. Continue Reading…

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