Posted by Rob Eshman
Feed the dogs, goats and chickens.
Collect the eggs.
Melanie Murez swings by to drop off the pumpkin we entered in the Venice Farmers Market Giant Pumpkin Contest.
The winning pumpkin, thank you.
Noa and I take the dogs for a walk on the canals. We pop into the canoe we keep there, paddle around.
The water is see-to-the-bottom. We paddle past egrets, ducks and seagulls.
We tie up by Washington Blvd., stop at The Cows End for an avocado and feta sandwich (and, of course, more yerba mate), then paddle back.
On our way back, we pass a Halloween parade of stand-up paddle boarders. Katy Perry is there. A Viking. A Goth Girl. A Human Reptile.
The group is from Poseidon Stand Up Paddle of Santa Monica.
Noa and I look at each other: Only in Venice.
I go home and finish making chevre. But that’s the next post.
[RECIPE]Cows End Avocado and Feta Sandwich
Split an Italian roll. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Lay on a half avocado, sliced, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, pepperoncini and feta cheese. Serve with potato chips.
Only in Venice: The Venice Canal Poseidon Stand Up Paddle Halloween Parade
5.16.13 at 12:18 pm | The Internet is a dangerous place, full of bad. . .
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4.10.13 at 11:14 am | When I hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, I have. . .
5.16.13 at 12:18 pm | The Internet is a dangerous place, full of bad. . . (1900)
5.8.13 at 5:11 pm | The best Israeli breakfast in LA is at (125)
3.15.11 at 4:50 pm | It's time for Tony Bourdain to go to Israel (65)
October 28, 2011 | 7:03 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Every year I devote more garden space than I should to my Ahab-esque quest to capture one simple prize: Biggest Pumpkin at the Venice Farmers Market.
I avoid ornamental plants and flowers whenever possible. If you can’t eat it, what’s the point? But I seem to make an exception—a huge exception— for a giant pumpkin. Why? I started doing it when the kids were young, a fun way to get them invested in the garden beyond plain old vegetables.
They were barely interested then—yeah, sure dad, you’re doing it ‘for the kids’—and now they are just not.
Here’s the thing: every year I come in Second Place. If I lost, if I didn’t even show, that’s one thing. But I can taste victory, and even though the 20 square feet of vine that swirls over my otherwise productive soil each summer would be better spent on tomatoes or kale or arugula, I find myself each July pumping that corner of the garden up with goat manure and compost, preparing a mound an a moat, and laying a few seeds inside.
This year I even bought a packet of Atlantic Giant seeds from a garden store in Half Moon Bay. My sister lives near there, and I figured the home of the world’s biggest pumpkins would have the best seeds. The seeds, I noticed, were produced in Kansas. Still. I follow a book, too. It’s called How to Grow a Giant Pumpkin. It has photos of people placing their pumpkins on truck scales using a tractor. My biggest pumpkin, so far, was 17 pounds. Maybe this year.
For me, October always revolves around pumpkins, growing one, eating many. We end up inviting lots of people over during the weeklong Sukkot holiday. For almost every dinner I make a stuffed pumpkin. It feeds a lot of people, it tastes good, and it comes to the table with a wow factor. Serve people a stew of cubed orange squash, beans and kale and they’ll silently shrug, no matter how good it tastes. Serve them beans and kale cooked inside a pumpkin, and you get a wow. And you don’t even have to cube the pumpkin.
I stuffed my first pumpkin in 1985, when I worked at the first Il Fornaio in Union Square, San Francisco. A woman who baked alongside me was in charge of staff lunch one day. She hollowed out a pumpkin, filled it with alternating layers of toasted sourdough bread, gruyere and caramelized onions, then poured white wine and heavy cream up to the rim. It went into the bread oven, and when it came out, the flesh melting soft, the interior puffed and gratineed, I just kept thanking her for two things: lunch, and telling me where she got the recipe, from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food. It is still my favorite cook book, my—okay, I’ll say it—Bible.
In fall, Jewish holidays hit the beach like Marines at Normandy, they just keep coming. The stuffed pumpkin is an almost impregnable defense. Make ahead, fill it with dairy or with vegetables or with meat—cook it, reheat it, no matter what, it works. Just remember to use a pumpkin grown with eating in mind. The giant and display pumpkins tend to be stringy, bland and dry. Sugar Pumpkin, Cinderella and some other strains are not just beautiful pumpkins, they are good squash.
As for my non-edible giant pumpkin this year, the weigh in was at 9 am this morning. I dropped my specimen off with Jim Murez, the market director, and went off to a meeting. Three minutes ago, Jim e-mailed me:
“You are the First Place Winner @ 20.5 Lbs. Two others had crop failures. Congratulations!”
Yea! Can there be two sweeter words in the English language besides “crop failures”?
[RECIPE] STUFFED PUMPKIN
Learn the techniques and adjust amounts depending on the size of the pumpkin and your taste. This is a recipe for when want to make this dish start to finish in an hour. Pumpkins are not exactly spun sugar. It is going to be hard to mess this up.
1. Pick your pumpkin. Choose a large eating pumpkin (Sugar, Cinderela, etc). Too big is better than too small. The pumpkin should be free of blemish and heavy for its size. Pick one with a nice stem, which serves as a handle and adds to the table drama.
2. Hollow out the pumpkin. Carve a circle around the top quarter, just where its starts to get wide. Lift off then cut and scrape away all the stringy fiber and seeds. Use a stiff metal spoon and a knife.
3. Season. Rub the inside with olive oil and season with a good dose of salt and fresh pepper. Throw in some garlic as well.
4. Precook. This helps speed things up and ensures your pumpkin will be soft. Replace lid, place on a baking sheet or pan, and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until just barely tender—you want al dente, not soft.
5. Prepare stuffing. Saute onion with garlic and spices (ras el-hanout, Berber spice, cumin, etc). Add chopped kale, diced potato and soaked or canned garbanzo and some water or stock. ( If you’re using meat brown first, then proceed with onion, etc.) Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until flavorful.
6. Stuff your pumpkin. Remove pumpkin from oven and add stuffing. Replace lid and return to ven. Bake at 350 degrees until pumpkin is soft. Serve.
There are many variation, unlimited. Go Italian with canelini beans, Italian dandelion, bay leaves and lemon. Go Yiddish with cholent or Sephardic with hamin. Use for a chicken stew or vegetable curry.
For the inspirational, and richest recipe, see Onion Panade in Richard Olney’s Simple French Food, and make it in your pumpkin.
October 19, 2011 | 4:14 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Over the High Holy Days, I used meat that I bought through KOL Foods Los Angeles buying club.
The Washington, D.C.-based company sells beef, chicken, turkey, lamb and duck that is raised on open pastures and killed according to the highest standards of humane slaughter and kashrut supervision. The L.A. buying club, organized by Got Kosher co-owner Evelyn Baron, enables people to make their purchases online and save on the high shipping costs, which can be more than the food itself.
You order online, using the drop-down menu to specify your buying club (they exist in Boston, New York, Chicago and other cities). You pay a flat rate of around $50 for shipping (which you can share with a friend or neighbor and you pick up at a designated location, which in Los Angeles is Temple Beth Am on La Cienega Boulevard. Because pickup locations have limited storage space, you must get your delivery on an appointed day, between specific hours. Hey, if you want easy, buy a Slim Jim.
Last Passover, I bought a turkey and some rib-eye steaks. They were excellent. This year, I bought beef brisket, chickens and whole ducks.
According to the warm and fuzzy Web site description, my ducks were raised on a Pennsylvania pasture by a sensitive Amish farmer named Aaron.
The grass-fed beef comes from a ranch in Montana. I don’t know the name of the guy there, but, judging by the photos, I do know both my cow and duck lived on much nicer spreads than I do.
So what, you ask? The end of my duck’s luxurious farm stay is the same as the end for a factory-raised duck: a long blade across the throat.
I have no illusions that the end in either case is not wholly pleasant. But an animal’s life beforehand doesn’t have to be nasty and brutish. A recent Forward investigation into the kosher beef industry in South America — where much Israeli meat comes from — revealed ongoing, unconscionable cruelty, all under the guise of kashrut.
That is blasphemy, and kosher suppliers and consumers who don’t act to improve conditions for the animals will cause serious damage to the kosher “brand,” not to mention its actual ethical foundation.
The ideal situation would be for our many local kosher meat stores to carry Aaron’s ducks and those Montana cattle. Not only is it the right thing to do, they taste better.
Both the duck and the brisket I cooked for Rosh Hashanah had superb flavor. But the duck was exceptional — far better than any commercially available kosher duck I’ve ever had. The huge magret was deep red and minerally rich. The meat was tender, and the two or more cups of rendered fat will flavor my roast potatoes all winter. With the brisket, I made my neighbor Holly Wiland’s Brisket With Fennel, Preserved Lemon and Olives. It is so flavorful and light, you think eating that much beef is good for you.
I turned the duck into Crispy Roast Duck With Pomegranate-Fig Gastrique. A gastrique is a sauce that balances sweet, usually in the form of sugar, with sour, usually in the form of vinegar. Duck is rich. It needs a bit of sour to counteract its fattiness. I used chopped fresh figs in the sauce for additional sweetness, and the first pomegranates off my tree for sharpness. Coastal pomegranates never get too sweet, they say. They’re right.
A 3 1/2-pound kosher duck with shipping will run you close to $40. It will require a certain amount of hassle. But what you get is great-tasting food from an animal that lived a pleasant animal life. Factory farming may be cheaper, but there is nothing kosher about it, absolutely nothing.
October 17, 2011 | 5:32 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
This is a recipe the world desperately needs. We all know that the more green leafy vegetables we can stuff down our throats the better. Kale, collard greens, dandelion, chard—They have vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and, by the way, flavor. Prepared well, they taste like spring and earth and health.
Over Sukkot I’ve been taking advantage of all the Tuscan kale and chard in the markets. I like rainbow chard, which looks like candy and tastes like… chard.
The problem with most chard dishes is you use just the leaves. You blanch them, chop them, saute them. There’s a lot of recipes for chard leaves: stuffed chard, stir-fried chard, chard salad. These recipes always come with some variation on this instruction: “Separate leaves from ribs. Reserve ribs for another use.”
The problem is that “other use” never comes. Some recipes unhelpfully suggest using them in vegetable stock, to which I say (cue sarcasm): YUM! Chard rib stock. Sign me up. Otherwise, cookbooks are clueless about what you can do with your stockpile of chard ribs.
My solution to the eternal excess chard rib dilemma came when I was making stuffed chard leaves. For that you really have to cut out the thicker, tougher white rib, or else you can’t roll the leaves around the stuffing. I had some water boiling to blanch the leaves.
But before I did that, I took my pile of chard ribs, plunged them in hot water a minute, then immediately poured some rice wine vinegar over them and sprinkled in some sugar and salt. I refrigerated them until they were chilled, and when they emerged, I had chard rib pickles.
These became a standard pre-dinner nosh in our house. People eat them like chips. You can add chili oil, fresh or preserved lemon, fresh ginger, powdered sumac—anything you want to flavor them. But I think they do best with just the plain pickling solution. They keep in the fridge for a couple weeks.
Remember, if you make chard rib pickles, reserve leaves for another use.
Foodaism’s Chard Rib Pickles
Cut chard ribs into equal lengths.
Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Remove and place in bowl.
Cover with a mixture of rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. (About one teaspoon sugar and ½ t. salt for every cup of vinegar, but let taste be a better guide). Let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Within a few hours, they’ll be ready to eat.
October 12, 2011 | 3:57 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Two words you don’t often see in the same sentence: Bono and Sukkot.
But the rocker/activist’s ONE advocacy group, which fights poverty in the Horn of Africa, released a PDF booklet yesterday that links the desperate situation in Africa with the ancient Jewish holiday.
On Sukkot we gather in flimsy booths to remember when the Children of Israel wandered through the desert. But a fragile, hungry existence is the daily reality for millions of Africans.
The pamphlet provides Jews observing the holiday, and their rabbis, with facts, figures, text and rituals to make the connection between the lessons of Sukkot and the reality of Africa. The purpose, according to the project’s creator Marc Friend, an intern at the American Jewish World Service, is to inspire Jews to act to address the situation.
The three page pamphlet states:
In Jewish tradition, the
holiday of Sukkot, the
Feast of Tabernacles,
provides a time for
one to remember the
journey from Egypt to the
Promised Land and to celebrate
the benefits of the harvest, by
living in temporary structures, a
Sukkah for a week. Yet, for millions
in the Horn of Africa, living in temporary
structures is a reality. Currently the Horn of
Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 60
years. More than 13 million people,mostly nomadic
pastoralists and farmers in parts of Somalia, Kenya
and Ethiopia are severely lacking access to food.
Instead of being able to celebrate the harvest, these millions
are left hungry and powerless. The holiday of Sukkot
provides an opportunity to celebrate our past, but recognize
that while we are free, others are still wondering the desert.
As the Horn of Africa faces such high levels of human
suffering, we can draw on our Jewish values and raise our
Bono founded ONE in 2002. (He wrote the song, “One,” in 1992. Monies from that went to benefit AIDS research.)
Download Bono’s Guide to Sukkot here.
While you’re reading it, listen to the song “One.” It still rocks.
October 12, 2011 | 3:11 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Last year, just before the High Holidays, a producer from TVK24, Korean Broadcasting emailed me asking if I knew someone whom they could interview for a series about food and tradition in Jewish culture.
Yes, I said, me.
Jisung Bahng asked if she could film me in my kitchen. I said I had a better idea. She could film me in my sukkah.
The perfect filming opportunity was coming up in a few weeks, when Jews celebrate the holiday of Sukkot. We build simple huts and eat in them.
She asked if I had any photos of these huts, and I sent them along. I think she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t arrive at my home to find eight people huddled around a Bunson burner in a cardboard box.
After Jisung and I confirmed a date—the day before the actual start of the holiday, a kind of Faux-kot—I started thinking up a menu. TK TV is aired in America, Korea and Europe. It dawned on me I’d be representing Jews to millions of Korean speakers. My wife Naomi, a rabbi, I knew, could ace the orals, explaining what Sukkot is on camera. My job was to come up with a menu that didn’t embarrass us.
Truthfully, it was easy. At Sukkot the markets are overflowing with end of summer and early fall produce. Swing a lulav and you’ll find something good to eat. Seasonal food, fresh, great ingredients and plenty of it. Here’s what I decided to cook:
Eggplant with Tahini and Date Syrup
Sugar Pumpkin with Garbanzo, Garlic, Potato and Chard
Stuffed Cabbage, Stuffed Chard and Stuffed Zucchini
Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives
Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate Seeds
Salad with Fig, Walnut, Mint and Lemon
Apple and Peach Gallette
Apple and Cranberry Gallette
Apple Strudel with Pomegranates and Dates (Recipe Below)
We invited my parents, our friends the Druckers, my niece, and our friends the Adlers. Jenna Adler’s parents are Korean, and it’s absolutely true we are happy to hang with them anytime, anywhere. But it did seem like we were trying awfully hard to show off by trotting out the one part-Korean heritage Jewish family we knew.
Jenna was up for it: she could tell her parents to catch her on Korean TV.
Many weeks after our meal, a DVD arrived in the mail. It was our Sukkah meal, translated into Korean (with English subtitles), and produced for a Korean audience.
The title of the food documentary series in which our episode appears is, “Living and Breathing DNA.” Talk about Lost in Translation.
The segment begins with a wide shot of me picking vegetables for dinner, and Naomi picking pomegranates. I wonder if Koreans are keyed in to the whole backyard local sustainable thing, or if what looks so cool to us looks like peasant life to them. Just how bad is that recession?
Watching the video a year later, two things jump out at me: For someone trying to explain the joyous nature of Sukkot, I look like a constipated undertaker. Naomi is smiling, explaining the holiday with a relaxed cheer.
“Sukkot celebrates the fall harvest,” Naomi said. “We build these booths to remind us of the time the Children of Israel wandered in desert for 40 years. It was considered a time when the Children of Israel felt close to God.”
I look at her like I just swallowed a bug. And when it’s my turn to speak, when Jisung asks me what’s special about Sukkot food, I mumble through my explanation of its seasonal nature, the symbolism, yada yada yada.
Here’s the insight I contribute: “It’s a really fun holiday,” I say. “You sit outside and eat a meal.”
Four thousand years of Jewish civilization as interpreted by Beavis.
I began to feel self conscious—never a good thing on camera. Jisung, an earnest and charming young woman, was hanging on my every word, like the entire Korean nation would take this as they way Jews are. Over my left shoulder, out the living room window, Goldie Horn, our Nigerian Dwarf goat, had climbed onto the chicken coop, and was watching through the bay window. She was probably thinking, “Hey, I could do better than you.”
Plus, I notice I keep using the word “traditional. Like, in every sentence.
“Pomegranates are traditional,” I say.
“The holiday speaks to tradition.”
“The stuffed vegetables are traditional.”
Hate all you want on Food Network, but there is something to be said for a director.
Naomi of course needed no direction. She said exactly what I think about Sukkot, about the overarching role food plays in connecting us to our pasts, to our people, to our memory (I’m NOT going to say the T word).
“Nothing connects us more to the past than the smell of food from childhood,” she says on camera. “Every time we have a holiday it’s not just thinking about today, it’s rooting us in the past. For every people there’s a need to know where you come from, and what keeps you rooted where you are, and that food, that tradition, those aromas, that taste, bring you back to where you come from, and it’s so important to keep the traditions alive, to remember where you came from and feel that connection.”
The show really takes off for me when the guests arrive and the food comes out. We had plenty of bottles of wine, and the food really was good. The cameraman made the Sukkah, lit up in the center of a dark yard, look mysterious and warm.
They interviewed our guests at the table, and between bites I noticed everyone used the T word.
For some reason the one person they didn’t interview was Jenna. I still haven’t figured that one out.
Maybe, for their audience, a Jewish Korean American would be too—untraditional.
Apple Strudel with Pomegranates and Dates
There is no better dessert for a meat meal this time of year. Using olive oil instead of butter makes a lighter and flakier strudel. The better the apples, the better the strudel. Buy a mix of tart and sweet apples. Stay away from Red and Golden Delicious. If the apples are superb and fresh, don’t peel them: there’s flavor and color in the peel.
This recipe wants you to not follow it. Use pears instead of apples for all or part of the fruit. Figs instead of dates. Brown sugar instead of honey. Melted butter instead of olive oil, if you prefer.
12 apples, cored and diced into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 c. sugar or raw sugar
1/2 - 1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. pomegranate seeds
3/4 c. chopped fresh dates or figs
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with bakers parchment or grease well.
In a large bowl, add apples, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, honey and cinamon to taste. Taste: add enough lemon juice to balance flavor. Stir well.
Pulse remaining walnuts in a blender or food processor with sugar a dash more cinamon.
Place olive oil in a dish and get brush ready.
Lay out filo flat, and keep covered with saran.
Take a sheet of filo, brush lightly but thoroughly (and quickly) with olive oil. Sprinkle with ground nut mixture. Top with another sheet of filo. Repeat drill for up to 6 sheets. Spoon filling along the edge of the long side in 3 inch cylinder. Form into perfect shape with hands. Press ends closed.
Roll gently but not too tightly. Place seam side down on baking sheet. Use remaining filling to make another strudel.
Brush tops of strudel with olive oil and sprinkle with more walnut mixture. Bake until crispy brown and the apples inside are tender, about 40 minutes.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
October 10, 2011 | 3:19 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
Only after Steve Jobs died did I learn that his birth father is still alive. His name is Abdulfattah John Jandali. He is 80 years old, He lives in Reno, Nevada. And Jobs, who died last week at age 56, never spoke to him.
That’s right: the man who devoted his life to making it easy for us to communicate with one another from anywhere on the planet never once connected with his father, who lived 250 miles away.
Jandali and Joanne Carole Schieble gave birth to Jobs out of wedlock, when both were 23 years old. Because they weren’t married, they gave their son up for adoption to Paul and Clara Jobs. Later in life, Jobs hired a private detective to track down his birth parents. He developed a close relationship with the daughter the couple eventually had after they were married, the novelist Mona Simpson. And he grew closer to his birth mother. But for reasons he never disclosed in public, he never talked to Jandali.
In an August 2011 interview with The Sun newspaper, Jandali said he too never called his son. He said as a Syrian he was too proud to be the one to make the first call — he said he didn’t want his son to think he was interested in his money. Jandali, who was divorced from Schieble, was also estranged from his daughter Simpson.
So, yes, families are strange and mysterious and everyone has their reasons. Jobs himself acknowledged that one of the things he regretted most in his life was having abandoned his own daughter, whom he had out of wedlock when he was 23. He didn’t reconcile with her until later in his life.
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a man whose psyche was formed, at least in part, by his inability, and later his unwillingness, to connect with his father, would make connection the central driving force of his career. Jobs set off on a hero’s quest to find what was missing inside him, and in so doing fulfilled his destiny to change the world.
He changed it by enabling the rest of us to talk to our fathers and mothers and sons and daughters face to face, no matter where they are on the planet. He developed tools that made a virtual connection as easy, or in his case, easier, than a real one. He gave us the tools to do what he, up to his dying day, couldn’t.
Many years ago I was walking up Fifth Avenue with my son, on his first visit to New York. We passed the iconic square glass cube that marks the entrance to the underground Apple Store, and he asked what it was.
“A Sukkah,” I said. “There’s so many Jews in New York, they have a permanent glass sukkah.”
“No, really,” he said.
I hadn’t thought about that little joke until this week, reading about Jobs just before the holiday of Sukkah.
What do we do on Sukkot? We build huts. They are the stripped down, Jobsian version of a house—one room, three walls that are barely walls, a roof that is barely a roof. When Jobs said that the secret to design is what you leave out, he might as well have been describing a sukkah.
God must have known His People are not especially handy, at least His menfolk. Sukkot are easy to build. They are not plumbed or wired. Inside, there are no distractions. They are a primitive kind of technology, but a technology nonetheless — designed to accomplish a task. Like a Jobs product, sukkot do one thing, and they do it exceptionally well: they bring us together.
Within this simple structure, we gather with friends and family to eat, pray, sing and talk. That’s it.
Yes, they also remind us of our foundational story as a People: that we wandered in the desert for 40 years. And they serve as useful metaphors for any number of sermons: that life is fragile and fleeting (ask Steve Jobs) and that our only true shelter is God.
But all that is on the level of identity and intellect. The social function of the sukkah needs no explanation: it forces us to come together. There are no additional walls inside a sukkah, no other rooms to escape to, no work stations, no outlets. It is the annual reminder that you can’t build real community remotely. “Virtual community” is an oxymoron. We want our iPhones and iPads—and we should, they are useful, remarkable machines.
But we crave, we need, real contact. I believe Steve Jobs craved it so much he devoted his whole life to developing substitutes. Sukkot is the real thing.
October 7, 2011 | 1:27 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
The Yom Kippur fast begins at sundown today and goes for 25 hours. In Los Angeles the start time is 6:13 pm. The fast ends at 7:06 pm Saturday.
The Yom Kippur fast is no Hollywood diet. There’s no cayenne or green drink, not even maple syrup. No food, no water—nothing. Of course, don’t fast if you or your physician thinks it will endanger your health.
Your fast should be a time to focus on prayer and personal reflection. It should not endanger you, or make you so miserable that you can’t experience the physical and spiritual power of the day.
Here’s five tips to help you to a tsom kal, or easy fast:
1. Drink plenty of water.
Start now, if you haven’t already. The hardest part of fasting is dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the rest of today.
2. Avoid coffee, sugar, fatty and spicy foods. And junk food.
Keep these out of your system before beginning the fast, as they will increase your need for water tomorrow. Junk foods won’t give you the sustainable nutrition you need—not for Yom Kippur, not ever.
3. Eat normal meals full of complex carbs and healthy foods.
Here’s a trick your rabbi may not tell you: oatmeal. A bowl of whole grain cereal between now and sundown will give you a good base of healthy energy for tomorrow. Don’t try to eat for two days or two people—it will increase your thirst and discomfort.
4. Sleep well.
You need will power to maintain a 25 hour fast, and lack of sleep breaks down the will. After services tonight, get rest. What are you going to do anyway, go out?
5. Don’t rush your final meal.
Give yourself time to eat a healthy, normal meal. Don’t reach for the saltshaker. Have two glasses of water and cut down on the wine. Just before the fast, have another glass of water, floss and brush, and enjoy the day.
6. Avert your gaze.
I almost forgot another important point: Keep all this food out of your line of vision. We eat first with our eyes, then with our noses, finally with our mouths. You can avoid a lot of temptation by going through your home today and putting away any food that’s on the counters, hiding the cookbooks, and turning over the food magazines. Think of this month’s Saveur as a mirror in a house of mourning—cover it up.
Now, what about how to break the fast?
Start with something light—I like a piece of toast or bread with fresh avocado, olive oil and salt. Then again, I always like a piece of toast with avocado, olive oil and salt.
If you don’t gorge when Yom Kippur ends, the day’s spiritual high seems to linger.
Many years ago, when I worked in the Moroccan Jewish neighborhood of Musrara in Jerusalem, I noticed that the men would gather at the end of the fast and do a shot of Boukha, or fig brandy.
Call me a fundamentalist, but I’ve been doing that ever since. But that’s just me…
Let me know your fasting tips in the comments section below….