Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. This week’s snippet comes a number of chapters after last week’s, during Chapter 51, “Chanukah Italian-Style.”
My characters were smuggled out of Soviet-occupied Hungary in November 1945, and have made their way to Florence, adult character Caterina’s hometown. They initially were put up in a relief shelter run by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, but after meeting back up with siblings Imre and Júlia Goldmark, they moved into a very nice vacation apartment.
The other day, Caterina and three of the girls went shopping by the famous Sant’Ambrogio Market, only 100 meters from their apartment. They loaded their baskets with plenty of food for an Italian Chanukah feast.
Delicious chocolate-covered sufganyiot (jelly doughnuts), Copyright Noam Furer
Thursday, 29 November, the apartment flooded with the sumptuous scents of sufganiyot; chicken fried in olive oil, lemon, and nutmeg; brisket; mashed potato pancakes; eggplant fried in olive oil and garlic; deep-fried dough fritters packed with currants; vegetables fried in olive oil; pasta latkes; potato dumplings with sheep cheese; noodle kugel; green beans; stuffed mushrooms; and deep-fried artichokes. Caterina also tossed giant bowls of Greek salad and eggplant salad. Tonight they’d eat a meat meal, and tomorrow they’d have dairy.
“I never want this beautiful horn of plenty to end,” Eszter declared as she salted the slices of the last eggplant. “I hope our refrigerator and pantry are stuffed for the next eight days.”
“They sure will be.” Caterina covered the bowl of Greek salad and slid it into the refrigerator. “We’ll have at least as much food as we did when we escaped.”
As fiercely proud as I am of being over half German and a quarter Slovak, I tend towards following the Italian–Sephardic customs. My one-eighth portion of Italian blood was strong enough to give me a Southern Italian body type (barring my tiny little shoulders!), which I truly believe saved my life when I was run over by a car in 2003. Italian and Sephardic Judaism also have much more interesting food, and their customs aren’t as restrictive and superstitious as the Ashkenazic ones!