Top of the afternoon to all...
I had two worries when we left for Israel. One was that I would happily eat my way through the country. The other worry was that I would not. I think I chose the former, but I am not certain.
When Jennifer and I lived here 20 years ago, we had our favourite spot at Mahane Yehuda for hummus, tehina, pickles, and olives. The place is still there. The owner is still the same guy, although he did not remember us. We should have brought the picture we took.
Anyway, we stopped there for olives and pickles prior to our first Shabbat in Israel. The olives were simply delightful, and possibly the best I have ever had. I wonder if it is all in my head - they taste better because I was in Israel, because I bought them at my favourite spot, and so on. On the other hand, people who drink wine and whisky know that air, soil, and altitude will all have an effect on the taste.
We also bought hummus and tehina there for lunch last week. Jennifer makes those at home. It takes her a few minutes, and it is always tasty. She was trying to figure out why this was so much better.
One of the Israeli customs that I like was starting Shabbat dinner with all of these odds and ends - the pickles, the olives, the hummus. I could get used to that.
Another Israeli custom (I think) - when we came home at the end of every day, Jennifer's cousin had sliced up some watermelon. Wow was that a nice way to end the day.
One of the nice things about being on the Kefar for Shabbat was that people ate their way through the neighbourhood as well. The houses are trafficked all day. People drop by. You feed them cake. You drop by. They feed you melon. Keren and I were taking a Shabbat walk. A man walked up to us and asked if we wanted a cup of water. We went to his home. He gave us water, and then invited us to stay for Seudah Shelishit (third Shabbat meal). We declined, but it was clearly another statement about how much a part of the culture it is to eat one's way through the country.
We are back in Toronto now. I will miss those olives.