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Every Hanukka we commemorate the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. Every Yom Kippur I commemorate the miracle of my clove-studded etrog, which has lasted in its thin plastic wrapping for 32 years without any noticeable diminution in pungency. In the role of "smelling salts" during the long foodless day, it never fails to comfort.
Now that we no longer need our citrons for ritual use, this is a really nice thing to make, either for oneself, or to give as a gift. Better still, it will keep any child over seven occupied for a considerable time.
You need a smallish etrog and about 60 grams of whole cloves (buy them from the supermarket, or by weight in spice stores). Take a thinnish crochet hook and pierce holes in the etrog skin, fairly close together, pushing a clove firmly into each one until just the head protrudes. Eventually the entire surface of the fruit will be covered in cloves, and the smell will be wonderful.
This project takes time - and many more cloves than you might think you need - but the result is worth it. Why not make a clove-studded etrog to use as besamim during the end-of-Shabbat Havdala ceremony? It'll serve you well.
THE WORD "clove" comes from the French clou, meaning "nail." Cloves, among the most penetrating of all spices, are the dried, unopened, nail-shaped flower buds of the evergreen Syzygium aromaticum. Believed to be native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia, where the trees grow near the seashore, cloves were traditionally so prized that a handful was considered equal in value to a handful of silver. Parents would plant a clove tree when a child was born.
One tree in the Indonesian city of Ternate is about 400 years old, making it the oldest clove tree in the world. It produces over 600 kilos of cloves in a single harvest.
THIS CLOVE-imbued treat comes via the Internet from Stacy Slinkard, author of Your Guide to Wine. She says:
"With the cooler weather swirling in, nothing could be cozier than a toasty mug of mulled wine, the vine's version of a classic hot toddy. Mulled wine - a wine that has been sweetened, spiced and slightly heated - has been warming people for centuries, offering a delightful alternative to traditional coffees, ciders and toddies.
1 bottle of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or even Zinfandel)
1 orange, peeled and sliced (for added zest, add some peel to the cooking pot)
1â„4 cup of brandy
2â„3 cup honey or sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. fresh or 2 tsp. ground ginger or allspice
Combine the ingredients in a large pot or a slow cooker. Gently warm them on low to medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Avoid boiling. Stir the mixture occasionally to make sure the honey or sugar has completely dissolved.
When the wine is steaming and everything is well blended, the wine is ready to serve. Ladle it into mugs, leaving the seasonings behind. Serves 4-6.
ON ROSH Hashana, I tasted a remarkable cake, whose recipe cries out to be shared. It comes from Pleasures of Your Food Processor by Norene Gilletz.
NUTRITIOUS CARROT CAKE
3 medium carrots, scraped and trimmed
1 apple, peeled and cored
11â„4 cup sugar, or less
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Heat the oven to 180Â°. Using the small grater of the food processor, grate the apples and carrots. Put aside. Using the blade, process the eggs and sugar for 1 minute, then add the oil while the processor is running and process for 45 seconds more. Add the carrots and apples and blend quickly.
Add the dry ingredients, and process with 3 or 4 on-off turns until the flour disappears. Sprinkle the raisins over the batter, and do a couple more on-off turns.
Pour the batter into a well-greased tube pan or a 23 cm. x 32 cm. pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until done.
EVELYN ETTINGER, who recently returned from a trip to the States, visiting New Jersey and Florida, reports: "At the entrance to many of the supermarkets and large stores there are several wheelchairs and motor-operated cars to make it easier for seniors to get around and shop. Why not introduce this type of assistance in Israel?"
Why not, indeed?