I have a secret weapon. I have a cooking partner. Before last Pesach we got together and cooked up a storm. It was highly efficient, very cost effective, and downright fun. We decided to team up again for Sukkos and had a couple of very enjoyable, and productive cooking sessions. It was hard work, but we prevailed.
Our freezers were stocked with soups, challahs, and main dishes to take us through the holiday. We each had it roughly planned out with dishes a little more special for hosting and a few homey-style family meals.
In my opinion, our tour de force was the chicken fricassee that I discussed last blog. We made pots of it, enough to serve 40, two large aluminum trays for each of us. I used one tray the first day and had the second one tucked away in the freezer expecting to take it out for Simchas Torah lunch. That, served with challa, to sop up the gravy, is not very glamorous, but a family favourite and a deliciously messy way to make it to the holiday finish line.
Sunday afternoon right before Yomtov, I learned that a family in our community had suffered a tremendous loss. Realizing how many hours of manpower my friend and I had devoted to shopping, cooking and planning, it slowly dawned on me that this family would not have had a moment to prepare.
I’d like to say that I ran down to the freezer without a moment’s hesitation. But to be honest, I was plagued with doubt. Do I show up unannounced? Perhaps I would be an unwelcome intrusion, which was the last thing they needed. What if the food wasn’t to their liking? I struggled for a few moments, but then, especially with my cooking partner’s encouragement, decided to head out.
I thought the plus of having a cooking partner was to double my productivity. Little did I realize that the true benefits lay beyond our tables.
I would like to leave you with the recipe for Curried Butternut Squash Apple Soup referred to in an earlier blog. It’s soup-er for sharing.
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada