Category Archives: Jewish community

Pollan’s epiphany, community, and seedling swaps

Last month, Michael Pollan released his seventh food book, Cooked, and I wrote about it for The Jewish Daily Forward. The book is based on the epiphany that many of his tortured foodie questions had the same answer: Cook. This simple, inherantly communal idea embodies a theme that has been in my life a lot lately.

Pollan’s book is an homage and philosophical journey to home cooking. Much of Pollan’s research, however, did not take place in his house in the Bay Area. Instead, he entered the far-flung realms of barbecue pit men, artisanal  bakers, and fermentos  — communities that run thick with tradition and passion.

That theme of deep community continued as I attended the Do Good Summit on May 3 to see the likes of Our Black Year author Maggie Anderson, local B Corp founder Raj Aggarwal, and DC Brau‘s Jeff Hancock. As I wandered the brand new, sunny corridors of the Anacostia Arts Center, I received a tweet:

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Of course. Soupergirl, one of my favorite local businesses, had saved a loaf of challah and was going to make sure I got it. I’d come in a couple of days before to request it, without even giving my name. That request went onto a sticky note, which turned into a Twitter ping, which found me as I went about my day.  I’d like to see Safeway do that!

At that time, I was gearing up for the DC State Fair Seedling Swap. It took place two days later. While the Do Good Summit was the inaugural conference of the new art gallery and community space,  the crowd at the swap packed northeast DC’s Center for Green Urbanism for its last event before it moved out. The rush of community concern over the closing touched my heart just as much as the love of green things percolating through the rooms. The Center is currently searching for a new home.

Right now, those tomato and marigold and peanut seedlings are growing on front stoops and window sills and raised beds around the District. But the frost is coming tonight. I hope we can keep this all going.

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Sepharaeli Charoset

Photo by Flickr user Yucca2k6, used under Creative Common license.

Photo by Flickr user Yucca2k6, used under Creative Common license.

For a Passover seder last week, I was charged with bringing the charoset. I decided to make a batch in the Sephardi style with Israeli influences to compliment the traditional Ashkenazi version I’ve made and eaten since I was a kid.

Charoset is one of the symbolic foods on the seder plate. Whatever your ethnic take on it, it represents the mortar that enslaved Israelites slathered on bricks under the Egyptian sun.

My Middle Eastern melange of dried fruits, nuts, orange zest, and spices received about 100 times as many comments as the familiar Old World mixture of apples and nuts. It also drew an emphatic email request for the recipe, comparing the sweet paste to a certain highly addictive drug. Here is what I wrote up–stat–for the fellow seder guest.

So, just in time for Easter, I figured I would post it here. We still have a few days of Passover left (it ends at sundown on Tuesday, April 2) and it’s never too early to plan your fix for next year. (Recipe after the jump) Continue reading

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Sprout your own karpas

The Jewish sustainability organization Hazon put out a great post earlier this month. It’s called 10 Ways to Make Your Passover More Sustainable. I think my favorite is the idea of sprouting your own karpas, the leafy greens that hold a symbolic place at the seder table (#7). Using a “pascal yam” in place of a shank bone (#9) is a close second. Even though Passover is just about upon us (eliminating the option of #2: “Plan ahead,” by the time you read this), I couldn’t resist posting about it.

Check out the list, and feel free to leave a comment about making your Passover seder — or any dinner party — more positive for the environment, people, and the economy.

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Filed under Events, Jewish community, Sustainability

How I survived eating in for an entire month

A sign at a D.C. Metro station tells me what to do. By Rhea.

A sign at a D.C. Metro station tells me what to do. By Rhea.

…that’s the title of my final post in a series at The Jew and the Carrot. It sounds dramatic, but to be honest I wasn’t crawling to the finish line. Yes, it surprised me, too! This post includes a few locavore-friendly micro recipes, a look at sustainable food campaigns and apps, and a whole bunch of gratitude.

Check out “How I survived eating in for an entire month” for the whole story.

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Latke-Hamentasch Debate coming up

Four speakers. Two Jewish foods. One magical night.

D.C.-area Jews, foodies, and lovers of hilarious arguments, this one’s for you. Experience the Latke-Hamentasch Debate and nosh on “research materials” Wednesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. at Adas Israel (Cleveland Park Metro – Red Line). There will be ASL interpretation!

Click to enlarge the flier and read more.

22nd Annual DC LHS_Flyer-1

 

 

 

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Eating in Part II, in which our heroine faces an ancient scholar and fish sandwiches

My second post on my 31 days of eating in is up at The Jew and the Carrot. Check it out.

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Science and religion

Photo by Flickr user kkfea

Every Yom Kippur, I take my attention away from my growling stomach and the repentant prayers for a moment to think  I should write about this. I never do. Luckily, Gabe Popkin, a friend and graduate student in science writing at Johns Hopkins, has now done it for me. Gabe addresses the psychological and spiritual effects of going without food for religious purposes in The Sieve. I am honored to be one of the people he quoted for the piece, along with a rabbinical student, a Muslim community leader, and a D.C. cab driver.

Grab a snack and check out “Yom Kippur and the Science of Fasting.”

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Filed under Community of writers, Jewish community