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Cozy up with Creamy Fontina Polenta and Truffled Mushrooms this Shabbat

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

One of the things that happens when families spend too much time together is we completely forget that we like each other.

Creamy Fontina Polenta and Truffled Mushrooms

Creamy Fontina Polenta and Truffled Mushrooms Image by Carly Pildis

The three of us have spent too much time together this year. Like everyone, we are standing with our noses pressed up against frosty windows this winter, hoping that with the vaccine the pandemic frost will finally melt away. It’s late January and cabin fever has set in. We are far from spring, far from the pandemic being over.

We make promises about what we will do when this is over, knowing that they are just tiny wishes. We are still struggling to accept that we have all lost control over the circumstances of our lives. We cuddle up under blankets and daydream about the trips will take, the food we will eat, the family we will hug. My daughter dreams of her first trip to a movie theatre. She wants her grandparents to take her. My husband holds onto the hope of a dinner with his brothers, preferably at a place in his hometown of Milwaukee that sells local beer and fried cheese curds. I am dreaming of the joyful noise of a full house at my parent’s home on Cape Cod, with nieces and nephews running through the sprinkler while my dad BBQs. All of these dreams help to keep the cold away.

I struggle to balance hope for the future with the heaviness of the present, especially as we round the corner on one year of living in this pandemic. I step on Legos and lose my cool. I snap at the people I love most for chewing too loudly or snoring. I dream of a quiet afternoon by myself, with a glass of wine, a great book, and a view of trees. It’s too easy to forget how much you love the people you are currently stuck with.

I forget that over 420,000 Americans would have given anything to be at home, fighting with their family about who’s turn it is to take out the trash or where to order takeout from. I forget that millions of Americans have an empty space on the couch, a void that can never be filled, where a loved one once sat, bickering over which movie to watch. The truth is, no family can be sure they will all survive this horrible disease intact. This is worth remembering.

So while I will keep dreaming of life after, I want to try to find small ways to appreciate where I am now, in my little house with the two people I love the most. I am trying to be more intentional about showing affection and not let that get lost in the daily grind. That’s why this week, I wanted to make something my husband loves. It was once a regular menu item but fell out of favor because most preschoolers don’t love mushrooms. That’s okay, she usually dictates the menu, and she can have noodles and tomato sauce if she won’t try a bite.

Creamy polenta with two whole cups of cheese. Mushrooms simmered in truffle butter and white wine. A rich tomato sauce with fennel and a whole bulb of garlic. I’ll serve Shabbat on the couch, cuddle up with the people I love the most, watch the Shabbat candles flicker in the dark, and eat one of my husband’s favorite foods. This week, I am remembering how lucky I am to be stuck at home with the love of my life.

Find my recipe for Creamy Fontina Polenta and Truffled Mushrooms here.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

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