We grew up in two adjacent towns in Southeastern Connecticut: New London and Waterford. True to their Southern New England location, Thanksgiving and its attendant celebration was a huge part of our cultural milieu.

Synagogues and churches each had special “Services” late in the morning to give thanks to God for His bounty. Although the story was more fiction than truth, we all knew the accepted version of the first Thanksgiving.

When we were growing up, Thanksgiving was a great day. After all, there were football games on TV as well as all the “giant monkey” films (King Kong, Son of Kong, Bride of Kong, Mighty Joe Young, King Kong Goes to Hollywood (Ok, that last one is a fake), etc.

Our house was always full on Turkey Day. Our mom always made two turkeys. Along with the turkeys, there was cranberry sauce (both jelled and whole berry), mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes with carrots and cinnamon, potato salad, green salad, turkey soup, green beans with almond slivers, sweet potato pie, really good and fresh baked rye bread, some sort of a souffle, and desserts the likes of which we never saw at any other part of the year: pecan pie, pumpkin pie, pareve custard cream pie, brownies, cookies, fruit salad with coconut on top of it, and what ever else our invited guests brought along with them.

Dinner was early- usually at around 2:00pm, and ended at 4:00pm. At that point, the table was pushed along one wall of the dining room, and was reset as a buffet table with all the fixings for a whole afternoon and early evening of snacking, grazing, and stuffing. Oh yeah, we left out gravy up above! Gravy did not make it to the buffet table, because the buffet table was cold food only.

Father was, of course, a WW2 veteran, and he also worked in the defense industry. He designed the nuclear reactor on the first nuclear submarine, the SSN Nautilus. Our table included prayers of thanks for our veterans as well as motzi. As it was New England, we had to tell the Thanksgiving story and then say for what we were thankful.

No one wanted to be last on the “I am thankful for…” recitation. Being the last meant that everyone else had already said all the good stuff. We were not supposed to say something that someone else said.

All in all, it is good to give thanks unto the Lord!


Posted on November 26, 2015 at 12:02 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Holidays, Kosher Kitchen




3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly coat a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Add potatoes and toss to coat.
Spread potatoes in an even layer onto prepared pan.
Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Posted on November 25, 2015 at 12:02 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher Recipes


The Food and Drug Administration is seeking comments from the public on use of the term “natural” in the labeling of food products, including dietary supplements. This decision comes after receiving three citizen petitions asking it to define the term “natural” and one petition asking to prohibit the term from being used on food labels. So far, the FDA has not attempted to restrict the term, except for cases involving added color, synthetic substances, and flavors. The FDA hopes to remove some of the ambiguity from the term and limit misleading claims by establishing an official definition.

The agency also alludes to the plethora of lawsuits regarding the term “natural” as a reason to seek comments in the notice. The FDA is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine the use of the term in meat, poultry, and egg products, and is also considering areas for coordination between FDA and USDA. Comments must be received on or before Feb. 10, 2016.

Posted on November 24, 2015 at 12:02 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health


Located at 44 Emek Refaim St, in Jerusalem, this is the first meat restaurant in the Cafe Cafe chain of restaurants. Prices are moderate. The decor is nondescript. The chairs, in particular, are not very comfortable.

The food was tasty, but we have had far better. We were three people on a Wednesday night. We ordered lachma bajean and fried chicken wings for the table. The wings were great. The lacma was lacking in tamarind flavor, and instead of looking like little mini pizza disks, it was served on a flat crust looking like a small, personal sized pizza. Yes, it was good, but, again, we have had far, far better.

For dinner one of us had the mixed Jerusalem grill- a rather small dish of mostly chicken hearts. Two of us ordered rib steaks. One of us ordered extremely rare, and the other ordered medium well. The rare steak came medium and was twice the size of the other steak. The medium well steak came extremely well done and not very hot. It was placed on the plate with the less well done side facing up. When we tasted it, we discovered just how over cooked the steak was.

We had to ask for drinking glasses to be brought to the table. We had to ask for a pitcher of cold water. We had to ask for extra napkins. Considering that the appetizers were finger food, we should not have had to ask for more (paper) napkins.

Not once during our meal did our waitress ask if the food was good or if she could bring us anything else. We had to flag her down to ask for coffee.

We will say that the food was fairly tasty, but there is not much there to recommend going back. So be it.

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 12:02 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Kosher News, Kosher Restaurants