My Tribe

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Earlier this week, Efrat Libfroind wrote about cooking and self-improvement, being a mother and a full-time pastry chef and the only kosher cooking student in class. Her new cookbook, Kosher Elegance, is now available.

jewish authors blogAt times, Israel can feel like a very divided country. It is as if we Israelis all belong to our specific tribe and never come into contact with the others tribes unless forced to.

Publishing my cookbook has been a wonderful experience because I have come into contact with many Israelis who on the face of things, belong to a different tribe than me. I have enjoyed working with all sorts of people in the production of my book (photographers, food stylists, journalists etc). What I find really eye-opening is when the reactions these people have when they meet me. I have loved every minute of it.

I am what the news refers to as an “ultra-Orthodox” Jew. I do fit the bill, there is no denying it. I cover my hair, my husband learns Torah, I have 6 children – all the stereotypes are there.

At the same time, I speak fluent English, I run a business and have traveled. I keep up with trends in the world of food and cooking accessories. So, I do live within my tribe but I am quite aware of what is happening with other tribes. So while I don’t live or work all that much with members of other Israeli tribes…..I have a pretty good understanding of what is happening in the wider Israeli reality.

However, I think for many people I have been meeting due to my book….I am the first. The first ultra-Orthodox Jew that they are dealing with in an “up close & personal” way.

An example was when recently a reporter from a prestigious Israeli (secular) newspaper spent 6 hours with me at my home in order to discuss my new book and to watch me in action (in the kitchen). I loved spending so much time with her – she was wonderful, a real pleasure to talk to. For her, I think it was an anthropological experience. She couldn’t get over how I have 6 kids, run a successful business, published a cookbook in 2 languages and my husband learns Torah. It is true she did find me in the kitchen but….I think our time together broke down a lot of stereotypes for her. For, me it has been heartwarming to feel the openness and interest of so many of my fellow Israelis for members of “other” tribes (like me! ). I mean, the news seems to say we don’t get along! But I have been finding otherwise. Time and time again. Seems kosher gourmet food is a great connector.

Sweet and Sour Avocado Salad

Avocado is one of my favorite fruits. Its neutral taste goes well with a variety of unusual flavors. In this salad I created a sweet and sour combination. It’s quick and easy to prepare – just make sure you have all the ingredients on hand.

Serves approximately 6

Salad:
2 firm, ripe avocados
5 dates
1 red or orange pepper
1/4 red onion, diced
2 scallions, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon date syrup or honey

Peel avocado and cut into small chunks. Pit dates and cut into cubes. Dice the peppers and red onion, and cut scallions into thin strips. Transfer fruit andvegetables to a deep bowl. Add the dried cranberriesand almonds. In a small bowl, mix the dressing, pourover the salad, and toss.

Tip: For an original presentation, purchasedecorative serving spoons at a paper goods store and serve individual portions of salad in them.

Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Elegance. She will be posting all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning’s Jewish Authors Blog.

Posted on June 30, 2011

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