the joys of babka
On Saturday night I went to a farewell dinner for two very dear friends, who also happen to be my former housemates. Having lived communally with them for a couple of years we have learnt a lot about what each other eats. This meant that every Friday night I brought home a challah for the house to share. And on Sunday mornings we would have the delicious breakfast of French toast on challah, drenched with maple syrup. This, fairly unsurprisingly, quickly became a staple in the house. (The food sharing also meant that during Pesach they got to try matzah, which they, rather bizarrely, loved.)
We moved house together a couple of times, and each time my mum would supply us with a babka. My housemates had never had a babka before I moved in, and they very very quickly loved it. So when it came time for them to move away—they’re heading overseas for a couple of years—there was a request for a challah and a babka for their farewell dinner, which were gladly supplied.
Needless to say the babka was eaten and enjoyed by all, (it was only the Jewish dinner-goers who complained about it not being chocolate-y enough and inferior to Aviv babkas)…
And so today I was thinking about how sharing food has been a great way to introduce my non-Jewish friends to Jewish cultures. Food is something we can share, it’s nourishing, and delicious. It opens up discussions about how each food has a history, both personal and communal. And, to be a bit soppy, it brings people together, helping us make new histories and presents. Which is why I love the centrality that food has to Jewishness.
That night, I also discovered (thanks to my blogging partner) that one of the few Seinfeld episodes I had not seen is the one about babka. So, in celebration of babka, and in case you missed it too, I thought I’d post it here…