As we close out another year of this (not-so-new-anymore) “new normal,” my resolution is to spend more time cultivating gratitude. Grief, exhaustion, and fear need no invitation. They rush in on their own, sprawling out and burrowing into the corners - a hostile takeover of mind and spirit.
Gratitude takes more work. So consider this an open invitation to join me in a meditation on the moments of our lives that make us feel thankful. The tough stuff isn’t going anywhere. But for right now, even just for a few minutes, let’s focus on joy.
I am thankful for:
- the mossy scent and prickly-brisk air that briefly cleared my head on a hike yesterday.
- watching my children form an independent bond with one other.
- the book I am writing on Roman Jewish cuisine. (Sometimes I truly cannot believe I get to do what I do.)
- a partner who fills our home with music.
- teachers. health care workers. farmers.
- Manifest Destini’s parenting wisdom.
- friends who keep trying with me when the original plan falls through.
- Wayne Thiebaud, whom I had regrettably forgotten about until he died this past weekend. What a delight to remember.
- satsuma tangerines.
- the Sunday farmer’s market on Cortelyou Road, where we can drop off the compost and buy pickles, and apples, and very good chocolate pound cake.
- Friday night Shabbat dinners, where we hold the challah up together while blessing it.
- Saturday pizza nights with dough from the coop.
- my perfect, cozy slippers.
- FaceTime, for connecting my mom with her grandkids when in-person visits weren’t possible. (And vaccines for making in-person visits more possible.)
- The Confessional podcast, with Nadia Bolz-Weber.
- family dance parties in the living room.
- stretching, when I remember.
- you (meaning YOU) - for joining me here at The Jewish Table. I honestly can not thank you enough. Happy New Year.
New Year’s Eve Chocolate “Fondue”
My family’s New Year’s Eve fondue tradition started last year when I was looking for a way to make the quarantine holiday fun and memorable for the kids. To call it “fondue” is a little ridiculous, since there’s no fondue pot keeping the chocolate warm. It’s literally just a bowl of microwave-melted chocolate surrounded by a bunch of things to dip into it. But honestly, what more do you need?
For the chocolate. In the microwave or over a double burner, melt together 2 (or 4 or 6 etc.) ounces of chopped, bittersweet baking chocolate + a splash of half and half or heavy cream until smooth. (Stir often so the chocolate doesn’t seize.)
For dipping. Surround the melted chocolate with pieces of banana, clementine segments, apple slices, kiwi rounds, dried figs, dates, peaches, and apricots, marshmallows, meringues, pretzels, cubed angel food cake or pound cake, mandelbrot or biscotti, and potato chips. Dip and repeat.
Over the past month on The Jewish Table, I’ve shared:
My favorite, cozy alternative to hot chocolate (Sahlab)
A recipe for Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Challah French Toast (why hello New Year’s Day breakfast!)
Greek-Jewish almond flour cookies called kourabiedes.
A recipe for homemade Chicken-Ginger Potstickers, and the history of American Jews’ love of Chinese food (on Christmas and beyond).
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