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To Me It’s Just Food

March 16, 2012

It’s been a long time, but a while back I wrote about the soda of my people. Then, there is the chocolate syrup of my people: Fox’s U-Bet. And let us not forget the smoked meat of my people, Pastrami.

But my favorite Jewish food is challah.

For those who might be reading from someplace that has no Jews, this is the soft and rich loaf of braided bread that is served with Friday night dinners every week – some compare it to brioche. The idea is that on the Sabbath we are supposed to treat ourselves well, and thus I like to honor that tradition by serving the bread with copious amounts of great butter. Recently, though, I’ve replaced that butter with similarly fantastic olive oil.

So when I have the opportunity to share a tasting table at the ninth annual Jewish Food Festival with fellow Jewish food blogger Leah the Nosher (who herself is a talented baker), challah is going to be involved.

Let me tell you what’s in store for this year.

Beside Friday nights, we also eat challah during festivals, and for the Jewish New Year, challah gets drizzled with honey. Now since I’m a newly converted fan to local beekeeper Lloyd Spear’s honeys, I thought it might be interesting to have a few different varieties of his sweet stuff to drizzle on chunks of Leah’s delicious challah.

The idea would be that you can taste, see and smell the differences that are imbued into the honey based on what types of pollen the bees collect.

Honey can be a lot of fun this way. I’ve had pumpkin honey that was redolent of the gourd, and floral Italian acacia honey, although currently it’s Lloyd’s raw wildflower honey that seems to be omnipresent in the Fussy household.

Anyway, I reached out to Lloyd and he seems to be interested, and I’m thrilled at the prospect of putting together this tasting with him. One goal is to have people discover just how good and diverse the locally produced honey in our region can be. The other is to get people to taste the differences in a foodstuff that is generally considered to be a commodity.

A handful of people at last year’s butter tasting experienced a similar life changing moment, “This is butter?!”

Hopefully you can come to the Jewish Food Festival on Sunday, March 25 at Congregation Gates of Heaven. Don’t worry, nobody will try and convert you or corner you about anything else beyond the delicious thing at the table over there that you simply have to try.

This year there will be a wine presentation at 12:30 called Kosher Wine… Not your Bubbe’s Manischewitz given by Joshua Greenstein from the Israeli Wine Producers Association.

At 1:30 is a presentation from none other than Bruce Roter who now apparently has some time on his hands since Trader Joe’s has declared its intention to open a store in the Capital Region. That Sunday he’ll be speaking on, What do I have to do to find a Kosher restaurant in this town? Which is just another way of updating us with progress on his newest quixotic adventure.

Finally at 2:30 students from the SCCC will be at Gates to answer all your food questions including, “Why don’t my matzo balls float in my soup?”

My favorite part, though are the unlimited samples of traditional and modern Jewish foods prepared by area restaurants, caterers and synagogue members. Samples will include dishes from Ben & Bill’s Deli, Century House, Gershon’s Deli, Homestyle Catering, Honest Weight Food Co-op, Phoenician’s, Puckers Gourmet Pickles and Saati’s Catering.

Tickets can be purchased at the door:
$15 for adults
$5 for children 13-17
FREE for children 12 and under

And you can even invite all your Facebook friends to come join you, nosh, and meet the Profussor. For what it’s worth, Leah and I have a plan to try and make the whole honey thing a little less sticky for all concerned. It may be one of these things that works better in theory than in practice.

But the only way you’ll know for sure is to swing by Schenectady and drop by our table.

– – –

As a side note, this is my 899th post. That means the next one is the big 900. I may try to delay that until Monday morning, just because Sunday feels a bit anti-climatic. So should you swing by this corner of the internet on Sunday, and there is no new Fussy to be found, you’ll know why. Not that I have anything big planned for Monday. It’s just good to take a moment and celebrate notable milestones, as silly as they may seem.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica R permalink
    March 16, 2012 12:04 pm

    I really look forward to this tasting, and was wondering if you would do something different than butter this year. I am a firm believer in Llyod’s alfalfa honey. Yes, it is more expensive, but once I tried it, I couldn’t go back!

  2. March 18, 2012 10:40 am

    Oooh, this sounds like it could be fun. I’ll have to see. We have our “wine club” tentatively scheduled for Saturday evening, and we’re doing Tuscany, which has giant red wines. So, I’ll have to see how I feel Sunday …

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