I make the treyf groceries first. (In New Orleans, you “make” groceries; you don’t buy them.) Traffic inches along North Broad Street, everyone eager to start the weekend. The sun is a ripe satsuma hanging above the Mississippi, and the Superdome reflects the purple sky. I have several stops to make before I even start cooking, so I’ll be cheating Shabbat in more ways than one. But in a city where crawfish boils melt past midnight and I can’t remember the last time a meeting started on time, it’s more of a necessary adaptation than a broken rule.
Ben and Jerry’s added three vegan ice cream flavors to their lineup this month, increasing the options available to those who keep kosher or who can’t eat dairy.
I have an old friend named Fraya Berg, a longtime food editor and walking culinary encyclopedia, whom I met at the very beginning of my career in food journalism. Over the years, when we weren’t talking about food (or later about our sons — hers, Eli, and mine, Rex, were born within a year of each other), she would tell me about her great friend Gretchen Witt and Gretchen’s little son Liam, who was diagnosed with cancer at two years old. It was clear to me that “Aunt Fraya,” as she was known in Gretchen’s family, rose with Liam’s progress and fell with every excruciating challenge. Liam was six when he died.
Of restaurant meals I’ve had around the world, my dinner at Philadelphia’s Vedge stands out. Chef Rich Landau coaxed flavors and textures I didn’t think possible from plant-based food; his wife and pastry chef, Kate Jacoby, blew me away with sumptuous non-dairy desserts.