Today is my
father`s 80 Birthday. My dad was born in Iraq at “Shavuot” Holiday; this is
what my grandmother used to say, since it was never documented, so they always
celebrated my dad`s birthday with traditional dairy Iraqi special dishes. “Shavuot”
is a Holliday of the harvest; it is a Holiday that celebrates in Judaism the
day that the Bible was given to Moses. “Shavuot” is also considered as the Holiday
of visiting, and in Arabic “Id al Ziarah”, people would travel from all over to
the Holly city of Jerusalem, and would bring with them “Bikurim”, the very new
Harvest to the Cohanim, who served at the Holly Temple.

I love
celebrating this Holiday in Israel, where the kids come to schools wearing
white, holding baskets of the very new fruits, summer fruits, synagogues are open
all night for “Tikun”, something that has to do with renew, with forgiveness,
and learning together. It is indeed a special day which I love so much.

Today is a
sad day for me, you see; I lost my dad to Lung Cancer three years ago, and
since my dad was our family`s chef, he would cook all these yummy foods for us.
My mom and sister paid my dad a visit in the Cemetery today, and my mom even brought
him some fresh flowers for his birthday, to put on his grave.

I live in
the US now, and I cook for “Shavuot” and invite some friends to try those
interesting foods. My dad`s picture is standing on the kitchen counter for the
last three years, and today I gave him a big kiss and told him how much I love
him. He is very much alive in my mind, every single day. As I call my mom, and I
call her every day, (she lives in Israel), I can still hear his voice telling
me, that my mom cannot wait to talk to me, and he is passing the phone to her.

Happy
Birthday dad, I love and miss you so much!

Here is my
dad`s and mom`s special recipe for “Kitchri”, a traditional “Shavuot” dish:

PRODUCTS
1.Two cups of long
rice
2.One cup of red
lentils
3.2 spoons of tomato
paste
4.2 spoons of vegetable
oil
5.3 spoons of
butter
6.2-3 spoons of
ground Cumin
7.4-5 chopped
garlic cloves.
8.salt

Preparation
1.Wash the rice a few times, and put in a pot. Add a
little salt and the oil. Add water up to a little less than an inch, and mix in
the tomato paste.
2.Stir a little and boil. When is boiling add the
lentil, let the water soak, and reduce the heat to low.
3.Let it cook for about 20 minutes.
4.In a pan put the butter and the garlic and fry for 2
minutes, and then add the Cumin and salt, and let it fry for 2-3 minutes (the
smell is so great…)
5.After the rice is done, add the fried cumin to the
rice, blend it in and let it cook on very low for a few minutes.

You can
add Yogurt when all is done, it is delicious.

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