I did something unprecedented this week and asked Hadass for a bio. I’m thrilled to share the following (alternate spellings and all) from my new blogging colleague to the north!
Hadass Eviatar was born in Israel, raised partly in the United States, and lived in the Netherlands for many years before settling in Winnipeg, Canada. She has a husband and three children as well as a slew of useless degrees. She loves reading Torah and leading services at her Conservative egalitarian congregation, celebrating Shabbat and figuring out how to be a kosher paleo
pescetarian. She blogs about all this at http://coatmanycolours.blogspot.ca and writes about her experience blogging for 25×52 at http://coatmanycolours.blogspot.com/2012/07/im-shabbat-guest.html?spref=fb
Up here above the 49th parallel, in the heart of the continent, extremes are the name of the game. From the temperatures (over +30C [86F] in the summer, below -40 in the winter) to the length of the day (over 16 hours at the summer solstice, to 8 hours at the winter solstice), we definitely have seasons up here.
A rabbi of my acquaintance once referred to a summer Shabbat in Winnipeg as the blessing that never ends. While it comes in comfortably late (this past Friday, July 20th, at 9:08 pm, daylight central time), it goes out uncomfortably late as well (10:14 pm). That’s a lot of time to fill in, especially for children. We play outside, go for walks, read lots of books and play board games. My kids are now at an age (9, 13 and 16) where they are beginning to appreciate the enforced break from video games as much as I appreciate turning off the iPhone for 25 hours – we recognise that it is good for us and makes us healthier, more rounded people – but we also rush to turn them back on as soon as the strains of “Eliyahu HaNavi” die away!
The long, hot summer Shabbat also necessitates some creativity for meals. In particular, while I do know at least one family here who eats a full Shabbat dinner whenever Shabbat comes in, we have adopted the summer habit of another rabbinical family we know – eat dinner at the usual time, make Kiddush and Motzi (with home-made challah) at the proper time, and then have special dessert. My kids greatly look forward to this. This week our special dessert was home-made vanilla bean ice cream with stewed rhubarb from our garden (with ginger and local honey, mmmmm). While eating our special dessert we share our weeks, sing and laugh and connect. It is a precious time.
Another issue is that when it is hot here, we don’t want to leave the oven on as we do during the rest of the year. Even a hotplate can make the kitchen unbearably hot. We do have some air conditioning in the house (Manitoba has the highest per capita use of air conditioners in Canada!), but our houses are built to retain heat, and they do. My incredibly creative husband has come up with a solution to that – an outdoor blech!
My mother gave us a Salton tray many years ago. My clever husband plugs it in outside on the deck, behind the deck chairs to protect it from curious creatures. Wrapping our quiche and grilled cheese (my children’s staple) in foil and then newspaper provides excellent insulation and a yummy Shabbat meal without heating up the house. In particular, in the morning before shul we can heat up some little breakfast quiches – best early morning protein ever!
Here’s the recipe for these lovely little quiches
(source: Coach Nicole from Sparkpeople.com):
2 tbsp milk (I use coconut milk)
1 cup diced tomato
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (Israeli feta FTW!)
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli (or frozen and thawed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix eggs and milk in a bowl. Add crumbled goat cheese and chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into muffin tins, I use reusable silicon cups but you can just grease the tins if you prefer. Bake at 350F for about 15 – 20 minutes until set and golden on top.
Winter Shabbat is completely different, I will be sure to come back then and tell you all about it! But summer and winter, it is always our refuge and island in time. I hope it is for you, too.