Kenda Williams

freelance writer and journalist – Savannah, Georgia

Goodbye October, Hello November! November 1, 2010

In certain parts of the country, like where I grew up in Central Arkansas,  it may be colder and leaves on trees may be turning colors of orange, yellow and red, but in Savannah, the sunshine and green lingers a little longer… And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It provides the perfect setting for a lovely southern autumn.

Halloween is, of course, the magical and wonderful holiday that comes with October, and it’s quite possibly my favorite holiday of the year. (Dressing up and wearing crazy shades of makeup may have something to do with that.) It’s the perfect season for foodies! It’s so great to buy pumpkins and make chili, warm soups, deliciously sweet desserts and apple cider – yum! Even after October rolls away, and we get into the deep of fall with pumpkin pies and turkey dinners, it’s so warm and nostalgic. There’s so much to love about the autumn season.

The Harry Potter series of books and movies and I go way back. It is a favorite of mine, and I tend to associate it with this time of year. I love re-reading the books and watching the movies during fall…

I didn’t go to school at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but I did go to a fun, beautiful university in a magical land called Fayetteville, Ark. (And my name is forever etched in the 2006 senior sidewalk)…

So many great autumn memories happened while I was in college at the University of Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas has one of the most beautiful fall seasons of anywhere I’ve ever been. It was lovely being here this time of year…

But, of course, ultimately the best thing about this time of year is the decorative, seasonal food… especially fall-time desserts!

October and November are definitely my favorite months out of the year. The holidays are upon us, and there’s nothing quite like the beauty of the outdoors around you (see some gorgeous fall photos captured by one of my favorite Arkansas-based photographers, Tim Ernst) and the tasty food that’s prepared this time of year is definitely part of that excitement that comes from the season.

When it comes to food, I say the more local and the more ethnic and unique, the better… This Halloween Sunday was also celebration of The 22nd Annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival. The festival was held in Forsyth Park on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Aromas of food filled the park, and it was delicious! A friend and I sampled the chicken soup with matzah balls and the apple strudel with almonds and raisins. The park was packed with people all getting in line to purchase some of their favorite traditional Jewish foods. By the time I arrived, the challah bread, which I observed being made at Congregation Mickve Israel, was all gone. I did find a recipe for challah, but if I made it would likely not taste as authentic as the family recipes from the congregation. And they do make some great food!

Here is a portion of my preview article on the event that appeared in the DO section of the Savannah Morning News:

The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival to kick off 22nd annual event

The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival to kick off 22nd annual event

October 28, 2010

The 22nd annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival, presented by Congregation Mickve Israel on Sunday, will feature a variety of Jewish food from around the world.

The festival, which charges no admission, requires tickets to purchase food and drinks. Two ticket booths are available on festival grounds.

“It’s great to do this because it allows us to share our culture with the community,” said Lauri Taylor, festival chairperson.

Ethnic Jewish cuisine will include chicken soup with matzah balls, challah bread, potato latkes, apple strudel, honey cake, hamantashen, bagels with cream cheese and lox and many other items.

Hamantashen, a triangular-shaped pastry filled with poppy seeds, jam or fruit, is traditionally served during the Jewish festival of Purim, or the festival of lots. Challah bread is traditionally served each Sabbath, or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew, as well as Jewish holidays.

In preparation for the festival, Congregation Mickve Israel held several baking sessions that included a challah braiding class led by Isser Gottlieb, of Gottlieb’s Bakery fame.

A Savannah institution, the bakery was established by Gottlieb’s grandfather in 1884 and closed in 1994, and although the bakery is no longer in business, the Gottlieb family is still passionate about traditional Jewish baked goods and foods. Both Isser and his wife, Ava, were present at the challah braiding class.

(Click here to read more…)