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The Many Languages of Challah

Reflecting on last week. It was a pretty interesting week . . . as weeks go.

I started testing recipes for my Challah book (Rising!)

This was really exciting, as it feels like a huge step towards getting the book out.

And simultaneously – I got a new offer from another publisher – so now I am in the somewhat enviable position (don’t hate me!) of being able to choose who should publish my book! Help!!

I can’t wait to share it all with you – I am so connected with the material in this book, it feels like a (magically non-nauseous) pregnancy. I guess the birth will be the day the book is actually published. I’m just hoping it’s not a long (difficult) labor!! No epidural on this one, people.

So, back to recipe testing!

Get all your ducks in a row. Or ingredients on the counter

I’m really not a very precise person in the kitchen, and in general, not such a perfectionist. It’s got to be really pretty, and taste good . . . but more than that, is just wasting my time from doing something else fun.

Let’s just say, I’ve been known to use my palm as a tablespoon, and if we’re talking teaspoons? I don’t even bother with my hands at all – just throw it in.

So, measuring precise amounts and marking them down as I bake, is a totally new experience for me.

It all felt very scientific and official – and even my tiny little Brooklyn kitchen started to feel more professional.

Just to give you an idea of how professional and food blogger-like I was feeling this week, I actually took out an apron and wore it while I baked!

You probably don’t know this... but this is highly unusual for me.

I usually just wear some shmattes and throw them in the laundry when I’m done baking – but for this occasion – I broke out a real apron! Actually it felt kind of nice, I may just do this more often!

So, I promise I’m getting to the point of this whole ramble!

Here’s the thing about testing lots of different recipes on the same day. It gets confusing.

The pumpkin challah could use more sweetness, but the kalamata rosemary challah needs more salt, and then the Gluten Free Challah is a whole other story, needing so many different kinds of help, I don’t even know where to begin!

So as I’m trying to keep all these different needs in mind, it strikes me that this is feeling like a very familiar task.

With a husband and four beautiful, wondrous children, thank Gd, my life is divided into trying to keep each person’s needs distinct and make sure I’m giving each of them just the right ingredient that they need to feel loved and cared for.

I am reminded of Gary Chapman’s ‘Five Love Languages.’ In it he divides our expressions of love into 5 categories and calls each ‘its own love language.’

The premise of his book, is that we each tend to give love in one of these ways, and also wish to receive it in a specific way. Learning to read our loved ones’ love languages (yeah, that’s a tongue twister!) is a great way to make sure we are giving them love in a way that it will be understood, received and absorbed.

If I tell my daughter how much I love her, but her love language is physical touch, then the words will not penetrate, and she won’t feel loved. It doesn’t matter how many times, and in how many ways I tell her how much I adore her. Without that hug – it just won’t do the trick.

So, as I put just the right amount of saltiness into the Kalamata challah, and just the right proportion of sweetness into the pumpkin, and then try to figure out what the heck to do with the Gluten Free Challah – I will focus on each of my loved ones and try to remember what it is they need from me, so that my love for them will come through and help them rise.

So, to sum it up folks, here’s a l’chaim (I need an excuse to drink some wine with that insanely delicious Kalamata challah!)

To a totally non-confusing week of love giving and love receiving. May the love we give from the most true and real part of ourselves, be received in the way it was given, and may it transform us and our loved ones, creating the most beautiful Rise.

Amen to that. And L’Chaim!

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