Katie Matanky lives in Katamon with her younger sister, Ariela who serves in the IDF. Katie made Aliya in August 2013, and just finished her MA in Nonprofit Management in the international program in the Hebrew University. She currently works for Midreshet Moryah and Volunteer Coordinator. Back at home Shabbat is really big. Everything is just crazy until we lit the Shabbat candles – then everything becomes calm and relaxed. I always help my mother with the cooking.

All of my Family lives in Chicago so most of the time we meet at my Grandfather or at Bubby’s (my mother’s Grandmother on my mother side). At dinner we sing Shalom Alechem and my father is doing Kiddush. We eat Challah but without salt because high blood pressure runs through the family. Then we have salads , Gefilte Fish, chicken soup, Kugel and mainly very traditional Ashkenazi food, but we also have more classic American dishes, such as sweet potatoes pie and Cranberries sauce. For dessert we’re having cakes and fruits. There’s always a lot of food! I have a special Shabbat memory, ot maybe you can call it a memory of the absent – because I remember not singing “Eshet Chayil”. In my childhood all the cousins came to my Grandfather’s house and we were so many kids that it was just too hard to sing it.

Now, in Israel when I’m having Shabbat dinners and we sing Eshet, It always reminds me of not singing it. Today all the cousins meet only in the Chaggim in Chicago. Today I’m really trying to keep the tradition in my own Shabbat meals. First of all, there’s always loads of food like at my mother’s, although I’m learning the right amounts I need as time passes. I’m trying to start cooking for Thursday so I will have some time to rest on Friday before dinner starts. I have big inner every week, either at my place or with friends and family that lives in the area.

  • The plants are just a taste of home, because my mom loves taking care of plants and has them all over our house in Chicago!
  • My mom gave us the spoons just now around the chagim, while my sister Ariella was home.

Spice recommendation:

  • Lawry’s Salt It’s the best salt I know and it’s very hard to get it in Israel so I always bring lots of it with me. It contains, besides the salt, Garlic, Paprika, sugar and Turmeric. It’s excellent with anything that you cook: rice, chicken, couscous and vegetables,
  • Cooking tip: I have a great tip for cooking chicken I learned from my grandmother: Take a bg bag of potato chips, crush them, add oil and some spices. Then put the chicken slices in the bag, shake it and then bake it. Simple and tasty!
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