This article supplements my Kveller.com piece about making Shavuot Mt. Sinai Muffins with kids.
And hey, the Jerusalem Post picked it up on JPost Weekly Schmooze!
Edible Crafts are one of my favorite ways to prepare for and celebrate a holiday with kids. Shavuot has built-in festive foods like cheesecake and blintzes and all things dairy—great things to make with children. But, they take time. Of course, traditional baking and mixing and whatnot with kids are core identity-building components. No argument here. But what if you are short on time, yet want to make something Jewish, thematic, edible, fun and fast?
Below are edible options both fast and slow, plus a Suggested Reading List for Shavout-y picture books.
FAST: The sweetest thing about Mt. Sinai Muffins is how versatile they can be: homemade or storebought, regular or miniature, cupcakes or muffins.
And you can decorate them as plain or fancy as you wish. See the Kveller article for tips about making your mountains grassy or rocky or snowy, and for repurposing tiny edibles as stone Tablets. Keep the relative sizes of the mountain and the Tablets in mind.
Suggestions for edible Ten Commandment Tablets
My favorites are the Jordan almonds with the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of which represents one of the Ten Commandments.
Or maybe my favorites are the Lego candy blocks. For trademark reasons, they aren’t called Lego candy, but your local candystore will know perfectly well what you mean when you phone and inquire. Candy Lego are brilliant and yes, they do fit together and yes, you can actually build stuff. My kids are too busy building to eat more than one or two, so I buy a bunch without worrying about sugar intake. They come in handy for other holiday edible crafts too, but I’ll save details for later.
SLOW: More in keeping with slow-food “kitchen Judaism” will be the jumbo-size Mt. Sinai pictured at left. My mother-in-law kindly bought this kugelhopf bundt pan just so I could have a suitable platform for my biggest Moses action figure (I own several). It’s going to be a gluten-free chocolate Mt. Sinai, but theoretically I could make a fruit cake using all of the Shevat ha-Minim: the Seven Species of Shavuot. Wheat, barley, grapes (raisins), figs, pomegranate, dates and olive oil would make a tasty, healthy and Deuteronomy 8:8-approved cake.
For even slower baking, try a Shavuot cake recipe that lists ingredients only by biblical verses, via a textual scavenger hunt. Its an old standby in the Bible Belt, and my grandmother’s ancient Baptist cookbook calls it “Our Lord’s Scripture Cake.” I wouldn’t mention it here, but if Ima on the Bima can link to a similar recipe, I feel fairly safe. Besides, although my grandmother’s Scripture was not quite the same as my JPS Tanakh, all the ingredients are in Biblical books shared by both.
BabagaNewz, a Jewish website for middle-graders, has a neat recipe for Seven Species Dessert bars, by the way.
Suggested Picture Books (to read with your kid before Shavuot crafting)
- Ten Good Rules: A Ten Commandments Counting Book, by Susan Remick Topek
- The Ten Commandments for Jewish Children, by Miriam Nerlove
- Who Knows Ten: Children’s Tales of the Ten Commandments, by Molly Cone
- JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible, by Ellen Frankel
- Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot (Sammy Spider’s First Books), by Sylvia A. Rouss
- The Littlest Mountain, by Barb Rosenstock
Edible Pens/Markers: see this helpful review of Food Safe Markers at the nifty Evil Mad Scientist Laboratory.