As a stress buster, tummy filler, friendship enhancer and smile maker, nothing beats a soft, steaming bowl or plate of comfort food. But here’s the thing about chicken soup, homemade bread, made-from-scratch cookies and other delights: they take a lot of time and effort to prepare, making them comforting for everyone but the cook.
Enter Bubbie’s Jewish Food Extravaganza, which kicks off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11 at Beth Shalom Synagogue with mountains of thinly sliced corned beef waiting to be piled onto sandwiches; heaps of cinnamon-scented rugelach and apple cake; stacks of soft, yeasty challah; pans loaded with shreddy brisket and, of course, pots bubbling with matzah-ball soup, aka Jewish penicillin. You’ll also find noodle kugel, cabbage rolls, knishes, baba ganoush, falafel, tzimmes and dill-infused Israeli salad.
“It’s Jewish food galore, all homemade and all amazing,” said Michelle Peterson, who is handling publicity for the event, which raises money for the synagogue. “The best advice I can give is to arrive early. Popular items like corned beef sell out fast.”
What you won’t find are dishes such as latkes, which Petersen says are associated with Chanukah, or a lot of matzah-based dishes.
“Besides matzah-ball soup, at the end of the day, we really don’t like matzah,” Peterson said with a laugh. “Passover is a long eight days without bread so we get pretty creative, but we’re done with it by the end.”
Since the Beth Shalom Synagogue maintains a kosher kitchen, the festival is divided into two sections. Outside you’ll find all the baked goods (packed and ready for transport) as well as any dishes containing milk, butter or other dairy ingredients. Hot foods — cabbage rolls, soup, brisket — are available inside.
Although it’s now a full-on celebration of Jewish food, Bubbie’s actually got its start in 2009 as a competition, but that didn’t last long.
“We realized that people didn’t want to spend their time tasting a bunch of things and voting on them,” Peterson said. “They just wanted to eat.”
In addition to selling food, the synagogue is also holding a silent auction for items such as tickets to sporting events, gift cards and lots of Judaica including Shabbat candlesticks, Havdalah sets, mezuzahs, challah covers, menorahs and matzah plates.
“There are now Pinterest boards out there for how to design your table for Shabbat and other holidays, so there are a lot of choices,” explains Peterson.
There’s no entertainment scheduled, but a Rabbi will be on hand to lead tours of the inside of the Synagogue.
“A lot of people come to this event and want to see the interior but are nervous about going in by themselves,” says Peterson. “We are thrilled to be able to share our food and our culture, especially right now. It’s the right time for us all to be gathering.”
If you go
Bubbie’’s Jewish Food Extravaganza
When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Beth Shalom Synagogue, 5827 N. Trenholm Road, Columbia