Dear Shaina,

I thought Bubbe’s blintzes were complicated to make, but your dosai are over the top. I’ll wait until you get home to try making those. In the meantime, only three more weeks until I get to lay my hands on you—at  least for a few days before you take off for Israel.

I am actually approaching my mother-worry tolerance limit. First the anxious email about your swollen leg and then the pictures, bug bites included, and then…well, then, nothing! I hear nothing from you! Nothing about the swelling, nothing about the bug bites, nothing about going to the doctor, nothing about anything—except that you got a manicure and leg wax for $7.00 and skipped the pedicure because you didn’t want anyone messing with your swollen foot. That was enough to push your mother (and your father) over the edge. Have a little rachmunis (pity) on your old, enmeshed and, up to this point, very supportive parents!

If you were here, Take a little Benadryl and call me in the morning would suffice. But you’re in India! I don’t know what kind of bugs live in the Himalayas and what kind of diseases they carry and what doctor, if any, you should go to. PLEASE, let us know what is happening with your foot. We worry about you!

I know the heat in India must be getting to you, too. One hundred-degree heat doesn’t do much to reduce swelling. Summer is beginning to take hold here also. The air is heavy with sweet honeysuckle, lush greenery, vibrantly hued birds and plenty of pollen seasoned by the southern-style heat and humidity that make it all happen. It’s the kind of awesome extravagant layering that takes your breath away at first…and then seemingly overnight, it’s real summer, and it just takes your breath away or makes it a little harder to breathe, at least.

I understand how mint juleps on the veranda gained popularity here in this part of the country. It’s a good thing I lean toward food and not drink. Lately, my appetite has been turning to easy salads—cool, refreshing and light.

I got the urge to make one of my favorite Israeli salads, maybe because you will be leaving for Israel soon.  I learned how to make from one of our Israeli friends in Birmingham. I always request it when we get together for summer celebrations. This year I am determined to perfect it myself, so I am starting early and adding a few of my own touches.

In the meantime, you are not off the hook—I expect to hear from you about your foot very soon!


For more delicious Israeli food including cooking demonstrations, tastings and book signings, visit the Jewish Food Experience tent at the community-wide [email protected] celebration on Sunday, June 9, at Union Market.