Religion & Beliefs

Jewish mothers: Faithful… or just majorly oppressed?

Last Friday, I did something I almost never do.  I made (something resembling) a traditional Shabbat dinner.  And as I dumped a bag of (pre-peeled, pre-washed, organic) baby carrots into the roasting pan with the beef and spuds, I thought … Read More

By / December 11, 2006

Last Friday, I did something I almost never do.  I made (something resembling) a traditional Shabbat dinner.  And as I dumped a bag of (pre-peeled, pre-washed, organic) baby carrots into the roasting pan with the beef and spuds, I thought about how much harder the same meal would  have been 100 years ago. 

I imagined killing and plucking a chicken to make broth, rolling out my own home-made noodles, baking challah.  I imagined doing all of this without electricity or a gas stove, or running water…without a grocery store around the corner.  I imagined trying to accomplish everything, without the benefit of packaged foods, and in time for Shabbat.  Then I stopped imagining, lit my candles, and ate my dinner.  But now I’m thinking about an experiment.  I’m thinking about trying to make a truly traditional Shabbat dinner.  

How many hours would it take?  How many trips to the store?  Would anyone out there be willing to try it with me… set aside a Friday and attempt to recreate the truly traditional Shabbat experience?  C’mon… join me, see what it feels like!  I double-dog-dare you (and we can all post pictures of our ridiculous attempts)!

And also… I’m thinking about what such a dedication to family and food indicates.  I’m wondering if the women of our tribe have, for generations, been deeply faithful, and expressed that faith in the kitchen… or terribly oppressed by cultural expectations and the dynamics of gender… or both.  (Of course, it’s some blend of the two… but if you had to get, how much faith and how much oppression?)   

And is there anyone out there who treats cooking as prayer? (there is something pretty medititative about it, right?)