Tag Archives: food

Comfort Food

by Gili Haimovich (Gyva’taim, Israel)

I practice on my kitten what I would answer

If I would ever have a child and he or she would ask me:

“Mum, where do your words come from”?

Well, my Canadian kitten,

My English words come from above,

From the emptiness.

From the void space

In my mouth.

Between the upper and the lower

Gums.

“But where does your Hebrew come from, Mum? With me you always speak Hebrew”.

Well, my child,

(The child would not be Canadian nor Israeli, but just a child),

My Hebrew is lying in my tummy,

Like comfort food.

Waiting for you.

Gili Haimovich is an international poet and translator who writes in both Hebrew and English. She has six volumes of poetry in Hebrew. Her most recent, Landing Lights (Iton 77 Publishing House, 2017), received a grant from Acum, as did her previous book. She also received a grant nominating her as an outstanding artist by the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption (2015). Her poetry in English is featured in her chapbook, Living on a Blank Page (Blue Angel Press, 2008) and in numerous journals and anthologies, such as World Literature Today, Poetry International, International Poetry Review, LRC – Literary Review of Canada, Poem Magazine, Asymptote, Drain Magazine, Blue Lyra, Circumference and TOK: Writing the New Toronto as well as main Israeli journals, newspapers and anthologies including The Most Beautiful Poems in Hebrew (Yedioth Ahronot Books, 2013). You can visit her website for more information about her and her work:  www.poetryon.com.

“Comfort Food” originally appeared in Drain Magazine, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

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Filed under Canadian Jewry, Family history, Israel Jewry, Jewish, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, poetry

Keeping it Kosher, Local Style

By Lorraine Gershun (Oahu, Hawaii)

My oldest daughter occasionally stays after Sunday school for a youth group event or Purim play practice or other extracurricular activity. On the days that I am not driving for the carpool and cannot pick up lunch and bring it to her at noon like the good Jewish mother that I am, she  takes a sack lunch.

This requires a bit of forethought and planning.

Growing up in Hawaii means growing up eating the local food and in that respect she is totally  a “Local Girl.”

Lunch on the go translates to: Spam musubi or manapua.

California roll, fried noodles, Cup Noodles or maybe a Hot Pocket are also acceptable choices.

A peanut butter, or even bologna, sandwich is not the status quo.

This presents no problems on a regular school day or for the occasional field trip. I insist she add in some healthy items like fruits and vegetables and we strike a decent balance.

But when she goes to temple, none of these are acceptable.

We are Reform Jews and choose not to keep kosher at home. But we do respect the general kosher style that is observed at our temple: No pork, shellfish, or combination of meat and dairy foods.

When she realized that Spam musubi and manapua are filled with pork, California roll has imitation crab (which seems disrespectful in my book), Cup Noodles contains dried shrimp, and Hot Pockets are usually a mixture of milk and meat (at least the ones she likes,) she was shocked.

I chuckled. “This is a good lesson for you,” I told her.

The bagel and cream cheese I offered or the humus and pita she often likes at home were not deemed  reasonable substitutes. (Did I forget to mention that she is 13 and at that age nothing is a reasonable substitute for your first choice that you cannot have?)

We had to come up with alternatives.

Luckily, she is not completely unreasonable and I have some decent problem solving skills.

Not only Spam and fake crab meat go well with rice. You can make a tuna fish salad hand roll or a plain cucumber maki. She likes both of those. Hot rice with a package of roasted seaweed also makes the cut.

Instead of char siu in the manapua, you can buy them with chicken or vegetables. I know, it’s not the same, but it is a compromise.

Bottom line, I can’t resist telling her, “You should be happy to have food in your mouth.”

Of course, she agrees. And, in a pinch, a peanut butter sandwich will do just fine.

Lorraine Gershun is a nice Jewish mother who lives on the leeward side of Oahu. She taught secondary English and Journalism for over 20 years and has recently taken some time off to take care of her two lovely, semi-adolescent children and pursue opportunities in writing. After several years of free lance writing for local news publications, she launched her own blog this summer called “Being Jewish in Hawaii” (http://beingjewishinhawaii.wordpress.com/), where this piece first appeared.

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