Monday, June 9, 2008

Chag Shavuot Sameach! Happy Shavuot!

When I was young, it was drilled into my head, as early as I can remember, that we were not Jew Haters. My father and mother read to us from the Old Testament more frequently than the New Testament....which was a Sunday Thing. But no toleration of Jew Hatred was allowed. We weren't allowed to say nigger, either, because Dad played jazz, and his heroes were all black men and women. Sarah Vaughan was his one true was certain of that.
We spent a lot of time memorizing the Ten Commandments and trying our best to live them out in our daily lives.

Still, we have no holiday that commemorates the Giving of the Law to Moses By God. I wish we did, because the celebratory eating, alone would be enough to make me convert!

Sadly ironic, then, how the ACLU - which has a large number of Jewish lawyers as members, have done their utmost to banish those commandments from public view and discourse. In Israel, on the other hand, it is celebrated. With joyous abandon.

As I was meandering on the web to find an appropriate thought that might be relevant to all on Shavuot, I came across The Grateful Rabbi, with a lovely thought on what to say as a tribute for a good dinner. Although I have linked to his site, I am going to post it here, as well, with a ping of gratitude to him.

"LASOVAH" - A Jewish "Bon Appétit"

It is quite amazing how one word can capture an entire spiritual world outlook! In the course of our required daily routine of eating, often the salutation shared with the table is-"Bon Appetit!" What is wished for is that we enjoy and experience a hearty and healthy appetite, that the food we eat is consumed with relish, with taste buds bursting with flavor and every morsel filling us with pleasure. Needless to say, a good appetite is not always to be taken for granted. The ill, the elderly, not infrequently suffer from an absence of appetite that brings much sadness and frustration to their lives. Appetite is certainly a physiological , sensual even psychological capacity for which to be grateful.
The Hebrew language has two different words that are used as expressions of culinary greeting.
One, "Be'teiavon," meaning "with appetite," or one could say, with gusto and strong desire. This reflects the mind set of most people.It is synonymous with the above mention term-"bon appetit." Whenever I hear this wish expressed at my table, I am always reminded of a different Hebrew expression that suggests something of great spiritual importance. I am not referring to formal blessings prior to eating or drinking; this is an established practice among those who are religiously oriented. The word I have in mind is likewise articulated by those of a traditional religious inclination, a word that hearkens back to the Biblical mandate for the Grace After Meals. "La'Sovah"-to satisfaction is the salutation that bears with it the hope that the food to be eaten be a source of a satisfying experience leaving one thankful and grateful. The phrase in Deuteronomy-"You shall eat, be satisfied and bless the Lord" is implied in this one word that is derived from the second of the three activities indicated in this Mitzvah, in this religious act- Eat, be satisfied, bless.
Thus, the wish for a satisfying meal points less to our own personal, sensual experience and more to the Source of our gift of food with the awareness of being grateful and satisfied with the food that is available to us. Again, the blessing and the wish of "la'sovah"-may you experience contentment and gratefulness-is another everyday way by which to cultivate an enriching sense of gratefulness in our lives.
I am told that mostly dairy recipes rule the day....which means cheesecake, of course. Two recipes that I saw HERE were intriguing enough to be included in today's Holiday Meal for Gentiles Who Envy Jewish Holidays:

From the Website Holiday Eats, a nice, refreshing bowl of Cold Zucchini Soup

2 lb. zucchini
3 c vegetable soup broth
1 T chopped marjoram (fresh)
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 c milk
1 c heavy cream
handful of chopped parsley (for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Trim, wash and slice zucchini. Cook in saucepan with broth and marjoram until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Puree.

Melt the butter in small sauté pan and add flour. Whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool slightly and add milk. Return to flame and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until flour is completed dissolved. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour mixture into zucchini broth.

Chill thoroughly. Stir in cream before serving. Garnish with parsley.

And maybe some dessert pancakes, too!

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

2 T butter
1 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1-2 T sugar
4 eggs
16 ounces cottage cheese

Mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and add cottage cheese until smooth. Add to dry ingredients and blend well.

Melt butter in frying pan and drop spoonfuls of batter into hot pan. Flip when pancake starts to bubble.

This sounds like a good substitute for short cake.

Of course, gentile that I am, what dairy product would best exemplify my own personal tribute?

Banana Coconut cream pie, of course! No recipe to follow...just a lovely picture, sorry.

La'sovah, Indeed!


  1. seanymph9:16 PM

    I just bought a Banana cream pie yesterday. Im glad Im right with the holiday! lol

  2. Amen, Sistah! Happy Cows to You!


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