Tonight begins the fast of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. My father used to make a special family recipe every year -- onion cookies -- which we ate to break the fast. This morning my sister called to say that she had the first batch in the oven and she couldn't tell if she teared up from cutting the onions or from the memories of our dad. I felt the same way when mixing up my half-batch.
Food is, after all, the great ice-breaker. We bond over family meals. Sharing a hot cup of coffee or tea and talking with a friend brings us closer. And we welcome guests by extending our table figuratively and sometimes literally (you should see the card table next to the dining table in our house).
Thanks, Dad, for teaching us how to cook and to enjoy doing it, for getting the recipe from your mother Mary z"l, and for setting such a good example of making people feel welcome with food.
For the rest of us, may we be sealed in the book of life for a good year: g'mar chatima tova.