Shabbat dinner was an event at my parents home. Any given Friday could mean more than a dozen people at the table. My mother, Marsha was a consummate host, my father, Sylvain was a wild man and often dressed for dinner in a djelleba. He had a passion for cooking would spend all day making couscous, boulettes and dozens of kemia salads. Some poor soul would then have to clean every dish, fork, spoon, pot, and pan in the house. It was always worth it. Dinners were loud and entertaining, filled with exotic food and music.
Following in our father’s footsteps my sister and I would often greet dinner guests dressed as Gypsies. After dinner she and I would gather all of the children and sometimes adults and put on elaborate performances for the guests. These evenings left a lifelong impression on me.
As I got older I felt a need to reconnect with my past by finding a way to revitalize the traditions we shared as a family. These traditions are both personal and cultural.
Sharing food is one of the most genuine forms of cultural exchange. Gathered at the dinner table, we reminisce, share stories, and engage with one another. I now host a series of Pop Up Shabbat dinners. The dinners are open to everyone regardless of religious or cultural background. The goal of each dinner is to promote the idea that food can be an instrument through which traditions of all types can be shared, revived, and honored. Each dinner is a thoughtful combination of dishes, accompanied by an exhibition of photographs and ephemera, all set to a soundtrack of the music that might have once filled the dining room of my parent’s home. The food, photographs, and music help me to tell my story to the audience.
Private dinners are also available upon request.