Friday, December 31, 2010

A Christmas "Gift"

Over the past seven and a half months, I have fretted over almost everything.

Am I feeding her too much? ("God, does your baby ever stop eating?" an acquaintance remarked)
Will my milk dry up? (Every so often, when she would fret or not feed properly, I would squeeze my nipples just to make sure there was still enough)

Was I dressing her warmly enough for the air conditioning? Too warmly for the blazing hot sun? Was I playing with her enough? Were the games appropriate? Was she learning all she should? Was I spending too much time talking to others instead of with her? Was she bored? Was she overtired? Was I devoting enough attention to her? Too much maybe? Most importantly: was I a good mother? Was I giving her the security, support and love that my baby girl needs to grow up with a strong sense of self and confidence, compassion, intelligence and the knowledge that she can do and be anyone she wants to be.

If she cried when I went for a shower, I agonised about whether she would grow into an adult with abandonment issues...

But on Christmas Day, none of that mattered.

In the week leading up to Christmas, DW had gotten ill and then better. I was so focused on his health and would we make it to our family Christmas lunch that it didn't occur to me that anyone else might get sick.

At about 2:30 in the morning, she woke with a start and burst into tears. A first in seven and a half months. I reached over to calm her and found her skin burning to the touch. Ridiculously, I hadn't figured out how to use the thermometer, so was forced to wake DW. (Stupid, I know)

She was running a highish fever but, more importantly, she seemed incredibly uncomfortable and upset. Every so often, her entire body would jolt, sending her into frightened fits of hysterical crying.

We were terrified and suddenly acutely aware of how ignorant we are about these things.

And, of course, it was 2:30 on the night of Christmas. Even on the easiest of nights, the emergency room is not a place for a baby, and there was no way were were going anywhere near that germ-infested mosh pit!

For the next day or so, we did all we knew: we took off all her clothing, dosed her up with homeopathics, sponge-bathed her, sang to her, and tried to make her comfortable without letting our panic be too noticeable. It was like a pre-choreographed dance -- the parents dance -- that
neither of us were aware we knew the steps to until we were forced into it.

And dance we did, handing one another wet sponge after wet sponge, changing the water when it got too cold, taking her temperature a million times.

This was all complicated by the fact that DW could not touch her because of his own illness that he was still recovering from.

DW, in his infinite patience, has the ability to make a book sound interesting even after he's read it four thousand times. Honestly, I don't give a crap where the damn fish is. It's still in the same damn place it was last time we read the book -- 30 seconds ago! DW loves doing the same thing over and over again. I'm not so good at it even though I know that's what she loved... Little baby girl, at seven months, is perfectly happy with the familiar, and repetition -- Where's That Fish, Berries for Jam. I know, I get it... But she's still tiny and learning.

So there we were, Christmas Day, as far from the fairy tale of Santa as is humanly possible. Being raised Jewish, I don't really care about Christmas, except that it offers the same thing as any Jewish Holiday worth its salt: an excuse to gather with family and loved ones.

At some point, I did realise the obvious: even though it wasn't all reindeer and jingle bells, we were all together. Baby girl, DW and I. Working together, being there for and with one another.

Vida was grizzling away, not able to find a comfortable position. She cried out, and arched her back. And forgetting about all the fretting and hesitating, all my guilt and self-doubt, I scooped her into my arms and held her tight. She instantly relaxed and fell asleep a few moments later.

Since then, though neither of us is prone to superstition, we've knocked on so much wood, I'm starting to see grooves in the furniture.

Thankfully she's better today (knock on wood).

And as I said to DW late Saturday night as we watched her breathing, with everything, there really is no other place I would rather be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Green Smoothie

I got two hours today. Two whole hours to myself.

Elation! Excitement! Happiness! Joy! Guilt! Fear! Doubt!


But I'm not here to talk about me -- I'd like to talk abut a certain baby and a certain green smoothie.

Green isn't a colour often associated with things babies or children like. Broccoli is green, as are Brussels sprouts. Spinach is green. But smoothies? Aren't they meant to be full of blueberries and bananas and lovely stuff?

If you know me, chances are I've mentioned my green smoothies before. DW is willing to sacrifice work time in order to get his morning smoothie in. In fairness, his aren't green -- they have raw cacao added.

But what to make for baby?

When I was pregnant and as I've been breastfeeding, I've eating as many greens as possible, drank as many green smoothies as I can. I'm hoping she will get a taste for them, maybe already in the womb or through my milk. Who knows? All I can say is she liked this one!

It was simple, none of the superfoods I add for us adults. Just fruit and veg. Banana, apple, spinach. The colour was beautiful -- like a baby version of mine. My Green smoothies look like something I dredged up from a swamp: deep, mossy, fecund. Vida's was a light, happy green, eighties in hue.

I dunked her favorite spoon in it and let her guide it into her mouth. The expressions on her face were wondrous: an eyebrow lifted, her nose curled, her lips opened and shut in surprise.

Then she dove in for more.

I have to admit, it wasn't a proper BLW meal as I did help her get more onto the spoon than the floor. But she loved it, loved it, loved it. She sucked that spoon and sucked and sucked, a smile in her little eyes.

"Mba ba!" she said, waving it around.
"Mba ba," I responded.

She laughed loudly at my joke and threw the whole thing on the floor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love is in the creases

Never have I been so interested in the details of another being -- not my loved ones', not my own. And yet, I know her mouth so well. It can shrink to the size of a kernel of corn, a scornful dot in the middle of her face. Like when she doesn't want to be in the pram. She doesn't even look at me, and her mouth scrunches up as if she's withholding something very dear -- as far as I'm concerned, she is.

Other times, like when I put an orange in front of her, or she needs to get her mouth around it, her lips stretch almost from one ear to the other.

She has a beautiful mouth, this baby girl. It's a kind mouth, a happy mouth, one that is ready to engage at any time, to take a chunk out of life or that piece of pear.

Though she doesn't use it to talk -- not yet anyway, not the way we know -- this mouth expresses plenty of thoughts, emotions, desires and dislikes.

We went to the Sunday farmer's market the other day. Just she and I. She was snuggled against me in her carrier and fast asleep for the walk there. But once we arrived, she was wide awake, ready for the next adventure.

Now that she is eating, she is more active in asking for food. It's only been two-three weeks and yet, she's gotten the point already. So when I tasted some bits of apples on display, she opened her mouth wide and moved her head towards my hand.

I asked her if she wanted a piece. She applauded and giggled -- a definite yes. We found a bench and ate our apple together. One bite for me, one bite for her. It was an absolute delight.

I couldn't wait to share food with my baby girl and now the day has come and she loves it every bit as much as I hoped she would.

Last week, she loved broccoli, yesterday, she couldn't be bothered with the flowery florets. Cucumbers have come, gone and come back again. Banana has found no favour at all -- not juicy enough. But apples? Apples are by far and away her favourite, maybe because like her Mama she loves the fact that we can eat them together -- one bite for me, one bite for her.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tale of Plums, Spoons and Oranges

My daughter loves plums.

And oranges.

And big, metal spoons.

I think she loves them for different reasons though when they are cold, they all serve the same purpose.

At first, when a piece of food would inadvertently land in her mouth as a result of her razor-sharp gums, she would blow and blow and drool and drool and drool until whatever it was flopped back out.

Now, she knows what to expect. In fact, she welcomes it. Especially the juicy bits.

I gave her a plum yesterday. Long gone are the days of tentative sucking. She grabbed that poor piece of fruit like it deserved what it had coming and stuck it in her mouth. Or rather, she stuck it on her mouth and her nose, and part of her cheek, her jaw working its way towards the edges like a bulldozer through wet sand.

By the time she was done with it, this plum was halfway to being a puree.

She loves plums. She told me so by clapping excitedly when I put it in front of her.
When she brings those little hands together, sometimes they are full of things -- a book in one hand, a teething ring in the other. Sometimes her sleeves cover her palms and fingers. Not that she cares, it's the movement of clapping that gives her pleasure; the gesture is unmistakable, her smile ecstatic with achievement.

Before the plum, there was the orange. Soft and juicy, it made an indelible mark on her and provided a real turning point. Unlike everything that came before it, I think parts of that orange actually reached her tummy, teaching her that what she was holding in her hand was more than just another thing to put in her mouth and then discard.

I realised the importance of feeding her healthy food. Not only for her but also for me: when she was done sucking it dry, I ate the rest of that orange. It was too delicious to bin. And better citrus than biscuits.

Lastly, Madame Spoon. We bought her cute little bamboo ones. Pretty, inoffensive, eco-and child friendly. But now that she's eating like we are, and with us, she wants what we have. The lot of the bamboo has been sealed: it goes on the floor immediately, without even a glance. The large, cold metal spoon, on the other hand, goes straight in the mouth -- with or without apple sauce, bean soup or dahl.

For my part, I've already started to mourn the lessening of her dependence of me. I won't lie: it's hard. I didn't expect it to last forever but maybe I hoped it would go on for longer than this. At night, when she turns over and reaches for me, it makes me smile with a little relief as I know we still have a little ways to go -- less than I thought, but still something. I inch towards her, happy to provide the comfort, the milk, the connection that will help my daughter sleep soundly and feel safe.

And in the morning, I happily make us all breakfast: one for Ima, one for Pappa, one for Vida. She claps with delight.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Beginning of Baby Led Weaning

It's been three years since I first started blogging here. I remember wondering who on earth would do such a thing -- expose themselves in such a way to anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection. But it's addictive. In a world where we spend less and less time face to face, other modes of communication have become a necessity, if only to feel connected in some way.

So while I take a break from one blog, I find myself needing to do it, to get my fix, to reach out in some way.

You see, there is news. Big news.

I couldn't wait for this day and now that it's here, I'm wishing it hadn't arrived so quickly. I'm not ready yet. Can't she stay small for just a little while longer? Instead, she does new things every day that make it so blatantly clear that it's only a matter of time before she's rolling her eyes at me and telling me not to be so clingy.

My baby girl has started eating.

It has made me want to document it, write about every movement her little mouth makes, every time she claps with glee -- also a new feature in our lives.

And as she discovers food, so do we.

So far, we have experimented with cucumber, apple sauce, apples, carrots, bananas, yellow pepper, kale, broccoli, chicken bones, barlotti and vegetable soup. It's been two weeks, but even in this short space of time, the changes have been immense.

We are trying baby led weaning, so no purees (except apple sauce and the soup so far although we let her feed herself those as well). She copies us, her eyes fixated on our every move. This is how she learns to put the spoon in her mouth -- because we do it too. Then, when she discovers that there is something ON that spoon, her face changes a hundred times: from shock and horror to pleasure and adventure.

Everything is an adventure.

She's enjoying getting dirty, enjoying textures and tastes. And spitting it all out.

It's all so new.

Makes everything pretty new for us as well. A cucumber is easy to gum, though only the middle and only the ends. Carrots -- oh baby, she looked at me, don't waste your time. Oranges. Now there's something to squeak about! But don't make me mush up another banana!

Ba Ba Ba she mouths silently.
Mba Mba we keep thinking she's said something. And she does, constantly. With her actions, her smiles, her little satisfied sighs.

Then she drops another piece of food on the floor and the fun can start all over again.

Oh bliss.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Year Ago Today...

I've spent most of this year so far thinking "a year ago today..." and while it might not be exactly a year to the day -- it has been five months of looking back at last year when I was in NYC.
A year ago today, I started school was the first, and possibly most innocent thought that kicked it all off in January.

And a year later, here I am, days away from giving birth to my child whom I have carried since last year, whom I have watched grow inside me, as I too grew with him / her.

A year ago today, my brother and sister-in-law got married
A year ago today, I decided to stop drinking alcohol for a while
A year ago today, I started working with my very first proper client. No more "a little here, a little there."
A year ago today, I got another tattoo

So much can happen in a year. Funnily enough, this has turned out to be the first year we didn't move continents. It is the first year we're not on a plane every month, the first year we're just in one place -- even though it's London...

And bizarrely, though it's London I find myself in, I am quite enjoying being here. You miss so much when you're always moving. Like the characters that decorate your neighborhood, the acquaintances who become friends, the nuances of everyday life that the constant traveler has no time to pick up -- favorite places, people, rituals, habits that can only form in a specific place and time.

Who knows what I'll say a year from now as I look back on these days of waiting for my life to change. But in the mean time, I'm glad for the opportunity to take a moment and just be; for the first time in years, just live like most people do -- without a plane to catch and another life to chase.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sitting at home

I'm supposed to be on maternity leave, supposed to be meditating and thinking of new ways in which I can warmly, lovingly, wonderfully welcome my child into this world. And yet all I want to do is ... well, something else. I want to keep living my life as I have been, make use of this time to go to museums and the theatre, to the movies, on a run. But when you're this pregnant, even putting on your shoes can be a bit of a challenge.

So here I am, writing in this blog again, revisiting the journey that I thought had moved on from.

Do we ever? Move on, that is.

Of course we change and grow and find new interests and forget about old ones, but deep down, are we not the same person we were at age ten?

I think the jury is still undecided on that.

I read this morning that in order to be interesting, you need to be interested. As a ten-year-old, I remember being very specific about the things I wanted to know more about. That's pretty much still valid.

And what's incredibly exciting and scary is to think that this child I am getting ready to give birth to will be, to a certain extent, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with me. Maybe they'll love geography (shiver), or math (shudder), or economics (shock / horror).

Maybe they'll love hamburgers.

I used to love hamburgers. So people do change, you see?
Whose benefit I am stating this for, I'm not sure...

The funny thing isn't that I'm going crazy on day 2 of sitting at home; the funny thing is that I'm not doing anything all that different from what I normally do: spending my day at the computer, writing, while something is cooking away in the oven. The main change is that I'm not working on work, and I feel that this is not my choice.

Choice. It gives us the illusion that we are in control. It makes us feel that we are making the decisions while really, it is life that steers us, and the only choice we have is whether we will listen.

Am I ranting yet?
The sun is finally out in London and I'm rearing to go... somewhere... anywhere... Watch me waddle away, people.

Ok, I guess this will be my outlet for the next while, so I guess I'm back -- but isn't that The Point of This Being?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


It’s Earth Hour and I’m writing this by Candle Light. How appropriately romantic for a post titled “Inspiration.”

When I tell people I’m writing a novel, the conversation can go one of three ways. Some people just kind of go “oh wow” and then walk away, others tell me about their own projects. The third -- and my favorite possibility by far -- is when a really interesting conversation naturally grows out of my admission and the fact that I have, in reality, been wrestling with the damn thing for a good long while.

The most common question by far is about inspiration. People are always interested in where I get mine -- like my gogi berries or my raw cacao powder. The truth is that, unlike my food, which I am very careful about sourcing, I have no idea where ideas come from... Sometimes they find me, and others, I have to hunt them down.

D says the difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay is like easing yourself into a hot bath versus taking a shower. I’ve been in this bath tub for so long now that my fingers and toes have become wrinkled like raisins, but I can’t say I don’t love every second.

And as for inspiration…

For days, I had been looking for New York moments. Not that I don't have many of them banked already, but memories get old they get stale after being retold hundreds of times. The context of this particular quest is that one of my characters, in order to avoid her own set of issues, makes up stories about the people she sees around her. Rather than dredge up things I saw five years ago, I decided I wanted to go looking for new tidbits, see what came my way. I had been wandering around in search of “them”, but hadn’t really found anything beyond the usual array of kooks, drunks and fashionistas that are no longer interesting to me. Then, the other night, walking towards the subway in Greenwich Village after a very special evening with a classmate and new friend, they all came to find me, to let me know that they weren’t going to let me down – the colorful persons that dot and decorate the City, the moments that make this place what it is.

Thankfully, my Blackberry was working that night, and I typed up what was going on around me in real time, as it unfolded with the kind of perfection that can only come when one is looking for it:

(Note: I have minimally edited the text, corrected typos, etc. but, for the rest, this is what happened, as it took place around me and in my head on the night between Friday March 20th and Saturday, March 21st)

NYC 1 a.m.
I make my way from University Place to the subway. It's the middle of the night by all accounts. The transsexual asks me what time it is and whether she'll make it to Brooklyn in time.
"I hope so" I tell her honestly. It's 1 a.m. And if you’re on the subway, you're either sadly ending your evening like me, or just beginning, like her, in her bright yellow tank top, slugging her Redbull as she hums to herself.

I’d walked the three blocks to the train in a trance. It had been a lovely evening the way only NY nights can be. My new friend was charming, great company, and our "night cap" had turned into revelations so personal that had she not been as wonderful as she is, I would have been embarrassed. But this is not the UK, and definitely not LA, and she had been as open as I could have asked for, as kind and giving as one would hope for from a new friend. (And I don't use that term lightly)

We called the elevator from the hallway of the flat - it was that kind of place, the kind of place where the ceilings are exposed brick and the lift opens up into the living room - and as we waited, she showed me where she does her morning exercises: looking uptown at the Manhattan skyline. I had to laugh. Only in NYC. This is the NYC of my dreams, the one I aspire to, the easy nonchalance afforded by artistic endeavors gone right. D talks about LA that way, about the horizon that stretches on ad infinitum from the bird's eye view of his convertible B-mer that I'd affectionately dubbed "Henry" in tribute to my husband's background. For me it's about the landscaped pent-terrace on the 27th floor of a 10th street apartment, it's about the Wednesday Farmer's Market at Union Square, the religiously raw, vegan beauty of a menu that nonetheless offers the best Mojitos in town.

As I walked towards the subway, the sleeve of my raincoat slid against parallel worlds.

"Walk the fuck in there" a seventeen-year-old tells his terrified girlfriend, "act as if you've been there before, like you know everyone."
"But they kicked me out already" she pleads, her mascara forming a clumpy scar along the bridge of her nose.

A few doors down, a skinny-looking bitch cuts a rich-looking birthday cake as other cadavers look on, including one happy shmuck who is clearly going to be the only one actually getting some.

Two teenagers sneak out for a fag, "dude, I copped this shit for like five Euros. I'd like kill your family for this thing." The sweatshirt he’s referring to is black, hooded and that’s all there is to it.

I wonder which doorman will be working when I get back to the flat, the Jamaican man who loves to tease D about his terrible taste in British football teams, or the shorter, quieter man who takes his job so seriously that he once knocked on my door at ten minutes to midnight to make sure he delivered a package.

The transsexual keeps staring back at me as if I know when she'll get there. I want to tell her I don't know, so I half smile and shrug. "This is the way to Brooklyn?" She asks, twiddling her hair like I often do. I nod. Brooklyn, that bastard that I swore off so many years ago, that I have nevertheless been unable to forget. Though the changes have been inevitable, Brooklyn is still recognizable, just a more mature version of what it used to be. Like me, setting up shop in London, Brooklyn is different and the same, a four-bedroom house, still near enough as filled as a two-bedroom apartment, the student turned adjunct, the adjunct turned professor. We recognize each other, respect that certain something that will remain in the past.

Down between the tracks, large rats are taking advantage of the lull in subway traffic to scurry from one side to the other. One is fine - normal - but by the time I count five, and then six, it's become a little worrisome. What if they decided to make their way up to the platform? These rodents are enormous, like ardvarks or bears. Would us humans even stand a chance? Another one scurries boldly along the damn electrified bit. It seems in a hurry - I wish the trains were a little more so: in that way we can all learns from each other.

The other day I ran into an ex-boyfriend - a typical specimen of those strange old days: very cute, attractive, with an interesting job. But what a creature. Back then, he said that because we were together it was OK for him to read my mail. Even before anything had happened between us, he didn't close the door when he peed (forget putting the seat down). I'd told him it wasn't going to work. He'd called me a whore. Sore fucking loser. And then he did it again just the other day, after I told him I was married. Ha!

The past has a funny, tearjerking way of pulling you through that eye of the fucking needle. But only if you want it to.
"That was ---" I pointed out an old restaurant to D last time he was here. Now it's a store.

A woman sitting a few people down gets up to cross the platform. She's wearing beaten-up Adidas sneakers, simple jeans and a red sweatshirt. Her hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail as if she just woke up. She hauls a seemingly heavy purse over her shoulder. It's as shiny as the rest of her is plain: silvery flecks machine-woven in with black shimmer. Though she's going nowhere, apparently her bag has plans.

1:17 a.m. My friend, the transsexual won't make her plans. I hopped into a different carriage just in case.

My coconut water is getting warm in my eco-friendly bag that I carry around with me everywhere. By this point it's easier to daydream about tomorrow already, but first tonight has to come to an end. The train conductor gets on the loudspeaker to announce that "makshduevd-pleez-buduevfknxtehjlk-thank you". None of us -and the carriage is full - get a word, but it was so garbled that we don't bother to ask one another.

A second conductor, one who apparently speaks English, hurls "Hey! Listen up!| He demands that we switch trains. It's now half past, but for all the people getting on, grumbling and swearing, it may as well be rush hour. This is New York after all, and everyone has somewhere they need to be NOW, well past midnight, including my fresh Thai Coconut water that’s supposed to last me well into next week.


There's no train to switch to and nobody seems to give a damn, except for the guy with the remarkably long goatee who's looking around for a female consort to share in the community grief.

New York, where you recognize the tourists because they are the only people looking up. Even at 1:30 a.m. I love it. Even when the bitch in the Manolos clips in front of me as if she's late for fashion week (in Brooklyn?!?!), even when I freeze my ass off because nobody said it would snow on the first day of Spring, even when the train conductor tells us all to get onto the next train that is going in a whole other direction, even with bad wine at $18 a glass, it's New York, and like a younger sibling who can get away with murder, I forgive, forget, move on, masochistically loving, lovingly adoring, accepting, because that's just how it is in NYC.

The wrong train arrives and I ask the conductor whether it will be stopping at my stop. My words are slurred, not because I'm drunk but I'm so tired and my contacts seem to want to abort their visionary mission all of a sudden. Behind me, a British man who looks like everyone I've ever met in London - good-guy, brown hair, glasses - asks the same question as I just did and gets the same answer: "hrghuh". I step in just as the doors are closing. No need to sit down. It's just one - oh, two stops (really? Where the fuck am I?). And then, finally, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn’s Arc de Triomphe (if only because we're both celebrating the triumph of my arrival) is lit blue. The two blocks from the subway stop to the apartment seem exceptionally long. It’s 2 a.m. There are about thirty of us walking in roughly the same direction – more people than I saw in the street when I left the neighborhood twelve hours ago. A woman is talking to her dog, explaining why it should hurry up and go. The dog is looking at the blue mailbox with much more interest than should be legal. There is no doorman waiting for me, they’ve all gone home.

Some part of this will end up in my novel in one form or another. This is the rough material, which I will then mold into new bits and pieces, stories, characters, events that take place for my protagonist, a wide-eyed young woman living in -- duh! -- New York City. It will remain fiction, or rather, reality will percolate through the filter that takes fact and turns it into fiction.

One day I will be asked whether the story is based on my life, whether any of the characters are me, whether anyone in the novel is based on a person I have known. The answers to all of the above will be yes and no, definitely and not at all, completely and no way.

In the mean time, I slug away, hitting twenty thousand words, and then fifty, only to go back down to thirty, and so on. I believe it was Stephen King who said that the reason he sits at his desk at the exact same time every morning is so that if the muse decides to pay him a visit she’ll know where to find him.

I wish I had his discipline, but lacking that, I’m just grateful that when those golden moments present themselves, I’m hopefully awake enough, able to recognize them and get them down as fast as they happen.


The same goes for food. When an idea hits, it just does. It can come as a result of a conversation, from seeing a photograph or a painting, or in a dream. I no longer ask why some part of me needs to go buy fresh cranberries and mint; I just do it.

Inspiration is a the ornamental, beautiful part of intuition.

Below is a photograph of last week’s brainstorm: bean patties with blood orange salsa.

The recipe will follow as soon as it is share-worthy – because like with writing, it can sometimes take a few drafts...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dear Friends, Family and other beautiful souls I’ve encountered along the way –

As many of you know, earlier this year, I embarked on a career change. The study of Holistic Health Counselling is a lifelong pursuit, much like any other joys and passions in life. However, I am now ready to start seeing clients and so have decided to reach out to you all in the hopes of finding people who are interested in engaging my services.

What does a holistic health counsellor do?
Nourishment and health aren’t just about what you eat. A healthy person is a happy person, living a fulfilled life in their career, their relationships, their spiritual and physical practice. So while nutrition might be a starting point, it is by no means the only avenue tackled in the field of holistic nutrition. You can eat perfectly, but if you hate your job, chances are, you’re probably not the healthiest person around.

How is Holistic nutrition different from working with a dietician or a nutritionist?
Completely. Many people leave their dietician or nutritionist’s office more confused than they arrived. Though they get tons of advice, more often than not, people are unaware of what to do, and how to go about making the changes recommended. That is where I come in: by translating theory into practice with simple, easily implemented tips, I help make the transition to healthier choices empowering instead of terrifying.

Who do I work with?
I am focusing on individuals who, due to dietary, medical or personal reasons have had to remove certain foods from their diet and need help and support in figuring out how to successfully implement these changes. Life doesn’t have to end because you can no longer eat bread! As you know, I have been through this myself and am excited to share what I have learned -- we are so lucky in that these days, there are so many options available to us!

How does it work?
We start off with a free hour-long evaluation, after which I offer a six-month program for those interested in pursuing a deeper exploration into health, empowerment and wellbeing. Neither the initial consultation nor the program itself have to be done in person: I will be available over the phone as well as on Skype, so we don’t even need to be in the same country to conduct our sessions.

If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more, please contact me at
To celebrate the start of this wonderful endeavour, I will be offering a 10% discount to anyone who signs up for my six-month program before April 1st – just put “get the ball rolling” in the subject of your email.

Thank you for your friendship and love during this time and throughout this process.

In gratitude,

PS I am also in the process of creating a website – coming soon to a virtual world near you! I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, however, if you’re interested in finding out how I’m doing, keep checking
I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

8 a.m. March 2nd, 2009

Three days earlier....
The apartment looked like I’d turned my brain inside out and had emptied its full contents into an adorable one-bedroom in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. There were magazines and articles on food, health, healing and ethical business practices strewn everywhere. D was scheduled to arrive in an hour and I had no idea where to start.

His voice kept echoing in my head, something he’d said long ago, at the beginning of our relationship: “You don’t know what it’s like to be messy.”
Part of me wanted to leave the place exactly as it was, just to prove him wrong. But I couldn’t, I was physically unable to welcome him into such a mess.

I am working on my company launch, the novel – that old tortoise of a thing -- my counselling practice, and a sweet mystery product. Life is going fast, whizzing by quicker than a month did in my darkest depths of depression. Exciting opportunities keep tickling my feet; and the best ones smack me in the face around just about every corner (in a good way – I am constantly scribbling ideas and epiphanies down on random torn bits of paper, my hand, or fervently typing them into my blackberry).

And as I move forward, I find myself sated in a way that I haven’t been – possibly ever before. Whereas for years, I’ve been roaming around the kitchen aimlessly searching for something to satisfy my vague, indeterminate cravings, these days, a rich bowl of salad, topped with all kinds of goodies – nuts, beans, sprouts, herbs – will keep me going.

Of course some things are deeply ingrained – chocolate, for example, is neither about hunger, nor is it in any way removable from my daily routine. I crave chocolate at any time of the day -- it will pop into my head like a cartoon bubble…. fluffy dots leading to fluffy cloud, pop up picture of chocolate… But so what? These days, instead of admonishing myself for being weak, I allow myself the abandon of indulging in a square or two. Homemade, dark, raw, delicious, if I eat it after five or so, I’m up half the night. The power of goodness.

Remember those ads in the US in the late eighties / early nineties – the ones with the hot pan and the egg: this is your brain (cut to whole egg), this is your brain on drugs (splat, and the egg becomes somebody’s soft-boiled breakfast, glistening with fat and spattering on the high heat of the knob/heroin)? That’s kind of how I feel, sans drugs. I feel whole and healthy and the forward momentum is filling, gratifying, exciting.

And now D’s here. The morning he arrived, I was so nervous, I must have tried on every piece of clothing I brought with me to New York. He’s come for four days. And suddenly I’m not writing 1000 words on the novel, nor have I studied. As if D’s presence should be enough for me while the rest of my life is mere filler. I’m ecstatic and repressed, enjoying his presence and missing my headspace, fulfilled and frustrated at the same time. Walking around Brooklyn with him is exciting and inspiring and yet I’m also very aware that the next draft of my article is due in class Wednesday night, that I have another school weekend coming up and homework due, that four days away from the novel equals five thousand words at least…

Last year, I had these same thoughts when, after 10 weeks apart, D came to Bangkok. Suddenly, it wasn’t just me and a far-off, disconnected voice on the other end of the line. There was someone else to take into account. Granted, D is probably the most easy-going person in the world: as long as I let him voice his old-lady-like worries, he’s up for almost anything – still…

I remember that I wasn’t as excited at our reunion as he seemed to be. For the first few hours, he stared at me in what can only be described as adoring disbelief while I
wanted to run away.

D arrived Thursday night to a moderately tidy flat. Still, there ain’t a spy-thriller to be found. This is Brooklyn. It’s my turf, my interests, the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market on Saturday morning instead of hungover baked beans and rashers, the socialist food coop, not the socialites’ Fromagerie. And it’s the subway, not the tube that we take into The City, not Town.

I was pretty nervous. He’s loving it.

I pulled back. He pulled me close.

I made dinner. He devoured it.

And then it all fell back into place.

He decided to come to Brooklyn for four days, after we’d had the same fight for five days in a row. Not one long, ongoing argument. No, we had the same exact argument five days running. So D thought it might be a good idea to reconnect face to face.

There is something different about the person I decided to marry. It’s almost impossible to put into words. I mean, seriously, it’s not like he’s the only man I’ve ever dated, but with D, there is something that none of the others had. When I peel off our layers of baggage, family, career, fears, hurts, pain, issues, childhoods, etc, when it’s purely him in his rawest state and me in mine – naked as the day our souls came to be – we fit. Part of me wishes I could put it in more flowery terms, describe, embellish, but I don’t know how else to put it. It really is that simple.

So here he is, reading my Body + Soul magazine in the loo, drinking my dandelion shake in the morning and enjoying rice milk and agave in his rooibos tea. Tasting delicious life in Brooklyn together makes me think about when we met – going on five years ago now. I had left Brooklyn by then, and was living in a grotty studio in Midtown East, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Once I’d moved away from Brooklyn, I had fallen out of love with The City, but at the time, I couldn’t afford the rents, so instead I was looking for an out. When I met D, the timing couldn’t have been better and since neither of us was in the market for a long-distance relationship, it made sense for me to stay on the West Coast with him. Anything seemed better than Midtown East.

Thinking about the last five years, as D and I wander past Fifth and Carroll in Park Slope, how every decision I made got me right here, right now. In five years, I wonder where I’ll be standing as I reflect on this same exact thought, and how logical it will all seem then. Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street was where my first apartment was when I arrived in New York City in 1999.
Last week, with D a million miles away, I kept having to remind myself that I did leave Prospect Heights, that I wrote a novel in France, that I moved to Los Angeles, that we bought a house in West Hampstead, that D actually exists as a real person, not just an imaginary creation. I shop at the same places I did when I lived here almost a decade ago. La Taqueria, with its submarine torpedoes for Burritos, is still there as are a bunch of the coffee shops like the insufferable Ozzie’s and the overpriced bean-grinding place on 7th Avenue. The level of unhelpful attitude at the Coop is unchanged, and the Saturday flea market at PS321 still doesn’t have anything I could ever imagine wanting. But I am different. My life has little in common with the one I lived back then. I give D’s hand a little squeeze as we make our way to Bergen Bagels for the greatest hangover cure in history – that’s one thing that’s as relevant in 2009 as it was in 1999.

(though yes, it’s true, I can no longer take advantage of it)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Monster Vanquishing Day or is Lola secretly a spy?

Some people might think of today as Valentine’s Day, but seeing as I believe in celebrating my partner every day, I consider today a day to celebrate the monsters in my closet – one of which I set out to vanquish today.

So Happy Monster Vanquishing Day!

The monsters we create are everywhere – in the things we somehow convince ourselves we can’t do, in the phone calls we’re afraid to make, in the ways we stop ourselves from moving forward.

How many of those monsters are rooted in childhood, back when we were powerless to change our situation? How many of those monsters could be banished by simply facing them as adults?

When I decided to sublet the apartment I’m staying in, the lovely owner even took photographs of the laundry room for me. Then I saw where it was located… the basement is an industrial-looking utilitarian space with long, echoing hallways and identical-looking doors on all sides. There was no way I was going anywhere near the place. But I loved the apartment and there was a laundry drop-off just up the road.

I have a mild phobia of basements. It’s mild because I can actually go down there in a pinch without hyperventilating or passing out. In fact, most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell that my heart is pounding and that I am – for lack of a more elegant term – very very very afraid. I fear being stuck down there, that I won’t find my way out, that a monster will jump out from behind a corner with a machete.

Basements have all kinds of nooks and shady corners to them – they are where we hide our mess, where we put things we don’t often use, where the administrative bits of the house, meters and such, are usually located. The pipes are hidden down there, with spiders skating across their webs from room to room, and rats nesting, sovereigns of their subterranean kingdoms. The sounds are all clanky and creaky and eerie; in my opinion, every basement is haunted.

Having now spent a couple of weeks in this leech of a Big Apple, and seeing as how I am at least $20 poorer every time I leave the house -- How?! It’s one of those eternally unsolved mysteries -- making use of the laundry room has become a necessity rather than a question of appeal.

A few days ago, I woke up to the realization that I was out of clean knickers. I had procrastinated descending into the dark depths of the building for so long that I no longer had a choice… So down I trudged, commando.

Like that thank you note you know you have to write and yet it sits on the corner of your desk for a few days and then a week, month, before it’s simply way too late to send the damn thing – it’s become an insult rather than the grateful acknowledgement you intended it to be. Until you get the courage to hide the happy “Thank You!” under some books, or full-on throw it out (in the recycling bin, of course – it’s the least you can do!), it stares at you, wagging its finger in pregnant recrimination. You should have, you could have… And then one morning you’re clear out of underwear and socks and you have a meeting with a potential client or an old high school friend.


No, I don’t like basements.

But the real reason lies somewhere between imagination and perception.

Were there monsters? Of course not.

Was there anything to be afraid of? No, not really.

Not in my privileged middle-class life.

I’ll be the first to admit that there is no logic involved, though there is definitely rhyme as well as reason behind my childish fear: when I was little, and I mean tiny, we lived in a suburb of Chicago Illinois. I was probably around four years old. My father was not only in the closet at the time, he also spent most of his time at home locked away in the basement (and you wonder about my initial anxiety re: marriage…).

Down there, with the rats, he would indulge his love of DIY for days on end -- hammering, sawing and drilling away at God knows what. Every so often, he would call me down to his lair. I would hear his powerful voice wafting up through the floorboards in the dreaded summons. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with my father – on the contrary, I adored every single rare minute I got to spend with him – but descending those steps into the darkness of the basement was a waking nightmare in my little world.

Of course all these images might be the distorted memories of a child barely past toddler age, but as I remember it, the basement was a long, dark corridor that started at the top of the stairs and continued with garbage bags that made funny noises and shone as random rays of light hit them at odd angles, old suitcases filled with God knows what, and monsters on all sides. The walk from the entrance of the basement to the light at the end of the tunnel – literally – where my father was, seemed endless. Once I’d made it, a heart-thumping little bag of nerves, my father, standing by his workstation, screwdriver in hand, would have a go at me: “You do take your time! Next time, hurry up! I don’t have all day!”

The situation worsened when he took to hiding behind things and jumping out at me, grabbing me so hard that the few shallow breaths I had left would be forced out of my lungs like when a cat jumps on a balloon – “Boo!” He’d yell. Bam! I’d feel his hands clamp around my waist, encircling me so I had no way to escape. I remember wanting to scream but not being able to. It used to amuse my father no end, to hide in the darkness and see how many times in a row he could scare me. “Aw,” he’d chide when I’d start crying. Then he’d get mad; “she can’t take a joke,” he’d tell my mother, casting me off like a shirt he no longer had any use for.

The anticipation was the worst part. I walked towards the elevator in slo-mo, pressed the capital B button, with my elbow as my arms were full of almost every piece of clothing I own in this country. It took a few minutes to arrive but in my mind, I was already getting stuck down there, alone, lost, with no recourse and no one to save me from the monster/rapist who was waiting for his next innocent prey. I saw his eyes – crazy and piercing, animal-like, having long ago lost the capacity to see women like me as human.

When the elevator door opened, as I took those first few steps towards the laundry room, I felt my father hovering nearby, ready to jump out at me. I was transformed back into the terrified, shaking four-year old as I waited for a pipe to start making some kind of strange, scary noise, for something to loudly and suddenly clatter to the floor, for someone to grab me from behind. When nothing happened, I ventured further down the hallway with my heart on standby.

Between a lack of sufficient quarters which necessitated an extra trip, and the complicated transfer from washer to dryer, by the time I’d finished folding my last pair of clean socks and had stuffed them into the top drawer of the bedroom dresser, I had returned to my thirty-something self. The basement, a symbol of my four-year-old’s terror only hours before, had become … a basement.


There is little that compares to the joy I get from eating something prepared especially for me by someone I love. The few times D has cooked for me have – without exception – been some of my favourite meals ever. It is also a little known ancient remedy for combating monsters: nothing is stronger than feeling loved.

Whenever we go to my uncle and aunt’s house in Haifa, they make an incredible effort to prepare not only amazing mains that I can enjoy, but also sweet treats.

When my uncle made these brownies for the first time, I calmly ate one piece with everyone else and then later polished off the entire Tupperware he’d sent me home with in one sitting. Lola, my mother’s cat, sat next to me, watching, her blue-green eyes wide and accusing like a Weight Watchers' spy (hmmm....), as I calmly chewed each bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite after bite.

And lest anyone think these incredible brownies are only for those who eat like me; my happily omnivorous cousin (he doesn’t like raisins, but that’s about it) special-requested them for his birthday. What can I say? People can’t believe these brownies aren’t “real” – whatever that means.

Thank you Eric!

For so many things.

Including these brownies.

And for helping me battle those damn monsters!

(and thank you for letting me post your recipe!)

Uncle Eric’s Brownies a la GG

1/2 cup pure cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups rice flakes*
1 cup agave
1 bag baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs

mix the dry ingredients well.
beat the eggs and oil well.
add the dry ingredients gradually until an even batter is achieved.

oil a medium-sized baking pan and spread the batter evenly

bake at 170 degrees for not more than 30 minutes (25 for a more fudgy result)

*I soak them for about half an hour in some water to soften them up

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New York...

My friend's living room where I stayed for a few days before my sublet kicked in -- I love it, I love her, I love New York

Bukowski, the cat

Thank God Bu's team won the Superbowl -- he had the sweater and everything!

Grammercy Park in the snow

(didn't stop Manhattan for a second!)

Be careful what you wish for…

It keeps going round in my head, like unwanted advice from a tribal elder. But in typical twenty-first century fashion, this is not coming from my grandmother or my mother, or even a magazine. This one’s all in my head.

For the past five years, I’ve wanted nothing more than to spend some serious time in New York City again. Ever since I left I’ve been talking about going back. In fact, before I met D, I had already attempted the move once: in late 2003, I piled most of my belongings onto the stoop in front of the brownstone I’d been living in since 2000, and sold almost everything -- including silverware and even used art supplies. Two weeks later, I boarded a flight to London where I was finally going to get down to writing. However, within two months, I was back in New York, with a bad novel under my belt and a hunger for downtown growling in my stomach.
“It wasn’t for me,” I told people at the time, “I’ve never liked London”.

Neither of these statements turned out to be true, ultimately, but then again, every place pleasantly morphs when you’re living there with a lovely, kind, caring husband, rather than at your psychotic father’s house being bossed around twenty-four-seven.

But I digress…

Cut to January 2009. I’m writing this on the plane from Heathrow to JFK. I believe we are currently over Iceland, or somewhere like that. My three bags are crammed so full of clothing and books (including my own novel) that my closet in London is virtually empty. I am on my way to spend six months in New York – not just New York, Prospect Heights, my old neighbourhood where I spent the better part of my five years in The City.

I’m going to be two blocks from Prospect Park, I know the stores, the coffee shops, the subway lines, the yoga studios (I took my very first class there, actually. I hated it – the women were all super slim, fit and everyone seemed to know one another. This was before the term “yummy mummy” was coined but let me state for the record that Park Slope could give Primrose Hill quite a run for its money!). My friends – the people I knew before D and I got together – are sprinkled throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, like sweet sweet toppings on an already delicious dessert.

I couldn’t wish for more…

Yes, I could: D won’t be there with me.

I’m going all this way, starting down a path I’ve desired for so long, living in the place I’ve coveted since I left … I wished for New York … but this isn’t the way I would have chosen to go back.

When we originally conceived the idea, he was going to come spend good chunks of time with me: a week here, two weeks there, maybe even a month at some point.

Everything changed when another one of my wishes was granted – one that D very much shares with me.

As a Wandering Jew, as a woman who claims to have moved more times than years I’ve been alive (this is true, by the way), the one thing I have always wanted has been to set down roots, find a little house with a garden, make it mine to work in, to plant herbs and vegetables in the back, to throw dinner parties on a long table … a home in which to raise children.

And now, as I plan my departure, there’s some kind of weird, manic genie granting me wishes with a grand old sense of humour -- I have my wish.

Ten days ago, the house became ours.

It wasn’t meant to happen like that.

D engages in what I refer to as real-estate porn. He’s constantly looking at houses – sometimes in London, sometimes in the Maldives; always with a view to settle down. After all, he too has wandered, and he too would like nothing more than to find that one place he can call home, start a family, have an office where he can hide out when deadlines come crashing down, or we’re having an argument.

In an attempt to curb the more unrealistic side of my husband’s house fetish, I requested that he only show me truly feasible houses. No castles in the Cotswolds or villas in Spain. London, New York, Ojai (on my more forgiving days), affordable, accessible – nothing else.

We’d been looking here and there, but hadn’t pursued anything actively; so when he showed me the specs for the four-bedroom house in our area, I said what I always say when I’m trying to gage his level of seriousness: “should we go see it?”

My challenge with these things is not to get excited – real estate is supposed to be an unemotional affair, after all. By the time we got to the first sand-blasted radiator, I was a goner.

It was perfect.

Except that it was the third of December and on January 15th, I was leaving for six months in New York.

But how could I put the rest of my life on hold while I went to reinvent myself a million miles away? And was I really going to come back from six months on my own to our shared two-by-four-sized office?

We decided to go for it.

As a result, last week I moved twice: once up the road in London and once halfway around the world to New York.

This morning, when I made breakfast in our gorgeous new kitchen, D and I sat at the table instead of at our desks. We each have our own offices now, and the television is in a whole other room, separate from the dining area. For his fortieth, D’s getting a piano, because he can – we have the space. We’re going to have a proper cabinet built for our clothing, so we can actually fit it all into one place and, best of all, my grandmother’s bed – the largest in the world – will be reassembled. No more mattress on the floor, it’s going to be a “proper timber” (as the carpenter said yesterday) place to lay our heads.

At some point, we’ll get rid of the trois-couleurs-lilac in the bedroom, the headache-orange accent-wall in the kitchen, the pastel blue hallways, the fire-engine red corner of the living room. The house felt ours within a matter of minutes, now we just need to paint it to match.

I never thought…

I didn’t know…

There are so many things to be grateful for, so many wonderful changes in our lives, and it’s all happening now, simultaneously. It’s been stressful, tiring, I even found myself grumbling about it all. Then I caught myself: how can I complain about getting what I wished for?


The reason for my trip to New York is that I am studying to be a Holistic Health Counsellor. The studies themselves are fascinating and I can’t wait to get started down this new road. What has me in (private, silent) peals of laughter, surprisingly, is kale. Kale, that leafy green vegetable people either love to hate or loudly, resolutely, passionately embrace.

It turns out that Kale is to nutrition what the hammer and sickle are to communism. Every speaker so far has mentioned kale – either as proof of health or proof that they have not lost touch with the masses. Kale is the ultimate symbol of health or the rejection thereof. Kale says “I’m healthy, because I want to be” and it says, “fuck this, I want to enjoy life before I die.” Kale is a kind of (green) red flag -- as if once it’s been consumed for pleasure, you can never go back.

“I don’t just eat kale” a woman speaker said this weekend, “but I do make a point of including it as often as I possibly can.”

“Of course I love kale, but I also love pizza,” was a motivational speaker’s admission that though he doesn’t look it, he is, in fact, imperfect.

“Don’t go out there and try to get everyone to eat kale overnight,” was the marketing lecturer’s advice.


I was at the Santa Monica farmer’s market once, grabbing, as fate may have it, a bunch of kale. A woman leaned towards me:
“I know I should eat kale,” she said, “but I have no idea what to do with it.”
When I looked up to answer her, I realized it was one of the doctors from ER – the one who limps and walks with a cane. Though she obviously only plays one on TV, it was still a great rush – LA is fabulous for those kinds of moments.

In reality it’s not all that bad. It’s just green and leafy but these days kale is almost a political statement.

The irony is that kale is so simple, so easy to prepare, it’s less of a hassle than most any other food.

Pizza, for example, the poster child for junk food, takes layers of work – from the crust to the toppings, there’s so much prep involved that most everyone gets it delivered rather than futsing around for hours in the kitchen.

It’s miles away from kale. Good old, simple, kale, where less is more and ruffles are always in.

My current favourite way to make kale is to simply chop it roughly, add some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and then boil it for a few moments in an inch or so of water using a wide, shallow pan, until the leaves start to wilt. To serve, I merely drain the excess water (which I sometimes drink as it is chock-full of nutrients – though that is by no means a must).
Kale is a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken, grilled fish, or our winter favourite: roasted sweet potato wedges and hummus.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Simply Simple

A new year has started.

We’re back from a thirty-five-man strong New Year’s celebration in freezing, boozy Devon.

I have the flu.

In Israel, they’re playing yet another round of mine’s bigger than yours. Though I don’t hear the missiles or physically feel the attacks, they resonate within me. I can not believe the level barbarism. Why can’t these two warm, kind, giving peoples who share such a tiny piece of land learn from previous mistakes? Israel strives to be perceived as a first world country, and yet its tactics towards the Palestinians are primitive and tribal. My heart goes out to those in Sderot and Ashkelon, those whose homes have been destroyed, those who have been injured, those who have lost loved ones. But how can anybody believe that the aggression currently going on will achieve anything over the long-term other than a deepening of existing wounds?

In America, they are preparing to oust the clown of all clowns and hail a new era, a new chief, a new hope. Finally. I can’t believe I’ll be there on inauguration day or that I won’t live there to experience the changes first-hand. Still, I’m amazed at how much hope I garner from afar. I guess us mutts have more faith in one another than in those spawned from the clear-cut, vanilla majority that makes up the western world.

Back in London, on day-to-day earth, we’re in the process of buying a house and selling a flat. My flight to New York departs in (according to Virgin Atlantic) 6 days, 17 hours and 26 minutes. In that time, I need to pack up all our stuff – all of it – except what D will need for the five days until I return to London next week to move us in to the new house after which I do another 180 and head back to New York until April.

A year ends, a new one begins, and we find ourselves falling into the same pattern as we have so many times before: first there’s the round-up of best ofs, biggest, most, followed by another blitz of will-bes and look-out-fors. There’s the slew of articles about making resolutions; and then another round about how soon we will break them -- and by the very same people. The papers need to write about it, the news need to report about it, and we, addicted, need to keep watching -- because honey, let’s face it, you’ll never have those damn abs.

We live our lives in defiance of its natural cycles -- winter to summer, day to night, childhood to old-age – and we wonder why we can’t seem to weigh what we should, sleep as much as we need to, fit in everything on our to-do list before…

Before what?

It’s mass hysteria. Now that the Christmas decorations are coming down, it’s time to ring in the Easter Bunny!

For my part, after the madness, I’m trying to focus on the little things, pair down, simplify.

What a year it was -- definitely.

And what a year it will surely be.

I won’t forget the huge times – the travels, the wedding. Those are easy to remember. But what about the tiny changes, the little things learned, found, discovered?

My first taste of fresh coconut water.

The Diva Moon Cup.

Learning how to chop an onion into smaller pieces than I ever thought possible.

Watching a thunderstorm above Bangkok from our hotel room, D’s arms around me after ten weeks spent apart.

Handing SB a tub of the best hummus in the world in the old city of Jerusalem; walking up the snake path to Massada at sunrise with AN.

Watching my friend’s seven-year-old stumble out of their tent in the morning and thinking of the first time I held her when she was two days old.

Sitting at my mother’s, drinking a cup of tea at seven in the morning or two in the afternoon, or whenever we felt like it.

My first bite of bread in four years.

Looking around the table on a Friday night in Haifa, and enjoying the laughter.

Cashmere leggings.

My grandmother’s face when she saw me in my wedding dress.

Driving around Koh Pan Ngan on my little pink scooter, the stars bright above me, wanting to scream with delight.

Taking a yoga class with a view of the jungle.

My mother opening her "big sock" on Christmas Day

Roasting my first chicken.

Watching a wonderful, special, great friend I thought I had lost forever stride towards me in her black and silver trucker cap and enjoying the feeling of reconnecting again -- totally, completely, immediately.

Finding a wine I’d been looking for since I first tasted it six years ago at a bar in New York that was so small the address was only half a number.

It’s easy to concentrate on the life-changing events, the **TA-DA!** moments. The trick, for me, is to remember not to brush past the little things. At the wedding, my mother spoke about the rocks we will find on our way. And that is exactly it: it is only by going from pebble to pebble that I can make my way from one big rock to the next. And my challenge is to engage, to appreciate each pebble instead of focusing solely on the boulders.

2009 has technically started. Every day, another day in January passes, but still, I find myself in a holding pattern. For the house. For the flat. For the New York portion of this year. For the warmer weather. For my brother’s wedding. For the insanity to stop in the Middle East. For D’s fortieth birthday.

It would be so easy to keep waiting for the big changes, the things I won’t forget, no matter what. As I prepare to leave again, I am more aware than ever, of sharing dinner with D, clinking our plates together as others do their wine glasses, of the few rays of sun shining today through the dark, heavy sky, of the never-ending stream of newborns at our local coffee shop, of the pictures of our wedding that we’ve stuck in every corner imaginable, of how much I enjoy our kitchen in this little flat, with the one blue wall, that will soon be someone else’s.

Happy New Year, Loved Ones. May the coming months bring joy and health, and inspiration and so much fun!

I leave for New York in 6 days, 14 hours and 54 minutes….


Like with everything else, in my cooking, I am trying to simplify. I’ve put on just over a stone, sixteen pounds, almost seven-and-a-half kilos. The time has come to stop drinking and start assessing. This time, however, with my upcoming holistic nutrition course in mind, and without the luxury of California living, I plan to manage my weight the healthy way.

Snacks, always a challenge, are first on that list. When you’re me, you can’t just waft into the nearest kiosk and pick up a candy or granola bar when the fancy strikes. I have to make my own and am forever searching for tasty, handy little tide-me-overs.

I’ll start with the sweet:

After baking truckloads of pumpkin breads, brownies and chocolate cakes over the holiday season, I need to wean myself off sugar again as candida has, once again, reared its nasty little ball-of-wax-head. However, I don’t yet want to say goodbye altogether and so I’ve put together an easy recipe for healthier but still sweet energy bars.
(note: they earned a full-mouthed “OHMYGAWD” from D. We ate three each while they were still-warm – I have no idea how I’ve gained all these extra pounds…)

Gluten-Free Energy Bars

1C brown rice flakes
1 ½ C water
½ C coconut flour
1/3 C whole flax seeds (ground)
7 prunes soaked and pureed
½ C each: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, raisins
½ t cinnamon
¼ C molasses
coconut butter for oiling the pan

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade (about 350 Fahrenheit)

Add the water to the brown rice flakes and let sit for about half an hour, until most of the water has been soaked up. Then add the coconut flour. Mix well.
Pour the molasses in bit by bit, making sure it is dispersed throughout the mixture.
Then add the prunes, cinnamon and the flax seeds, mixing well.
Once the “dough” is even, add the seeds, nuts and raisins. Once again, make sure they are uniformly distributed within the mass.

Spread evenly in a pre-oiled pan

Bake for about thirty-five minutes.

Once they’d cooled down, I cut the bars into squares and packed them individually so D and I can slip one into our bags on our way out the door in the mornings.

And now the savoury. This is the tricky one. As snacks, savoury things are usually greasy, heavy, overly salted, dehydrated, dehydrating or all of the above. My sweet tooth being the size that it is, it’s usually with the in-betweens that I find the most satisfaction – a piece of fruit, an energy bar, etc. But things being what they are right now, and what with aspiring to fit into my trousers at some point in the near future, I’ve been hard-pressed to come up with something…
Here’s my first shot.
It’s decent but not superb:

Yellow Split-Pea Nori Rolls

For the split-pea dahl --

2 cups dried yellow split-peas
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T coconut butter
1 T garam masala
a pinch of cayenne (to taste)
¼ - ½ t turmeric (to taste)
tons of water

In a pot, melt the coconut butter. Add the garam masala and allow the spices to rise in the oil. Then, add the onion and sauté for a few moments. The garlic should go into the pot once the onions are starting to become translucent (the spices might make this more of a guessing exercise than scientifically precise).
Allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes.
Add the split-peas and mix with the onions and the garlic until they are well-coated with the spices. Cover with four cups of water.
Raise the flame and bring to a boil.
Once the water is properly bubbling, lower the flame. Allow to simmer until all the water is soaked up. Then add more water, enough to cover and go through the process again. Do this until the split-peas are broken down and soft. This can take a couple of hours. Check often, stir, add as much water as necessary.

Note: Do not add salt until the very end. At this point, also add the cayenne and turmeric to taste.

This mixture is wonderful to add to rice, eat with green vegetables or avocado. I divided the portion into two: one we had for dinner with salmon, the I used to make the nori rolls.

Once the dahl has cooled, in order to reheat, water will need to be added.

To make the Nori Rolls --
5 sheets of nori seaweed. Both toasted and non-toasted are available. I prefer the non-toasted kind, purely because of my appreciation of raw food, but this is not necessary. I look for the kind with no salt added as there is enough in the nori as is.
A portion of yellow split-pea dahl
A small container of drinkable water

Cut the nori sheets into portion sizes. In my case, each sheet was divided into four more or less equal parts.

Spoon a Tablespoon or so onto each nori square.

Fashion in a log-like shape. Roll the nori loosely around the dahl. To close the roll, dip a finger into the water and run along the edge of the nori. Press together.

I dehydrated the nori rolls for about a hour to dry out the wet parts, but this can also be done in the oven on a very low heat. (this is comparable to blow-drying a wet patch on a shirt)

When I take it with me, because the seaweed can become sort of chewy when wet, and the dahl can dry up a little, I like to bring a carrot with me as a water-filled accompaniment, or add a side-salad if I’m in a place where that is an option.

I am, however, still on the look out for any other snack ideas….

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the comfort of curry and other reasons it's all in your head

As the holidays crash down on us with the same force as the economy, I have decided to declare December National Hangover Month in the UK. It seems everywhere people are complaining about the day-after-blues before heading out to their next “do” where they lusciously intend to partake in another lovely round of more of the same.

In my kitchen, there’s a lot going on: a lot of brainstorming, preparation, much chopping, a taste here, a spoonful there. I’m so full and Christmas is still a couple of days away…

Somehow, in my mini microcosm, there is a myth that I don’t indulge or succumb to the same weaknesses as others... People are forever telling me that they feel bad, that their bodies must be intolerant to some food or another, but that they can’t be bothered to figure it out.
“I don’t have your willpower” is what I hear most often.

I disagree. Mostly because when it comes to willpower, almost anything can make me lose control -- from roast chicken to chocolate cake – I’ve been known to eat myself silly on foods that are considered good, safe, allowed, like hummus or almonds or raspberries. Because as I have too often been reminded from personal experience:even so-called healthy foods transform into damaging ones when overeaten.

In the end it’s about what makes us feel good. And if something makes you feel bad enough, you’ll stop loving it as much. Do I miss bread? Oh God yes. Do I yearn for cheese? Mmmm -- the stinkier, the better. Am I willing to put up with being in bed for three days afterwards, my eyes swollen to the size of golf balls, my stomach cramping and unbearably hard, my head throbbing like a never-ending whiskey hangover?

Nothing is worth losing that much time over, not even the greatest of Stinking Bishops.

A few days ago, we went round to friends for tea. They had baked sweet, gorgeous walnut banana bread – a beautiful blond loaf of goodness that smelled divine and, judging from D’s three slices, tasted even better. (As I eat vicariously through him at times like these, three slices sound about right). Even though our friends apologized for not having baked something I could eat, and even though I honestly assured them that I expected nothing of the sort and that it was fine – which it really and truly was – by the time we got home, I was in the mood to indulge.

So we ordered curry.

I love curry.

Honestly, London has many faults, but it almost makes up for them with its curries. This specific place is South Indian, so most cooking is done with coconut rather than Ghee*. In my opinion, there’s nothing like the creamy, pungent spice of a great curry on a cold, dark night. I usually get mine with a paper dosha, a very thin, flat, savoury pancake made of rice flour. It sops up the curry sauce like paper towel does spilled milk. Though I haven’t yet perfected the left-handed mop as is customary in Kerala, with the help of a spoon, the combination of spicy coconut chutney and sambar, a lentil and vegetable side masala, are divine.

Since we returned from the wedding, I have put on one stone. A whole stone, fourteen pounds, almost six-and-a-half kilograms. Sure, there’s the fact that I ate a cupcake a day in New York, and then there’s the whole hypothyroid thing. But come on, a couple of weeks of baked goods and a little T4 slo-mo can’t possibly be that bad, can it? Still, it seems those extra bulges want to stay put. As the holidays approach, I have gone from acceptance to desperation and back again; with the hiccups of the purchase and sale of abodes kicking my comfort-eating mechanisms into high gear.

I have never dieted in my life. I have spent my entire life on a diet.

Both of those sentences are completely correct. In translation: while I have never followed any of the fads – Atkins, The Zone, etc – I don’t think I have ever put a bite of food in my mouth without attempting to calculate the calories and / or effect said morsel would have on the scales.

So what to do?

Last week, I figured out that the only ingredient I have added back since the wedding has been flour. Not the usual whole wheat versus white flour. In my life, it’s brown rice flour, chickpea flour, sometimes (rarely) corn flour – which is why I had been eating it every single day: since it wasn’t wheat, I had somehow decided that it didn’t count.

But I have discovered this week that flour is flour is flour. The way I did it was to remove it from my diet. Not forever, not even for a week. I did not eat flour for five days. Tuesday to Saturday. Just to see what would happen.

The change was remarkable.

I should be used to this by now, having banished and reinstated so many foods over the years. But I’m not, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. Doing such a simple test is like taking a black pen to a clear, white board, and drawing an endless loop right smack in the middle, starting small and going bigger and bigger – the repercussions of one small decision reverberating into so many others -- or the opposite, going from large, loopy lines and ending up in a single, simple point.

Which is what this is: a single, very simple point.

Within about forty-eight hours of removing flour, I felt as if someone had stuck a pin in me, let out the bloat, like air from a balloon. The doughy feeling was gone, as was the sag in my face. I woke up in the morning with enough energy to do the basic yoga stretches that I had become too lazy to do over the past couple of months.

Again, I’m surprised at how surprised I am. But mostly, I’m surprised at how quickly I forgot.

In the past, this would have been cause to strictly remove all flour, dough, batter from my life forever. But not this time.

Last night, nothing could have warmed my belly, or comforted my aching soul as much as that curry. This morning, I’m feeling the weight of the paper dosha, heavy with aromatic herbs and coconut milk. The stretches didn’t happen when I woke up around eleven – an inconceivable hour when I’m at my usual energy levels.

I feel it in every part of me, from my fingers, which are bloated and stiff (of course the salt-content didn’t do me any favours), to my distended belly, to my cheeks and neck, slackened like my brain.

Does this mean I’ll never eat curry again, that the paper dosha will be relegated to my already overextended list of foods I don’t eat in an attempt to feel, look and live better?


Even with all the after-effects, it was still a wonderful meal. I felt happy and sated afterwards, and I enjoyed watching a movie with my wonderful husband. The truth is that although it didn’t help in the long run, the curry didn’t hurt so much either. I’m up and about today, and almost, if not fully functioning. And it served a whole other purpose, nourished many different parts of my being, parts that aren’t any less important than my grumbling belly.

Next time, however, I’ll go into it with more information, open eyes, ready to complain the next day even before I place my order.

How I love a good curry.

* Ghee is clarified butter so out of bounds.

Chicken Masala:
(serves 2 good eaters with leftovers)
* 1 T chicken masala (this is a mixture of herbs including chili, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, clove, mace and fenugreek. I brought half a kilo back with me from India)
* 1 T coconut butter
* coconut milk
* 3 small onions or 1 -2 large ones chopped coarsely
* 2 T sugar-free tomato sauce (preferably one that is comprised of just tomatoes)
* 1 t orange blossom water
* Small handful of raisins
* 3 tomatoes
* 2 chicken breasts, cut into roughly even chunks

In a pot, melt the coconut butter.
Once it is melted, add 1 T chicken masala mix (add more or less, depending on level of spice desired - this mixture is quite spicy)
When the spices start to rise to the surface of the hot oil, add the onions.
Lower the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes (add a little coconut milk if needed). Then add the tomato sauce, the rest of the coconut milk and then the orange blossom water.
Raise the flame and bring to a boil.
Lower the flame to a simmer.
As the mixture is simmering, add the tomatoes and the raisins -- this is to taste: tomatoes help make the dish less spicy and raisins add a touch of sweetness.
Throw the chicken pieces in. Stir them in well and raise the heat a touch if necessary so the mixture is properly boiling again. The chicken should be ready within 10-12 minutes.
(would probably be great with a little chive yoghurt to counter the spice, but very much optional)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something For Everyone

I love Christmas, mostly, I think, because I didn’t grow up with it. I have no bad memories, no traumas of tedious neighbours with terrible carolling voices or trees catching fire. Christmas, for me, has no traditions that require upholding, no Things We Do despite the fact that everyone has outgrown them.

No, all of those sentiments in my life are reserved for the customs practiced by the “Chosen People,” of which I am one. The Jewish Holidays are numerous and filled to bursting with generations of baggage strapped to my back like the memory-mule I sometimes feel I am.

Passover, with the endless wait to eat cardboard-like “bread” (Matzo) and then, finally, the gritty dumplings in tasteless broth; Rosh Hashana with its fish-head staring at you to remind you to start the year at the front, not the back (as if we need reminding to start at the beginning!); Yom Kippur, the day we supposedly atone for our sins but which we instead spend dreaming of food.

For me, Christmas has none of that.

Though I did grow up in a Catholic country (Belgium), I was for the most part unaware of St Nick et al, other than the very basics that is - the white beard, etc. - which are hard to miss. I have no recollection of any of the things I have come to look forward to as a newly minted, Christmas-celebrating adult. Our little ten-block Jewish microcosm was instead inundated with potato pancakes, dreidels and songs about another miracle for the Jews (Superpower, 0, Poor Little Minority, 1 more). Hanukkah was better than Christmas, we were told each December, because at Hanukkah children received one present every night for eight days, while Christmas was only one.

Now that I have had a couple of decades to reflect on this, it has become apparent that, environmental and waste issues aside, while it is factually true that Hanukkah lasts longer, often one well-considered prezzie is so much more enjoyable than eight throwaway trinkets. D and I have been breaking our heads for weeks now about what to buy for our loved ones. The goal is quite straightforward: budget, appropriate, something they wouldn’t necessarily get for themselves but would like to if they had extra cash lying around. Because what’s the point of purchasing unwanted, superfluous crap? I have to admit, the whole process can a bit nerve-wracking.

A year ago, at the penultimate minute, it was decided that we would be hosting Christmas. The only thing we had done in advance was put up fairy lights (the English and their sparkly little bulbs - D goes mad for them). We ordered the very last goose the farmer had in stock, and bought our tree when there were only a few left. The ornaments came from the final reductions bowl at the tree place, fifty-cent snowmen scavenged and saved in the moments before Christmas truly descended and the country shut down.

D’s parents flew down to London. We cooked (of course), we stuffed stockings, we ate too much and drank great wine. We went to a musical on Boxing Day and made plans for how wonderful the coming year was going to be, how often we would be getting together - last year, a lot of our conversations were also focused on the wedding... At that point it still seemed miles away.

Now here we are again, the wedding has passed and we’re back to where we were at this time twelve months ago: preparing to stuff – birds, oversized socks, and ourselves – tear open gifts, profusely thank one another and revel in options like midnight mass and mulled wine.

For me, it’s all fun. None of it means much, no matter how hard I try to attach some kind of symbolism to it. It’s merely another excuse to all get together, whomever all is that day, week, occasion. But there are no potato latkes, no candles in our window – unless you count those horrible bloody fairy-lights. I am unfamiliar with the songs people sing, and, unlike in my heritage, there is no chocolate money to be made from spinning a four-sided-spinning-top. Christmas is completely void of history for me. Still, I go along with it; I allow myself to get swept up in the frenzy and the plans, the must-dos, must-haves, the must-remembers. It is all part of my life now; and what I have been too lazy to do in terms of my own heritage – celebrate the Jewish Holidays -- I instead do for my husband’s (how I love saying that word and mentally superimposing D’s head above it!).

Once upon a time, traditions, rituals, celebrations held much more meaning. Winter solstice marked the true beginning of hibernation season, while summer solstice indicated the time for crops and coming out of our caves had arrived. We lived by the seasons, and cornerstone moments were observed – the ascent into adulthood, the naming of newborns – by well-known, well-worn traditions, celebrations and rituals that marked a next phase or a big change. What have, too often, become little more than another excuse to spend money, were once filled with meanings that we have, by now, long-since forgotten.

While organizing the wedding, I came across so many of those: for example, the question of whether to splash out on a traditional wedding cake, is one that has caused many a tense moment between couples. Let’s, for now, forget that the mere mention of the word wedding is enough to add at least one zero to any price tag; how many of us actually know why a “REAL” wedding cake is tiered? Costing hundreds if not thousands, the difference between a regular cake and a wedding cake is usually little more than height-related. The reason, I discovered, is that way back when, the layering symbolized the happy couple’s wealth. Rich people would often have to climb ladders to get to the top of their cake, proof that they (or whomever had paid for the do) had no money concerns. A few years ago, a friend of mine on an extremely tight budget actually calculated that it would be at least one-third cheaper to purchase different sized cakes and stack them herself (not to mention that if you are the one making the icing, you’ll also be the one who gets to lick the bowl!). Relatively speaking, the wedding cake is often one of the major expenses. Still, so many couples go for it so they can be photographed slicing that first piece together, both newlywed hands on the same knife, feeding one another a misaimed glob, the icing deposited on their noses. While money may be a factor in the decision about whether the cake should have three tiers or seventeen, I’m pretty sure nobody thinks about it as an indication of prosperity anymore.

For the past four years, every September, I have announced that next year I will celebrate Rosh Hashana, I will fast for Yom Kippur. Every spring, I have regretted not having attended a Seder, dull as they can be. Hanukkah I can take or leave; it’s a children’s holiday and we don’t have any yet. Still, I remember the candles in the windowsills fondly, and hope to one day light my own, adding one every night, singing about the “big miracle that took place over there”, in Israel.

Instead, for the past four years, we have celebrated Christmas, and it has been a big deal. Every year has been different – we have been in Canada and Bristol, amidst snow-covered valleys and under pouring rain -- with a few, recurring threads reminding us that it’s Christmas again: a tree, lights, sales, presents, food, complaints about the cold, non-sarcastic mentions of Santa. Throughout December, we have agonized over what to get each member of the family, and which friends we should include on that list. We have sat in a hotel room watching D’s niece tearing open her two suitcases of prezzies, and woken up in my brother’s home to exchange gifts in our pyjamas. Last year, when I decided to start taking this crazy blogging adventure seriously, it was with a post about our first Christmas held at home.

But how do you create, recreate, instigate traditions?

D and I went through those questions before the wedding, and we continue to do so. There’s the Jewish customs versus the Scottish ones, the Latin and the English, the Shabbat dinners and the baptisms, the Hebrew songs and the eighties ballads. When discussing our options, we do our best to avoid the dramatic declarations -- “no child of mine…” or “not in my house!” D is better at holding back than I am. I blame the fear mentality of being born into a minority (and a historically persecuted one at that).

How do you create your own traditions when there are so many in existence already – some that you would like to incorporate, others that you would prefer to ignore? How do you decide which to keep and which to skip? How do you choose? How do you separate those you feel guilted into from those you actually desire?

D and I have learned that with us, it’s better to start small. He doesn’t like new things, and I’m obsessed with not getting stuck in old ones just because they’re old.

Food is a good middle ground for us: I cook, he critiques, I wash up, he dries. We take comfort in dishes that start out as meals and become symbols; new parts of the unspoken language two people create when they choose to mesh their lives; something for the two of us, and the new family we are creating. Sometimes it’s about giving in, other times we accept and support – with a look, an inside joke, dinner prepared just so.

Last Wednesday afternoon, the sound of his voice tipped me off about what I would be making that night.
“Sweet potato fries,” he sighed, when I handed him the plate, “I can’t think of anything I would rather put in my body right now.”
It had been a rough day amidst a cluster of especially taxing ones. The personal was heaped on to the professional, which was trying its damndest to stifle the inspirational. My baked sweet potato wedges, slow-roasted with fresh herbs offer more comfort than chocolate cake in these dark, wet months, and I have found myself making them more often than my ever-conscious calorie-counting self would normally permit. But right now, their benefits outweigh their status as high-starch - read: fattening and therefore better to avoid - vegetables. As roots, sweet potatoes ground us; their sweetness satisfies our cravings, and the warm, baked slices, are perfect to make us feel just a bit naughty, like children allowed French fries.
Sometimes there is nothing I can say to make things better. But it’s great to discover small gestures that can make a big difference, if only for the duration of dinner.

And then there are the accidental traditions, created like a great piece of improvisational theatre. A couple of Fridays ago, we were having some friends over for Shabbat dinner and I wanted them to get a proper taste of my food -- the kind that I eat -- which is so far removed from their customary fare. I made chickpea flatbreads. They came out wonderfully crunchy on the outside, warm and chewy in the centre, infused with rich, black olives, peppery fresh sage and pungent garlic. D pronounced them “Oh My God” delicious and I made sure there would be enough of them left over to really pamper him. Because he rarely indulges in pizza, I decided to recreate this favourite of his in my own, gluten-free way.

The thing about inventing new versions of beloved staples is that we have to accept that they will never be the same: different ingredients produce different results. With enough of an open mind, however, chickpea pizza night can be as delicious and feel as decadent as the versions we all grew up with.

OK, so it wasn’t exactly “Check the door, it’s dominoes!”, but judging from the silent man chewing next to me, shaking his head with his eyes closed, I think I did a decent job. I had mine, he had his – each pizza topped with ingredients as close to the ones we would have ordered. I would have wanted cheese and tomato; he loves pepperoni and cheese. Instead, he got Spanish chorizo and Camembert, I heaped thick fresh tomato with cashew "cheese" dill and lemon juice on one half, and chunky avocado on the other.

And so pizza night was born. For those days when we wish we didn’t have so many responsibilities on our shoulders, when we want to be more silly than adult, when things would be so much easier if they were about getting a bike for Christmas rather than mortgage payments.

Chickpea Flatbreads:

4 Finely chopped fresh sage leaves
10 Chilli black olives chopped into small pieces
+ 10 more olives, kept separate, chopped.
4 Cloves of fresh garlic minced

olive oil (1 – 2 tablespoons)

1 ½ cup chickpea flour
½ cup brown rice flour
salt to taste

The night before (if possible. This can also be done the same day, if time is short):
Mix the sage, olives and garlic. Immerse in barely enough olive oil to cover. Store overnight in a glass jar with a lid.

On the day itself:
Mix the flour in a large bowl.
Add salt to taste and enough water to start mixing it all together. Blend the olive, garlic, and sage into a paste and add to the flour along with the rest of the olives, chopped into little pieces. Keep adding water and kneading until you have a dough that doesn’t run or stick to your fingers.

Heat a pan until water spatters off the surface. (do not use oil)

I would recommend using a soup ladle to create more or less even shapes and sizes (I would like to stress the more or less part here).
After scooping one ladleful into the hot pan, flatten the batter to create even and thin bread.
Allow to cook until the mixture starts to dry up and the edges start to brown slightly (you can also test this by very carefully inserting a spatula underneath – it is starting to be ready once the bread does not fall apart and is easily flippable as one entity).
Flip the bread and cook on the other side. You will have to do this a few times until the outside is crunchy and lightly brown.

These breads become doughy and less pleasant when cold, so make sure to keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

To make pizza with leftovers, layer the flatbreads with your choice of topping, and heat up in the oven as you would a pizza.