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Dear Max

When I was young we used to go to my granny and grandpa every second Friday night for Shabbat. I remember a few times I wasn’t very hungry, and used to eat just a roast potato. Each time my gran used to ask me if I was unwell, because to her, not eating being sick, rather than just full or not feeling like eating.

You’re going to get asked that a lot growing up, and if you refuse food, you might get a guilt trip, or a question like “What, you don’t like my cooking?”. See, as Jewish people, food is often associated with guilt, feelings, reward and sickness. And while everywhere food is a source of comfort, somehow we take it up a notch.

This is what you can expect from growing up Jewish:

– No queuing up at buffet tables. It’s more like a run and grab what you want. Just remember that this rule doesn’t apply everywhere – you will have to queue politely at other events.

– The offer of food or treats when you do well at school

– The offer of food or treats when you don’t do well at school

– A mother who always has a small smorgasbord of snacks in her bag

– Overcatering. I think it’s an unwritten rule that if someone goes hungry at a Jewish simcha, or if there aren’t an abundance of choices, then it’s a shemzach (shame on you). While most people will have one starter, main and dessert option, we’ll have several. That’s how we roll (and this might explain my fat rolls too).

– If you don’t eat something, it might be read like you don’t like the food, and there could be a guilt trip inflicted on you. Usually in the form of silent treatment.

– There will always be more food than alcohol at an event. Always.

– There is usually very little waiting before eating at events. We are not very good at waiting for food, and there’s a global Jewish acknowledgement of this. Like we could faint.

– Happiness and nachas if you have second helpings. For a cook and Jewish mom, there is no greater joy at the table. In fact, seconds and thirds are encouraged. Appetite is applauded! (Read: eat your mom’s food).

And on that note, here are some pics that warm my heart, even though they didn’t come from my kitchen.

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  1. I love this post. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I might copy it and stick it above my eldest’s bed. She seems to survive on love and fresh air. MOST distressing!
    PS – Max is gorgeous.

    • Aaaw, thanks x2!

  2. reading this i have to giggle, now everything makes sense!
    Fish’s biodad is jewish…
    Wish i’d known all this before, would’ve said no to food all the time just to peeve off his horrid family

    • Haha!

  3. nah, its not just Jewish mamas that do that…you should eat with Portuguese, OMW! But they only behave like that when you are very young, once you grow up they watch everything that goes in your mouth and you can’t feel guilty for havbing a healthy appetite πŸ™‚ poor tormented kids

    • Haha! I hear you πŸ™‚

  4. Dear Tanya
    Earlier this week I saw an article on your blog in an old magazine in a doctor’s waiting room – I googled Dear Max & i’m hooked – it’s wonderful. I’ve got a 14mth old little girl & can relate to so much of what you say – I’ve both laughed & cried & thats only after reading your last 10 or so posts πŸ™‚

    Thanks for saying what so many of us just think but never get around to putting down on paper (or screen!)


    • Hi Guinny

      So glad I have a new reader, and thanks for the great comment! Through blogging and reading other moms’ blogs, I realise how “normal” we all are. πŸ™‚

      Take care,

  5. Am I glad we met! Your blog is delightful. I am loving reading your posts.

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