When my husband David was little, “Shabbat Can Be,” a 1979 children’s book, was a regular accompaniment of his family’s Friday night dinners. I had learned early on in our romance that David’s family had been more observant than mine. David would tell me stories about sitting on his mother’s lap at weekly services, and singing and dancing around the dinner table with his sisters. It wasn’t though until I stumbled upon “Shabbat Can Be” on David’s mother’s bookshelf one day that I came closest to understanding what Shabbat had meant to David growing up. The illustrations, had a groovy “Brady Bunch” feel and the text, bore out its central Reform-infused message —that the rituals and meanings of Shabbat were adaptable. They were not inherited but actively made and remade in the space and time of the Sabbath.
Gearing up for my trip to India in 2009, I was admittedly more excited to eat than sightsee. The curries spooned over rice, the fiery hot condiments, and the intensely sweet desserts made me salivate in nearly catatonic daydreams. I had, however, only experienced Americanized Indian cuisine — in the array of Indian restaurants in Manhattan or from a chafing dish in Whole Foods. I certainly had never prepared an Indian meal myself before. I was not at all prepared for the invaluable epiphany I had in India. The fact is, authentic Indian food is missing from the kosher kitchen and it need not be.
Curried Sweet Potato Latke from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America
Note: this recipe makes a very large pot of soup – if you are not feeding a large crowd you can half the recipe or freeze a few portions of the soup.