I only got to spend my first 6 years with my Savta Nona but I remember her immensely. She was short, had a big waist and always an apron ties around it.
She lived with my grandfather in Zefat, one of Israel’s beautiful Northern cities.
I remember her street- small brick street with no entrance to cars and there, on the left, was her stone house, 2 stories high.
The rooms in the house were small but the smallest of them all was the kitchen. It looked like a little closet with a tiny space to work. But my Nona was always in the kitchen cooking in huge pots.
I can still imaging the feeling of coming to stay for Shabat and the pots with food and the table where we sat and ate but even when I try to imagine the smells or tastes of what she made, I can’t. I can see her in the kitchen preparing, smiling and just loving having us there, as if it was happening right now.
I wonder often what she made, what the smells and flavors were. Mostly, I dream of being there with her, in the tiny kitchen again, watching her cook and learning from her all that I could.
Zefat, where my dad was born, has a special place in my heart and many early memories as a little girl. I have the same strong memories of my Aunt Sarika who also lived in Zefat. She was my father’s sister and one of the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.
We spent a lot of time in Zefat at Nona or Sarika’s houses and both are engraved in my memory. I loved the beautiful big lemon tree in Sarika’s garden with the huge yellow lemons and the smell they spread in the air. I miss Sarika terribly. She passed away some years ago.
But while I can not recollect the smells in my Savta Nona’s house I can from Sarika’s house. The food and sweets she would make always and I know they were similar to her mom’s cooking. Most of all I remember the amazing Beigale she would make for us when we came to visit. They would be in the big glass jar on the shelf next to the kitchen door and you could NOT pass that door without grabbing a couple of them. Those I have made over the years and enjoyed with tears in my heart for the 2 amazing woman I so deeply miss.
Although it is a yeast dough the idea is not to let it rise
but to make the Beygalach immediately to keep them small and crunchy.
Roll out the dough
Make round shapes
Dip in eggs and then in Sesame (white, black), poppy seeds or any dip you like
Bake in a hot oven for at least 30 minutes- until hard and crunchy
Enjoy with tea or on their own….!