Tag Archives: food

Why is This Year Different?

traditional jewish matzo

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This Wednesday evening marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover.  It is a well-known fact that it is also the most celebrated of all the holidays.  The observance lasts eight days during which we focus on the theme of our people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea in a hurry with little time to prepare.  The first night consists of a festive meal, or Seder, when we retell the story through questions and answers, singing, eating and drinking four cups of wine.  The point of this exercise is to both remind us that freedom is precious, and to teach the younger generations about our story.

One of the highlights of every Seder is the asking of The Four Questions.  These questions are designed to provoke discussion and thought around the significance of the holiday.  Usually asked by the youngest person at the table, the refrain is always, “Why is this night different from all other nights.”  The answers to the four questions are the heart of the rest of the Seder.  But the overarching theme is always: freedom.

 

Over the last couple of weeks, I admit I’ve engaged in bouts of self-pity.  I have felt afraid for myself and my family.  I have been depressed about the changes in my life.  I have been angry, too, that those in leadership who could have mitigated some of the damage, did nothing.  And I have felt sad and helpless.  These negative thoughts and feelings are foreign to me.  I am usually an optimistic person who can find fun and joy in most places.  But our current state of affairs has been really tough for me to accept.

A therapist would probably say I’m moving through the stages of grief, and that’s likely the case.  I know from grief.  My people know from grief.  Generation after generation of Jewish people have been chased around the globe, experiencing plagues, famine, Holocaust and antisemitism.  And we are not alone in this.  Other cultures and peoples have faced similar obstacles and discrimination.  I can’t speak for the others, but I can speak for myself and my people.  The one thing we do to defend ourselves against the darkness is to survive.  We survive by carrying on our traditions.  We survive by being joyful.  We survive by telling the stories.  We survive by holding tight to each other, even if it is only in memory.

Most years we host a large group of friends and family to join our Seder.  I spend weeks planning and preparing the ritual foods and the traditional festive delicacies.  This year, obviously, the usual crowd will not be joining us live in our home.  It was with a heavy heart that a couple of weeks ago I emailed everyone to cancel.  And it was at that point that I really felt the enormity of what we are dealing with today.  I was also able to relate to the story of my ancestors and the challenges they faced.  Personally, my world has become pretty small and my life has slowed to a pace way out of my comfort zone.  But we will have our Seder.  We will include my son in California via Zoom.  I will make my chicken soup the way my mother taught me.  My husband, who will now be home, will make the brisket.  We will drink four cups of wine (really, the best part).  And, we will retell the story of our exodus and our journey to freedom.

The final prayer of the Seder meal is one in which we express our hope that next year we will celebrate in Jerusalem.  For me, the meaning is not to literally be in Jerusalem, although that would be amazing.  I think of Jerusalem as my spiritual home, the place where I can feel free to express my faith and tradition.  But my actual home, here in Nashville, is also a place where I can feel free to be myself and to enjoy life with my family and friends.  So, this year when we say the prayer, I will be thinking ahead to next Passover, when I can once again open my home and share the story of our survival and freedom with 30 of our nearest and dearest.  In the meantime, stay healthy, stay home and wash your hands.  xo

 

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the current Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org .

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under family, History, Self Savvy, Uncategorized

Reflections on the Family Dinner

family-dinner-1

This last few weeks has been hard for me for many reasons. My business has shifted gears, in a positive way, but has resulted in long hours and many decisions.  My husband has been working on a big project at work, so we haven’t had as much time together as usual, leaving us both irritable and feeling disconnected.  The Jewish holidays have come and gone and, while spiritually uplifting, the attendant socializing and entertaining have me feeling somewhat depleted physically.  And then there’s the big elephant in the room, the circus freak-show going on in Washington, which makes me sad, depressed, angry and frightened.  I am not really a negative person, in fact most people would say I’m unnaturally optimistic, but this month has been a struggle, even for me.

But, dear reader, do not despair. I was hit with inspiration the other day during a random, casual conversation with some of my colleagues.  I had brought my lunch to a meeting and the discussion turned to cooking in general, cooking for families in particular.  I was the only person with children of my own, the others being considerably younger than myself, but each of us had something to say about our experiences with family meals.  I mentioned that, while my children were growing up, I made family dinners an every-night thing. As the children got older, had more activities and eventually were able to drive themselves around, attendance was not always one hundred percent.  But, at the proscribed time, dinner was on the table for whomever was home.

One of my colleagues mentioned that her mom didn’t know how to cook, so they ate out every dinner, or brought in food from somewhere else.  This led us to discuss what, exactly, constitutes a “family dinner.”  Did it have to be homemade?  Did it have to be at home?  Did it have to be dinner?  I was struck by the guilt the other felt that they didn’t engage in this daily ritual with their families.  They judged their parents for not making it a priority.  I, in turn, began to feel self-conscious.  I am not one to hold everyone to some random standard that fits me and in fact, I try to look deeper in these types of discussions.  Did each of their families make some sort of regular interaction happen?  Could they look differently at their family’s process and see what they did to maintain connection?  For my family, dinner was the available time, but for other families it may have been something else.

The discussion revealed to me the complex and intense relationship between families and food.  Not a groundbreaking thing, for sure.  But scratch the surface and you’ll find that even in today’s modern world where things move at lightning speed and dinner can be obtained with the click of a mouse, by opening an app or by a meal delivery program, there remains a longing for people in the same household to spend time together.  For most of us food is comfort and the comfort of eating with those we love, in our familiar surroundings, makes us feel safer and less alone in the world.

In these turbulent times, we all long for a way to make sense of things.  At the end of the day I still feel comforted by going to the fridge, taking out the fixings for a home cooked meal and beginning the preparations while my husband pours a glass of wine and we share our day.  When my children come home for visits, they ask for their favorite meals and we cook together, catching up and remembering what always brings us back together.

If you have a memory or story to share about your “family dinner,” please share.  I’m working on a collection of stories on this subject and would love to connect with you.  Leave a comment here, or email me at barbaradabpr@gmail.com  Bon apetit!

Bonus points if you can identify the family in the featured photo!

P.S.  Here’s one last picture from my Summer Garden.  Sweet Potatoes!  Just dug from the ground, ready to dry and store for Sweet Potato pie for Thanksgiving!

fullsizeoutput_3293

 

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Business Savvy, Fun Savvy, Self Savvy, Uncategorized

The Nashville Foodie Nation: Business Edition

Pasta and Garlic Bread

With so many outstanding restaurants in Nashville, sometimes we are stumped by the question “Where should we go?”

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I want quality of taste and interest along with ambiance. And, when it’s a business meal, add to that the need to tailor the experience. The venue I choose will set the stage, whether it’s for a quiet, in-depth conversation, a meet-and-greet with the gang, an out-of-the-way deal-making venture or a quick connect to download information.

No matter your professional need, Nashville’s foodie nation has a wealth of options. So many that I’ve pulled together my short list of go-to’s. There’s always the standard Jimmy Kelly’s for dinner, J. Alexander’s for lunch, Starbuck’s for coffee. But here are a few others you should try on for size.

For an unhurried lunch out of the downtown fray, it’s The Mad Platter in Germantown. My long legs ache for better chairs, but the pasta dish is a long-time favorite and their soups satisfy.

Husk is a must to show off your foodie-ness. Avoid lunching on warm days, though; the sun through the windows is toasty and will distract you from the burger and fries. The burger doesn’t just have bacon on top; the salty goodness is ground into the meat. Inspired.

Etch is my all-time personal favorite for an important lunch or dinner. If you want to impress with innovation, Deb Paquette’s layers of flavor and innovative ingredients never disappoint. Lunch service lately has been unusually slow; yet even that won’t dissuade my visits. Always start with the roasted cauliflower to share. Your guests will thank you. Take time to savor your experience and you’ll be back often.

If you want to see and be seen, I recommend Bricktop’s on West End every time. Full and boisterous, this won’t be where you have an intimate conversation. This is the place to people-watch, surreptitiously of course. The gazpacho is my favorite thing about the return of warm-weather menus.

Head to The Palm for quiet talk. Its impeccable service lets you focus on building that business relationship. It’s great for folks visiting as well, and you’re in the heart of the downtown scene if you want to go somewhere else for drinks and music.

Midtown Café is not someplace I go regularly, but colleagues swear it’s a business-lunch experience that consistently achieves the right balance. It’s always full, so they must be right.

Noshville Midtown is the place for breakfast, especially if there’s a government bigwig you want to run into. During legislative session, the booths are packed with elected officials filling up on bagels, pancakes and the best oatmeal around.

For coffee, I’d bypass the chains for CREMA on Hermitage. It’s a bit rustic in décor, but the drinks and friendly staff and patrons make it a comfortable spot for a quick connect or leisurely conversation to catch up.

Finally, for LA-trendy, hop over to Pinewood Social in the Trolley Barns. It offers at least four different experiences: couches for web-surfing, coffee-drinking casual, a bar where single diners congregate and network, booths for those wanting to eat and meet, and even a fully served bowling alley. You have to experience it to believe that, yes, bowling can serve as a great business-meal setting.

What are your favorites? HerSavvy would love to know!

Get out and discover Nashville, people. There’s a lot out there to enjoy!

About Laura Reinbold, PE

Ms. Reinbold explores ways http://www.ttlusa.com can help build our communities, from the geoprofessional side of the engineering profession.

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Savvy, Fun Savvy