In all honesty, a Yom Kippur fast is challenging, but not nearly as torturous as a week spent in Passover flour-free purgatory. Erev Yom Kippur, or Yom Kippur eve, calls for a meal that will sustain you as you reflect and repent amidst the steady rumble of a growling stomach. This year sundown arrived leisurely at 7:03 pm (7:02 in Astoria, Queens) and completing a fast feels the same every year; triumphant. My mother always fasted on this holiday, stemming from equal parts religious belief and tenacity. It was also the Yin to my father’s Yang, a fellow brought up in a strictly observant Jewish household who as an adult, ate breakfast and lunch on Yom Kippur.
Finding it impossible to replicate the idyllic Rosh Hashanah celebrated in Toronto last week, I veered off course, opting for a less traditional meal. Inspired by Sephardic and Indian Jewish cultures, plus a generous helping of Provincial Indian cuisine, time spent poring through recipes reminds us not only of our differences, but of our similarities. And regardless of what you serve, every good cook knows that it’s not what is on the table that matters, it’s more about the people seated around it.
It's not until you venture out into the world and tiptoe across a border that you realize how isolating the past two years have been. The sensory overload that hovers from being in another country is both exhilarating and daunting. Sitting at a table elbow-to-elbow with the people you've missed most is somewhat surreal.
Canada returns to normalcy at a slower, more guarded pace than we do in the states. There's a learning curve to mask wearing; sometimes I forget to put one on, most times I forget to remove it. Waiting in line is not uncommon for highly coveted ice cream or coffee or baked goods. Many businesses limit customer capacity to a mere two at a time; this feels somewhat strange but certainly gives you a huge appreciation for the folks working in retail. The level of politeness and patience I've encountered from shopkeepers (as well as the occasional shopper) constantly surprises me. With the return to school, streets are somewhat busy but not quite in full swing. Crossing guards take their jobs very seriously, warning pedestrians to step back, avoiding on-coming bicycles and mostly empty streetcars. Spending time in open spaces punctuates summer's transition into fall; the last hurrah of roses in one garden, the earliest Cinderella pumpkins in another. Having a faithful pup in tow is a gentle reminder to pay attention to the smallest of things underfoot, overhead, and in the distance. I suspect travel will remain a luxury, not a necessity, for quite some time. Which means the little things, such as stepping up to the front of the line at one of your favorite ice cream haunts, is truly the sprinkle mix on top of the créme glacée that is Toronto.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm