Shavuot Shoutout!

imagesSo this evening begins the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai and also the First Fruits of the Harvest.

That totally make sense because guess who's got strawberries? I love this holiday and its gifts, as long as we can keep those gifts away from the damn squirrels. God bless bird netting.

Shavuot is traditionally observed with an all-night study session meant to make up for the fact that the morning God delivered the Torah on Mount Sinai, our lazy ancestors overslept. So now we go the insomniac route to show we're actually ready to receive the wisdom. It also includes a reading of the Book of Ruth, a story that defies the nasty stereotypes of sparky relationships between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. (Here's another one, a recent Civil Society Column.)

For reasons not completely understood but heartily embraced, Shavuot is also celebrated by eating a lot of cheese. Farmer's cheese, gouda, goat, blue, ricotta, cottage, Limburger, parmesan, asiago, the drippy white deliciousness served with chips at Mexican restaurants, you name it. Unfortunately, El Yenta Man is viciously lactose intolerant, so me and the kids may be partying on our own with a wheel of brie and a stack of cheddar cubes.

And we can't forget cheesecake, a ubiquitous Shavuot staple, as well as blintzes, which are the same EXACT thing as crêpes except your bubbie didn't know Nutella from a noodge and filled the thin pancakes with -- what else? -- cheese.

Here is the fabulous Joan Nathan making her Ultimate Blintzes for Tablet:

How good are THOSE gonna taste at 4am? Not that I'm so pious that I'll be joining in the learning tonight, but I'll may be up anyway guarding the strawberries.

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