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Resurrection food

oliebol

My favorite Bible stories involve resurrection and food. In one, Jesus revives a young girl and tells her parents to give her something to eat. In the other, Jesus himself has been resurrected, and he cooks breakfast for the disciples.

Resurrection is a blockbuster miracle, but what about the mustard seed miracles? Like Jesus telling those awestruck parents, “Give her something to eat.” Or laying out charcoal and cooking breakfast, making eating—that most biological act—part of the miracle.

Which brings me to oliebolen, Dutch apple fritters traditionally served at New Year’s. I made some the 31st, but my sister made them New Year’s Day, using a recipe my Dad wrote down 30 years ago. She said his recipe didn’t use an electric mixer. You just stick your hands in the batter and mix it up.

When Fran told me that, I saw Dad’s hands and heard his laugh. Just as my first bite of oliebol Tuesday night transported me to a New Year’s Day in 1975, biting into a greasy, still-hot fritter as Dad laid it on a paper towel-lined plate.

Food breaks the shackles of time, as Marcel Proust knew:

When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest.

Food is magic. Eating is religious. My New Year’s resolution is to find our way back to the dining room table, where we’ll make some miracles together.

Happy New Year!

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