Having grown up in a culture that praises buying friends with cafecito shots during late afternoons and mastering the bachata as a birthright, the 305 in all its glory introduced me another experience that shaped my childhood. As my circle of friends glorified challah and matzoh ball soup, I basked in their descriptions and hoped to be invited to a Hanukkah dinner. While this time never came during high school, and I moved away to college, I had no idea that the introduction to Jewish cooking I had been waiting for was right around the corner.

I heard about the event through fellow Spooner, Jessica Rolnick, who is just one of then members of such an accepting and loving group. During the whole event, she helped me and all the other outsiders get insight to some unique dishes that the organization cooks on one Thursday of each month. This time it was kugel, but each month a new dish is chosen and cooked for those who get involved.

milk, cheese, vegetable, flour, cream, pasta
Emma Salters

Being a recurring event for Hillel, Jewish Cooking began as a way to introduce those less educated about Jewish culture to it. Though, yes, many of the people that go are a part of the organization, those who aren't, feel right at home. On top of the event being free, you might learn to make some bomb latkes, so really there's nothing to lose. 

Of course, scoring the best recipe of all of the Jewish favorites is quite the bonus, but learning about the culture is more gratifying than any crispy falafel.

Emma Salters

While the sweet kugel baked, (yes, there's also savory-- I know, glorious) Hillel's members made a kind effort to combine the newbies and the vets, and make a connection between different members of the community that would last longer than the hour and a half we had together. Each one of them made an honest effort to get to know everyone that came, and took it upon themselves to show the groups true colors.

Instead of getting caught up on the latest on Instagram, I decided to have real conversations with people I'd never met before and branch out. Seemingly difficult at first, connecting is a lot easier when you have interesting food to spark up a spitfire debate on the existence of cottage cheese

Emma Salters

However surprisingly sweet it came out, (I mean who would have ever thought to put cottage cheese, sour cream, and sugar together, am I right?) it really became about the comfort in the room. All the members of Hillel were so welcoming, and the strangers open to new experiences.

Events like these that are hosted around campus are just begging for students to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. In all honesty, I love catching up on my daily Gilmore Girls fix as much as the next girl. Once I joined the cooking crew at Hillel, I immediately searched for more to get involved in. Maybe learning to make a mean brisket could be the next step to finding a new home.

Anyone looking for something different and new to try out while you're waiting for the weekend to start-- Jewish Cooking might just be your answer.