Food and Remembrance

Food and grief go together in the Jewish tradition. Shiva, the seven day period that begins after a funeral, begins with seudat havra’ah, “the meal of consolation,” and gifts other than food are discouraged. We eat to feel comforted in a time of loss. We eat to have something to do. We eat to share a moment of normalcy with friends and family in a time of grief.

On the other hand, it almost goes without saying, food and joy (simcha) also go together. A Brooklyn friend of mine, Nina Callaway, is combining the two.

On her blog, she wrote:

“The 10-year anniversary of my mother’s death from cancer is coming up, and to honor her, I’ve conceived of a unique fundraising project – Pieathon! – which will raise money to support low-income cancer patients.I, Nina Callaway will bake pies for a heck of a long time – over 24 hours of solid baking. Delicious pumpkin, pecan, and sugar cream pies for your Thanksgiving table, with Nina’s patented amazing homemade crust. People who believe in supporting cancer patients will sponsor me by the hour of baking.”

I think Nina’s Pie-a-thon is nothing short of amazing. Her day will undoubtedly be emotional and exhausting, but I can’t think of a better way to honor her mother’s life, a mom whom she describes as a great cook with an intense sweet tooth. As Nina rolls out the dough, fills the shells with sweet fillings, and pulls warm, fragrant pies out of the oven, she will raise not only money, but memory as well.

To sponsor Nina or purchase a pie, go to

–Leah Koenig

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