Ever since I can remember myself I have been drawn to food and everything to do with it.
I have vivid memories of waking up at the crack of dawn and watching my neighbor, auntie Janet, in her tiny kitchen facing my bedroom, rolling cabbage leaves filled with meat, grilling long green hot peppers on an open flame, kneading yeast dough and then filling it with creamy cheese or Turkish delight and cinnamon.
When it was my turn to go for a few days in the summer to my great uncle and aunt in Jerusalem, I couldn’t wait for Thursdays and Fridays to arrive, so that I could sit and watch my aunt in action. I loved the smell of caramelized sugar she made for a Yerushalmi Kugel, mixing it rapidly into the half cooked noodles along with plumped up raisins and chopped apples. I used to peep under the lid of the blackened pot which was placed on a kerosene burner for hours again and again forgetting about the watched pot rule. I was mesmerized by her miraculously (yet undoubtedly not painlessly) turning runny egg yolks into peaks of cream using a (manual) spiral egg beater.
I loved going to the fish store! I never minded standing on line for hours during gefilte fish peak season (on the weeks preceding Rosh Hashanah and Passover), as that meant learning how to clean, gut, and portion fish.
I loved my mother’s friends, especially the much older ones, and used to schedule visits so that I could sit with them and write down recipes of the traditional cakes I tasted in their houses on the Sabbath (and while we were at it, other good recipes they owned). I had begun recording recipes in my first recipe notebook before I was ten.
And then I grew up. Unfortunately, I am gifted (or not) with a sharp brain, a competitive and overachieving character and extraordinary stamina. It goes without saying that at university, I was expected to study one of those lucrative subjects. Alas, I was accepted to law school and became a darn good lawyer. To make things worse, Better Half didn’t give up his dream of studying for his Master’s degree in international tax abroad and I joined him, kicking and screaming. I took the “anything you can do I can do better” line literally, and was accepted, inadvertently, for a Master’s degree in Corporate Law at NYU (think of all those thousands of dollars which could have been put to good use – a degree from the CIA!). I then worked at a top-notch law firm and later found myself managing a group in a major investment bank. I forgot to mention that we were blessed with four beautiful children while doing all that learning and working.
During those crazy career years I gradually lost touch with myself. I became a mean, lean career machine. I had no time for anything but work and kids. Our friends had no idea I could cook – we ordered take-out food for Sabbath even if we had company over, and no one expected anything else from a full-time, hot-shot lawyer. Thank God for maternity leaves, during which I was able to bake and read a bit (when not working from home).
Kicking and screaming once again (might have to start working on myself), I agreed to go back to Israel, where I took yet again that miserable path of top law firm and then assumed the position of a risk manager for a major insurance company. By that time I was so miserable, it was annoying to talk to me – I had nothing good to say about anything or anyone, let alone myself.
But God works in mysterious ways and after giving birth to Number Five I knew I was not going back to that mad, irresponsible way of living. All those years of not caring enough for the kids, Better Half, the house, and I, came right back at me and I simply could not see myself going back to that mad race.
About two years after our youngest was born I quit my lucrative job. During the first year at home I baked every possible pastry in my vast collection of cookbooks, painted the house, persevered anything that which fits in a jar, planted paw-paw trees, managed stay- home summer camps and what not. I was also privileged to have been requested to manage an amazing kosher food Forum and discovered that not only am I good at cooking, on the one hand, and writing, on the other, but also that people enjoy reading what I write about food and other topics.
And just as I began feeling guilty about all this freedom (Aha, sure, with five kids and no help) and thoughts regarding going back to work had been reported here and there, Better Half asked, out of thin air: “Well, why won’t you just do what you like doing-start your own blog?” He was backed by some dear friends and family members who had all believed that was the greatest idea of his (since proposing to me), and they all wanted to help: Gidi, my baby brother’s childhood friend became my personal computer geek and business manager, Zippi, my dearest sister begun brainstorming designs with me, Tami, dearest sister (in-law) became my graphic designer, my aunt and uncle provided common sense and a balanced point of view and Yaacov, Anat, Abigail and many others helped brainstorming regarding names, designs and content.
The rest is history – Spots on Pots, a platform for me to write about food, home, perspective and life was born.
Understanding what I Say
I tend to use my own crazy terms at times. To make sure you understand what I mean I have created Terms on the Spot (a Glossary tab), where I explain some terms and wordings (OK, I used to be a definition freak way back way, when I was practicing business law).
Sources and References
I own over 150 cookbooks, numerous magazines and loads of newspaper clips as well as notebooks filled with hand written recipes. I also visit dozens of blogs and other web- based resources. I barely ever execute a recipe verbatim and usually alter it on the fly, yet I always take great care to give credit to the source and to refer to it.