Food for thought


Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.


I am not a fan of institutional food. One who knows me might think otherwise. Since I don’t enjoy cooking, I might like anything I don’t have to make. True. But I have my limits.

I was with a resident last week who invited me to stay for lunch. Apparently, once a year the facility presents an upscale lunch. The residents are encouraged to invite a family member to join them. Without any advanced notice, I was the special guest. Apparently, no one was coming to join this resident. Allow me to say that I have kept her company during lunch once before. It was a most unappealing meal. Moreover, they serve what seems like an excess of pork-related products.

So I stayed for lunch. This resident and I have spent a lot of time visiting so she was not surprised when I declined the meal. Fortunately, it was meat which I don’t eat anyway. I happily enjoyed a homemade dessert, though. More importantly, I liked sitting with her and the opportunity to extend our visit.

Afterwards I walked to my car with a renewed sense of appreciation. I am always grumbling about making dinner or deciding what I should have for lunch. More often than not, I turn my days into an all-day grazing culinary event. After this visit, I sat down with recipes and a pad of paper. I made my list, spent a long time at the grocery store and came home and cooked!

I marveled at the pot of lentil soup, chili and meatballs in a tasty homemade sauce. The aroma in my kitchen was most inviting. We take so much for granted. What most of the residents wouldn’t do to return to their kitchens for an afternoon of cooking.