Dear Shaina,

It would be my pleasure to make you a gooey grilled cheese sandwich or anything else you want… whenever I get to actually be with you in the same kitchen again! Now that you’ll be leading a Birthright trip to Israel right after returning from India (barely a six-day layover in NYC), the best we can do is hit one of those grilled cheese food trucks in the city.

I’ve been expanding my culinary experiments a bit beyond the confines of family and friends. We celebrated Earth Day with a Shabbat program at Temple about poverty and food justice. Since you were born on Earth Day, I felt it only fitting that we help sponsor the Kiddush luncheon—and then, of course, I volunteered to cook.

I made a huge tub (enough for 120) of quinoa with roasted veggies, fresh basil and feta cheese. That was the same weekend we hosted a wedding shower, and I tried a new edamame recipe.

Both turned out delicious and would be perfect with one of my quiches for Shavuot…hardly substitutes for blintzes on Shavuot, but it’s the best I can do with my increasingly demanding retirement schedule.

I remember Bubbe standing in her kitchen—schmata on her head and torn-open brown grocery bags lining the kitchen table and countertops—beating eggs, milk, butter and sifted flour into a large glass bowl with a fork (no thought of whisks or processors). She would pour blintz batter into a worn stainless frying pan and effortlessly slide out dozens of perfectly round, paper thin blintz bletls (Yiddish for blintz skins… who knew from crepes?) on to makeshift paper bag blotters.

I would wait patiently hoping she would ruin one so I could eat it. She rarely did. Sometimes she screwed up on purpose, because she knew how much I loved them… straight out of the pan, warm and buttery. They were the softest, thinnest, smoothest crepe-like dough I have ever eaten.

She spooned the cheese mixture onto the dough and meticulously rolled the bottom up over the filling forming a tube the size of a roll of quarters, then folded the sides in and finished rolling them into a perfect blintz.

It was an all-day affair, a labor of love and a delicious Shavuot specialty. You were not allowed to leave the table without eating at least three or four—and sometimes more depending on the time of day, snack time or mealtime.

No matter how many times I try making blintzes, they are just not the same… yet. Once I get it down, I will send you the recipe. For now, I’m planning on quiche, my new edamame dish and a fresh fruit salad for my Shavuot menu. Maybe when you finally land in the US for more than a few hours, we can try making blintzes together. I promise there will be plenty of messed up bletls for us to taste!