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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Craft: Edible Sukkah

The high holidays are over and now it's time to eat in the hut, during Sukkot. For those of you who don’t know what a sukkah is, it’s the Hebrew word for booth or hut. Long time ago, our ancestors used to build a sukkah during the harvest. Instead of returning to their homes each night, the farmers could retire to the sukkah placed in the field. It provided some shelter, and was easy to put up and take down. The sukkahs (actually the plural is sukkot) were also used by the Jews when wandering through the desert for 40 years, on their way from Egypt to Israel.

Now we celebrate the holiday by making a sukkah in our yards, and eating in them for a week (and sometimes even sleeping in them). It’s kind of like the Jewish Thanksgiving. Plus we get to decorate the sukkah with lights and decorations. So don’t feel bad for us that we don’t decorate trees in December – we’ve gotten the Martha Stewart thing out of our system by then.

Here we have a kids’ craft project that’s fun to do. The edible sukkah. We did it in my son’s class on Friday.

--Graham crackers
--Fruit Loops or fruit-shaped cereal (or Runts)

You need three square graham crackers per kid, plus a handful of pretzel rods (make sure they’re long enough) and some kind of edible glue. That would be either frosting, peanut butter, or the stuff you use on gingerbread houses. I prefer frosting because it comes in a can and most kids aren’t allergic to it. For decoration, you’ll want something colorful like Fruit Loops. In the past I found fruit-shaped cereal, but I couldn’t get it this year. Best is Runts, the fruit-shaped candy that can break a kid’s teeth. It looks more authentic. And you can also use Fruit by the Foot for the roof – the green kind.

Put frosting on the bottom edge of one square, and the side edge. Stick it onto a plate. Do the same on another square – and make a three-sided structure. Frost the top edges of the two parallel graham crackers, and then put the pretzel rods on top. For decoration, put a little frosting on the cereal and stick it to the top or bottom of the pretzel rods. You can also drape the fruit leather stuff across the pretzel rods. Jewish tradition is that you have to be able to see the stars when sitting inside, so if you want to be kosher, leave some gaps.

This project will fall apart very easily, resulting in many tears. Make sure the kids understand that this is supposed to be a TEMPORARY structure, and even the real ones fall down sometimes (especially in wind). It still tastes good when it falls down.

For holiday reading for the younger set, our staple is Leo and Blossom’s Sukkah by Jane Breskin Zalbin

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