In the first edition of "What I Cooked Last Friday (for Shabbat)" I will share pictures of the food I prepared for my family for Friday and Saturday. Orthodox Jews who observe the Shabbat prepare the food on Friday to be eaten Friday evening and all day Saturday. This is part of observing the positive commandment to "keep the Shabbat holy" by refraining from creative work including cooking, using fire/electricity, and any sort of artistic creation. That being said, Friday preparation can be extensive and Friday is often a very hectic day for most families. But in that chaos, I love creating beautiful, delicious food that will nourish my family and elevate the holiness of Shabbat. Shabbat menus are never something I skimp on, I (and my mother-in-law) ensure that the family eats a royal banquet for every Shabbat meal. Shabbat food would just be another dish on a plate if it weren't for the holiness and the spiritual connection between ourselves and HaShem through the other Shabbat observances.
Our Friday evenings begin with mystical poetry, the Songs of Shlomo (Solomon), usually sung in the synagogue but during these strange times they are sung by my husband and father-in-law in my living room. Dressed in modest finery, my family is beautiful in the brilliance of Shabbat. The Shabbat table is also dressed in beautiful cloth and adorned with shining cutlery and glass plates.
Kiddush is recited over the wine as we stand as witnesses to G-d's revelation to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, as we drink we accept His commandments for ourselves again each Friday as we did at Mount Sinai. Our hands are washed, thrice on the right, thrice on the left. Hamotzi is said over the challah bread and we eat portion with salt as the temple showbread was eaten by the priests when the temple stood in Jerusalem. And then we eat!