Archive for the 'Family & Kids' Category

Start Small, Bake Hamantashen

I love that there are so many Jewish holidays throughout the year. And the best part about holidays is that every holiday has specific food associated with it. And as you can see, on this blog or in general, whenever a holiday approaches the talk about food increases. For holidays we plan ahead, cook or bake and we eat as a community, which unfortunately is not always part of our daily lives anymore. Some holidays require a lot of preparation and can be scary for people that do not spend a lot of time in the kitchen or just don’t enjoy cooking. But Purim should not be one of those holidays. The traditional food for Purim is cookies, more specifically Hamantashen!

Ramah Outdoor Adventure – changing food at summer camps

Huge mazal tov to Rabbi Eliav Bock, author of this guest post and Director of Ramah Outdoor Adventure, on the birth of his son last week!

ramah logo

Today is the first of periodic blog posts about food at Ramah Outdoor Adventure. Because the food we eat at camp will play such an integral part in supporting the overall mission of the camp, I thought it appropriate to focus some of the blog posts leading up to camp on the use of food.

For those who missed the announcement the other day, The First Lady, Michelle Obama, launched the “Let’s Move” campaign. She has correctly singled out childhood obesity as a major epidemic facing America. Her campaign aims to get kids off the couch, away from video games, and eating more wholesome food. For anyone who has been aware of the growing food movement in America these past few years, nothing that she said yesterday is too surprising. It is an indisputable fact that as a society, our children today are less healthy than they were a generation ago. Anywhere from 25%-30% of American children are overweight. As Mrs. Obama pointed out, today’s children are the first generation whose life expectancy is shorter than that of their parents.

Mark Bittman on Soda and Obesity

Soda.  Pop.  Coke.  S.S.B. (sugar-sweetened beverage).  Whatever you wanna call it, it’s bad for you.  Or so argues Mark Bittman, the New York Times‘ “Minimalist” columnist and prominent foodie in this Sunday’s New York Times.  This phenomenal article poses the question of whether soda may be the next tobacco.  He interviews proponents calling for a special excise tax on soda to fund obesity prevention programs, as well as other measures to curb the intake of these empty calories in a can (or bottle).  The article comes after Michelle Obama’s appointment to lead a national campaign against childhood obesity, which some believe is linked to an excessive consumption of soda and candy.

The Adventures of Todd & God: Bal Tashhit

This year my New Year’s resolution was to waste less food, and I guess I was on the same page as, um, God, because the newest video from is all about Bal Tashhit, the commandment from the Torah that prohibits wasteful destruction. In the past God has appeared to Todd as an orange, a female house DJ, and Flava Flav’s long lost twin borther. But this episode, God upped the ante–he appears as Al Gore.

Topsy Turvy Time

Arizona jumping

The  Climate Change Bus Tour, a joint project of The Teva Learning Center and Hazon,  is now in its final leg of the their cross-country tour!

It has been an incredible journey so far. Hundreds of Jewish students, teachers, and families have engaged with environmental education programs and activities. Many have also signed the Jewish Climate Change pledge committing themselves to sustainable action and advocacy.

Check out the latest video of the bus tour’s Chanukah out west and the latest press in The Jewish Exponent.

Win A Copy of Eat Fresh Food – Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs

Eat Fresh Food by Rozanne Gold

Photos by Phil Mansfield

Every once in a while I feel sorry for myself because my kids won’t eat my lovingly prepared meals; for comfort, I seek out one of my fellow mom’s, specifically those with teen-agers. Invariably they look at me with a withering ‘well let me get you the violins and a stiff drink fast, your poor thing’ stare, reminding me that I am a mere amateur at kitchen rejection. When I hear their tales of trying to feed their teens, my load somehow seems lighter, more manageable. Snarky, picky, and sometimes downright nasty, it is no easy task to manage teens at the table.

Enter Rozanne Gold and her new book, Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs. I sat down with the author and discovered that the book’s appeal to teens is as organic as its recipes. Gold recently adopted a teen-ager and for the past few years they have been coming together as a family, in and out of the kitchen. Her daughter was one of five teen chefs engaged to prepare and test each recipe. Their collective industry and obvious enjoyment is evidenced throughout the book with hands-on pictures depicting their efforts.

Sweet Potato Latkes

Cross-posted from Edible Torah

The best Jewish food recipe I ever found came to me not at a friends house, or at a cooking seminar, or while leafing through old cookbooks at my Bubbe’s house (which is where all my friends get them). No, I got my best recipe when I was covered in dust and spackle at 10:00 at night, halfway through a project to finish my basement.

Before I provide details (or the recipe), there are a few things about me that I would like to clarify:


When the leaves change, I know it is time to sit down and think about all that I have, and all that I have to give.  Thanksgiving is a unique holiday, one we celebrate in and out of our homes, in many different ways.

Today I will drop food and clothing off to the local shelter and hope that it helps those in need.  Tomorrow I will go to my daughter’s Thanksgiving presentation at our shul’s pre-school.  On Thursday we will head to my Mom’s house and enjoy being together for the holiday, and hope to catch Hannah and Her Sisters on TV.  We will eat too much turkey and retell the same family stories.  And we will be grateful for each other’s company and familiarity.

The Dessert Holiday

I am VERY honored to have the chance to join the Jew and the Carrot writing community! Thanks for taking a moment to read my first post, which originally appeared here.)
- Leon


Judaism divides the calendar into regular days,  (like Purim and Rosh Hashanah) and festivals (like Passover and Sukkot). As American Jews my family adds to that secular holidays – some which we embrace wholeheartedly (Independence Day, Thanksgiving), some which we wrestle with (Halloween, Sweetest Day) and those that we dismiss out of hand (Valentine’s Day. And thank you Rabbi Joe Black for giving us a song for that very dilemma!)

Healthy Snacks on Halloween? Boo!


I don’t wish to disappoint anyone, but this post does not contain any recipes or ideas for healthy snacks to give out to your trick-or-treaters this Halloween.  Actually, it is an appeal for just the opposite.

I overheard an acquaintance telling someone how they would be giving out “healthy snacks” to young trick-or-treaters for Halloween.  The other replied:  “You know, that’s such a great idea.  I should do that.”

Now, I know there are many foodies reading this blog (including myself), but I couldn’t help but find myself feeling a bit sorry for the kids who would be knocking on their doors expecting Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups this Saturday night, only to find a vegan oat-bran something-or-other dropped into their plastic pumpkin.

*FRESH* at Green Screens @ Lincoln Center this Tuesday

The other day my boyfriend and I were enjoying a Sunday walk in Brooklyn when we ran into his friend Ana, her partner and their adorable new baby.  Among the introductions and pleasantries she mentioned that she was distributing her film FRESH.  “Here, tell me what you think of it,” she said handing me a copy, knowing I was a food writer.

So, one night a while later my boyfriend and I tucked into the sofa and watched FRESH, the new film by Ana Sofia Joanes.  As someone who has seen Food Inc and has read a lot of Michael Pollan, the material was not new to me, however I found the material’s presentation (forgive the pun) fresh.  I had found Food Inc to be a good film, but heavy on the propaganda.  I felt that FRESH got its message across in a far more even-handed way.  The film invoked a pretty good discussion, and I was happy to see on their website they had some additional educational materials and even a call for recipes.  But you don’t have to be a Jew and the Carrot writer or have chance encounters with the director to see this film.  If you live in the New York area there will be a screening this Tuesday.


Thanks so much to Maya Bernstein for this great cross-post from Lilith Blog.  Some of her other work can be found here and here.

photo by pink sherbet

Michelle Obama is hula-hooping for health on the South Lawn of the White House. Jamie Oliver’s going to teach obese America how to cook their vegetables, and eat them too. Herbivores, frugivores, and locavores are putting their stakes in the ground, amidst the moist dirt of organically grown slow food.

Meanwhile, my 20-month-old daughter went to synagogue over the holiday of Simchat Torah and learned the word “candy.” We were spending the holiday with my parents, and my girls were dressed in traditional New York Jewish holiday autumn glory, patent-leather shoes and red wool coats. On the way to synagogue, I noticed that other children on the sidewalk were carrying big plastic bags (luckily for them, they don’t live in Palo Alto, where plastic bags are illegal; I considered hauling them back West by the thousands, to sell on the sly at Whole Foods).

A Housebound Sukkah


You can take kids out of the sukkah, but you can’t take the sukkah out of the kids.  Katja Goldman, author of The Empire Kosher Chicken Cookbook - a book described as changing “the way you think about the kosher kitchen”-   had a dilemma.  Her young twins were not feeling well, too sick to travel, and too sick for the sukkah. As the symptoms worsened it was clear that their freshly-baked challah would be traveling alone to the family sukkah.  Katja, a woman who understands the kitchen’s direct link to a child’s soul, immediately recognized that her children must not be deprived of their treasured sukkah experience.  So they baked one. 

An Urban Sukkah


Building a sukkah is easier said than done when living in an urban apartment building. When we tired of fashioning one in the kitchen next to a tall window using poles, string, and s’khakh (in this case evergreen branches) we embarked on the adventure of a communal urban sukkah outside our building’s basement. Only a handful of building residents protested, claiming that the sukkah violated the separation of church and state (don’t ask). Most, however, were interested and curious. What has transpired over the years is something we never would have imagined. Next to the bike racks and behind the trash, five diversely Jewish families transformed a concrete slab into a behavioral enactment of sustainability.