The weather is starting to warm up in Toronto! Are you thinking picnic yet?
Reasons to Cater a Picnic
There are lots of reasons to cater a picnic, especially here in Toronto:
- It gives Mom a break.
- People need to get out after this terrible winter.
- It satisfies different tastes.
- Your picnic will be an event to remember.
- It gives Mom a break.
And yes, Mitzuyan Kosher Catering has served up picnics for businesses, family reunions, birthdays and other events. Why not celebrate the end of this record-breaking winter with a kosher picnic?
Spring is When the Holiday Schedule Picks Up
I know, we just ended Passover a few weeks ago. But if you love holidays as much as we do, you know that spring brings more secular and religious holidays.
Have you ever heard of Lag b’Omer? It’s observed in Orthodox and Sephardic communities and some Conservative ones. This holiday marks the beginning of the end of the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. An omer is a day, and Jews who say a b’rucha (blessing) from the Second Night of Passover onward, end it on May 17, the lag or 33rd day.
Up until then, Jews traditionally refrained from haircuts and shaving to observe the anniversary of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against Rome around 132 BCE. Others note it for the death of Rabbi Shimon (also called Simeon) bar Yochai, who wrote most of the collection known as Kabbalah. So on Day 33, they can visit the barber or salon.
If you understand Hebrew numerology, 33 is represented by the two letters lamed and gimel, hence Lag.
Many communities in fact have a Lag b’Omer picnic and are very popular in Israel. Bonfires are big events (no burning of any Guy involved).
So why not start a new tradition and have a picnic for Lag or Shavuot? This year, Shavuot falls on a weekend (just as Passover began on one). It lasts from the evening of Saturday 23 May to Monday 25 May. Shavuot, you may remember, celebrates Moses’ presenting the Ten Commandments.
The Book of Ruth is read on Shavuot, and many people stay up all night to study the Torah. It’s a joyful holiday, with a tradition of eating dairy foods. According to Tori Avey, this is because milk symbolizes the Torah which nourishes us as milk nourishes a baby. Also, Moses was leading the Jews to the land of milk and honey.
Food From the Old Empire!
Victoria Day is May 18 and I think the old Queen would have found our kosher catering service fascinating. As the self-proclaimed Empress of India, she would no doubt enjoy our kebobs, samosas, and curried chicken. And while we can’t be sure she would have approved the Hong Kong handover, we are confident she’d go for our crispy vegetarian spring rolls, noodles and vegetable fried rice, and our authentic pad thai sauce served over vegetables.
Both cuisines, and many others, are featured in our catering stations and can be delivered directly to your picnic. We cook with fresh ingredients, from approved kosher suppliers, and prepared in our mobile kitchens.
Opa! Greek Butter Cookies for Shavuot, Victoria Day, Any Day!
Tori Avey offers up this recipe for Greek butter cookies, or kourabiedes, which she credits to Rena Gani Carasso, a Greek Jew from Prevesa who is a Holocaust survivor. Rena’s daughters contributed it to a Holocaust Survivors’ Cookbook. Sales proceeds go to a soup kitchen in Israel and support various Jewish organizations.
- 1 lb. unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
- 1 lb. chopped almonds
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 c confectioners' sugar, separated
- 1 t vanilla
- 3 -5 c flour
- Preheat oven to 350
- Beat butter slowly for 15 min (preferably with a mixed on medium-low setting)
- Slowly add egg yolks, 1 c confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and "a little" of the flour.
- Continue beating, and add chopped almonds and more flour until a soft dough is formed. Be sure to periodically scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Get the dough to a state where it's pliable and easy to work with without being greasy.
- Roll dough into a crescent or round shape, a little less than 2 t per cookie
- Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 15 - 25 min, until they are lightly golden.
- Cool on baking racks and dust with the remaining confectioners' sugar.
- Serve with milk--what else?