Wrap Up the Summer with Stuffed Grape Leaves
Shared by Rinat Tzadok
Recipe roots: Qamishli, Syria > Herzliya, Israel > Tel Aviv, Israel
Margalit Cohen immigrated to Israel from Qamishli, a city in Syria near the Turkish border, in 1964. She settled in Herzliya, where she still lives. Margalit, who is now 87 years old, worked her entire life as a personal chef, cooking for people in their homes. On Shabbat, the day of rest, she has her nine children over to her house for an elaborate meal. Preparations begin on Thursday night, when Margalit makes stuffed grape leaves, which she fills with a mixture of dried fruit–sweetened rice, and rolls by hand. This is the first course in the meal, which is then followed by many others, mostly traditional Jewish foods from Aleppo. “She makes 10 versions of stuffed kibbeh!” marvels The Jewish Food Society’s cook in residence Rinat Tzadok, a friend of Margalit’s son, Yaniv, and a frequent guest at her table. Rinat loves Margalit’s stuffed grape leaves so much that she makes them for Shabbat during the summer, when fresh grape leaves are readily available. As for Margalit, at the conclusion of her sabbath dinner, she packs up all of the leftovers and divides them between her children. Then, she does it again the next week. And the next.