There is a certain comfort and security that comes from doing what we know. Often we think of ourselves as the job we do, either by profession or passion. Sometimes, our cooking falls into this appraisal. We can come to view ourselves as the meals we make. We take a certain measure of pride from a dish well done, or can feel upset over something that didn’t turn out the way we expected. I know it may seem trivial to think of cooking like this, but when we spend our precious time and good money on meal preparation, it becomes an investment. A small, daily deposit in the competency account at the First National Bank of Well Being.
So if we are chugging along with a repertoire of recipes and managing nicely, why do we feel the need to change? What motivates us to want to develop our culinary skills? (Which is what taking cooking classes should be about.)
At Rosh Hashana, which is around the corner, we recite blessings over special foods. Most of us are familiar with dipping an apple into honey, but there are other foods too that are part of the tradition of significant omens. One of these symbolic foods, that is definitely not for the faint of heart, is a fish head. In the middle of my regal Yomtov table is a large cooked salmon head, on a silver platter. The blessing that we make over this is that we be as a head, not as a tail.
This is always an ice breaker.
As a head, we think, not follow. We review our past year’s behaviour and using our knowledge, we reflect. If we sense inconsistency, we make a plan to correct, and with the Al-mighty’s help, act on it.
What better way to express our desire for a good, healthy and joyous year than through the very meals we make all year round?
Wholesale change is not the order of the day, but steady constant growth by introducing a healthier choice one day, sharing your kitchen and cooking with someone you love the next, or even turning your kitchen into a chesed operation, a kitchen of kindness. It’s not the new recipe or piece of kitchen equipment that will bring about the change, its our attitude.
One of the dishes we will be making this Sunday, at My Kosher Kitchen @ COR’s Rosh Hashana workshop, is a sublime caramelized sweet and sour salmon. (Although we want to remember to act like the head, it is more delicious to eat the tail and the middle.) Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like a copy of the recipe.
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada