Hundreds of lovers of tasty food braved chilly rains Sunday for the 8th annual Jewish Food Extravaganza at Beth Shalom Synagogue.
“I think the weather even brought more people in for our hot matzah ball soup!” said Terry Hodges, an event organizer. “We’ve had a steady flow of people all day.”
“We’ve got the best corned beef sandwiches in town,” said Suzi Stark, festival coordinator who rounded up “between 50 and 100” volunteers, cooks and bakers to prepare and serve food.
The hot corned beef rye bread sandwiches – $15 each, wrapped in foil and seasoned with cider vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, pickles and peppercorns – were among dozens of offerings.
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Other foods included hot dogs, stuffed cabbage, babo ghanoush and matzoh ball soup.
Hot dogs were the favorite of Spencer Scher, 9, sitting with his father Howie Scher, an associate professor of earth and ocean science at the University of South Carolina.
“I mainly just have the hot dogs plain,” said a pleased Spencer.
Howie Scher added, “Whenever there’s an event in the Jewish community, it’s important to show up and give support. It’s a wonderful event, and Spencer loves coming here.”
Baked goods included babka, rugallah cookies, Challah bread, and Mandel bread, a kind of mouth-watering biscotti cookie loaf people can dip into tea or coffee.
All the food Sunday was kosher, since Beth Shalom is a conservative synagogue. Many of the foods were made from recipes passed down through generations of Beth Shalom members.
Representatives from the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative were also on hand Sunday, continuing efforts to document Jewish history in the Midlands. The initiative is a partnership of Historic Columbia, the Jewish Community Center and Columbia Jewish Federation.
Outside, as the event drew to a close, the once-laden bakery tables were nearly empty, but volunteers were still giving people samples.
“On a scale of one to 10, how is that?” baked goods supervisor Leslie Wyatt asked Joseph Katz, a USC emeritus professor of English visiting the event with his wife, Janet Katz.
“Oh, I would say an 11,” said Katz, munching on a piece of mandel bread.
And Wyatt, who called herself the “bakery bubbie” – “bubbie” being a term for Jewish grandmother – beamed.