Bubbies Kitchen at YM&YWHA

Bubbie’s Kitchen on the Go

While technically they never leave the grounds, the campers taking the Bubbie’s Kitchen activity at Camp Twelve Trails are transported across the globe as they discover new foods and cultures. Over the weeks they’ve jetted off to Israel to mix up Israeli salad (students took home the ingredients and recipe so they could make this with their families at home!), visited Morocco to taste cumin scented carrot salad with golden raisins (recipe at the end of this article), and explored Russia as they made apple and beet slaw — you may be surprised to learn that Twelve Trails campers don’t have an aversion to beets, they loved the slaw!

Bubbie’s Kitchen, generously funded by The Covenant Foundation, is an innovative program that uses food and stories to teach Jewish customs, values, traditions, and history from across the world. Traditionally, older generations have transmitted a cultural narrative to younger ones, however today children are less likely to live with, or be near, extended relatives. The program replicates a Jewish grandmother’s kitchen where language, recipes, music, stories, and activities can be preserved and passed on to the next generation.

The budding chefs at Camp Twelve Trails recently popped over to France where they picked up some of the language — Bonjour! Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq! — and learned the capital is Paris. The dish of the day was crème fouettée, a perfect option for seudat shlisheet, the “third meal” of Shabbat. Seudat shlisheet is supposed to be lighter, so this dish of whipped cream and fresh fruit is a refreshing option for Sabbath-observing Jews on these hot summer days.

The group came together as a community as they helped each other set the table, make whipped cream from scratch, and prepare their berries by safely using plastic knives. Afterwards they were rewarded as they literally enjoyed the fruits of their labor, dipping strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in the crème fouettée. As tummies began to fill, campers shared things they knew about France. Impressively, one told the group how the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the United States. Before the lesson ended the group sang Frère Jacques.

Before camp comes to a close, specialist Cyndi will also introduce campers to Cuba as they make batidos (fruit shakes) and the world tour comes to an end when Bubbie’s Kitchen returns to the United States. Our campers know having a passport isn’t the only way to discover cultures from across the globe!

Bubbie’s Kitchen launched at the Y’s Purim Carnival in March and then was offered as an activity in the last trimester of Be Me: After School Program at the Y – as one Be Me child said, “If you come to Bubbie’s Kitchen, you won’t be hungry for the rest of the afternoon!” The program has been hosted at Camp Twelve Trails over the summer and will return to the Y this fall as a Be Me activity, as well as a monthly Sunday workshop for families.

Cumin-Scented Carrot Salad

  • 5 large carrots, shredded in food processor
  • 1 small pineapple, in small chunks and/or 2 grated apples
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 lemons, freshly squeezed (very important)
  • Dash of sea salt and small amount freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Mix carrots, raisins and pineapple (apple) together. Squeeze lemons over mixture. Add seasonings and mix well. Ready to serve immediately, but can also be held in fridge, covered, for about 1 hour.

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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