My Challah Back Girl


Ah. Jewish motherhood and food. As my daughter has recently started eating solids, I have become aware that we are embarking on the lifelong journey of healthy eating and developing an appreciation for good food…and all that food symbolizes in Western culture and Judaism.
My first inkling that my daughter’s food adventures were going to be laden with more meaning than just counting nutrients was when I realized while doing some preliminary browsing in the baby food aisle that there was no hashgacha on the baby oatmeal. Or the green beans. Rice cereal had a stamp of approval as did all the other fruit and vegetables, but not the oatmeal or the green beans. I have no idea what could possibly render oatmeal not kosher, and my best guess on the green beans is that they must be processed in the same plant as the (non-kosher) chicken, beef, and pork. But it was at that moment that I decided that I could mash her carrots myself, and understood that I was really going to have to put some effort into teaching my daughter not just the value but also the practical observance of kashrut.
At the same time, I love to cook. And for both my husband and myself, food is infused with memories. As part of growing up in traditional Jewish households, we learned to smell fresh-baked challah and chicken soup from a mile away. Our families have oft-repeated stories about Rosh Hashanah honey cakes and taiglach, Passover sponge cakes, Chanukah latkes and a truly endless supply of kugel recipes. So my daughter’s first taste of “Jewish” food was possibly even a bigger milestone than that first tentative spoonful of prunes (which is a different story).
We started with Challah, giving her a smushed up crumb, maybe the size of a lentil. Not being one to refuse the offer of something she could put in her mouth, she considered the new option thoughtfully, swallowed, and reached impatiently for more.
Yup, that’s my daughter.

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One thought on “My Challah Back Girl

  1. Marion Rosen says:

    Just wait for yom tov, the options are endless! Chicken soup mush, sweet potatoes, mashed tzimmes (unless you make it with honey), “orange” soup. I’d probably hold off on the brisket until she’s got a few more teeth though…

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