Here’s what I found under Jeff’s bed-side table: a dusty bag filled with emails from 1997 and 1998. I wasn’t quite sure how they got there, but as I started to sort through them, I was amazed at the detailed letters that had been sent between us, my brother- and sister-in-law Zeev and Rise, my parents and my in-laws. What a treasure trove.
I was struck by several observations: we actually used to write letters to each other; my mom was an active part in the life of our family; my oldest, who is about to get married (gulp!), was a cute toddler; every day held an adventure.
Most of the emails started like this: “I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long,” or, “You won’t believe what happened today…” And then they’d launch into a description of my harried days as a young mother with two young kids.
I had forgotten how regularly Mom came to visit, mostly drawn by her grandchildren, by turns adorable and annoying. We often described the same events: the time 3-year-old Rafi crawled under the locked gate and hid in the neighbor’s yard; the time 2-month-old Liora slipped out of her carriage as we were going up stone steps.
Savta, as we call her, had particular skills. She loved to read and play and bathe the kids. When she also started helping with laundry, dishes, and sweeping, we started calling her “Savta-rella.” Savta’s Cinderella persona was always a welcome addition in our house.
Times are different now. This week, we had coffee in one of our favorite haunts. We eyed the pastries in the local bakery, window-shopped, and enjoyed the warm sun. Mom was in a happy mood. When we got to their apartment and she wanted to make tea for the 10th time (ok, I’m exaggerating a little), we sang “Polly put the kettle on,” and did an enthusiastic rendition of “I’m a little teapot.” It reminded me of the emails I’d written when my kids were little and we’d sing songs or make up games to amuse ourselves.
When I came home, I wanted to make something for dinner I didn’t have to think about too much. I wanted to use the fresh spinach I’d bought because spinach is extremely high in antioxidants and antioxidants are supposed to prevent or delay some types of brain cell damage. We have to protect ourselves any way we can.
Here’s my rendition of spinach quiche.
While this recipe may seem daunting, it is actually straightforward. I was so tickled when my kids voted this their favorite dish over pizza and hamburgers. If you have kids who don’t like spinach, place it on only half the quiche. Or, use alternative vegetables like onions, mushrooms or sautéed squash.
1½ cups flour
½ cup canola oil
5 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp salt
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
¼ cup water
1½ cups grated cheese Cheddar or American
1½ cups milk
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 Tbsp flour
Sort and wash spinach leaves. Place in a large pot with a little water and steam leaves until they turn dark green and soften. Note that the volume of the spinach will decrease as it steams. Let cool. In a bowl, mix crust ingredients and pat into round pie pan. Using the same bowl, mix custard ingredients, making sure to smooth any lumps. In pie pan, place layer of grated cheese at bottom of crust, then spinach on top. Pour custard on top and push down gently with a fork any leaves sticking up. Sprinkle top with paprika. Bake for 45 minutes on 350°.
For extra taste, add two crushed cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of salt to the steamed spinach.
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