Your impulse on Memorial Day may be to trade in dark colors for light, winter boots for toe-baring Tevas, heavy stews for zippy watermelon salads, but not so fast! A cheese feast awaits.
Because it's also nearly Shavuot, and for Jews who will be celebrating on Tuesday night, that means tucking into rich and creamy dairy dishes.
The holiday of Shavuot commemorates the day that the Israelites received the Torah from God, seven weeks after fleeing Pharaoh in Egypt. So why the dairy fest? Since the Torah was given to the Jews on Shabbat, no animals could be sacrificed in celebration, causing the people to look to dairy instead. Milk is also considered a symbol for the Torah itself, which nourishes the Jewish people as does a mother's milk. (Some Jews also make a connection between the numerical value of the three Hebrew letters that make up the word for dairy—chalav—and the number of years the Jews wandered in the desert: Both equal 40.)
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So break out the Lactaid pills (I know I'm not the only one!), bring the cream cheese to room temperature, and ready your springform pans. We've got 22 milky, creamy, silky recipes—sweet and savory—for celebrating Shavuot until the cows come home (or, you know, meeting your weekly cheese quota).
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.