Tea with Nancy and Susan

Posted on February 25, 2011 by

“Well, I certainly do like a good piece of apple cake,

who doesn’t? I’d love another piece, Grete.”

So begins “Recipe for Apple Cake,” one of the evocative poems in Susan L. Roth’s and Nancy Patz’s 18 Stones, just published by the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

The book’s food references—apple cake, honey cake, tea with lemon—were the inspiration for a Dutch-themed tea last Thursday, where we celebrated the publication of 18 Stones. Nancy and Susan held forth—delightfully—about the how the book came to be and how they worked together, and guests enjoyed quintessentially Dutch treats like bread with sweet butter and chocolate sprinkles, apple cake, biscuits with gouda cheese, and hot chocolate. And, no surprise, the flowers decorating the table were tulips.

18 Stones isn’t really a book about food, though. Susan’s poems and Nancy’s pastel drawings evoke Jewish life in fullness on the eve of World War II in Holland. By depicting what characters like Grete and Aron, Hendrik and Rosa ate, how they celebrated, fell in love, and built their families, Nancy and Susan truly honor the victims of the Holocaust.

Fittingly, Thursday evening’s program was at times somber and at times celebratory. But it was tasty through and through.

And, trust me, if you’ve never sprinkled chocolate shavings on your bread and butter, give it a try. You may just feel as if you’ve been transported to Amsterdam.

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