Thursday, June 13, 2013

Frosting and (Inter) Faith

Let's talk about frosting.  I am a big fan of buttercream frosting.  I prefer buttercream to sugary frosting.  However, some buttercream is too rich, so that you feel like you've had enough after a few bites.  I have actually found a really delicious frosting, which is neither butercream nor sugary frosting.  It's perfect, and it's at Cheryl Ann's Bakery in Brookline, Massachusetts.   Cheryl Ann's is a pareve and kosher bakery, so there is no dairy at all in their baked goods, or their frostings.  No butter, milk, whey, etc.  I have no idea what they put into their frostings and baked goods without these beloved items, but they really get it right.  Choices of frosting at Cheryl Ann's include white, light chocolate, fudge chocolate, and non-dairy whipped cream.  The light chocolate is very enjoyable--it's much lighter than regular chocolate frosting, and is similar to their white frosting in texture but has a subtle chocolate flavor.  It is a great topping to Cheryl Ann's cakes or even when used as a cake filling.  But in my opinion, the white frosting is the one that is not to be missed.   It can be found on their cakes, cupcakes, and their decorated sugar cookies.  The flavor is somewhere between a good buttercream and a sugar frosting;  it has something special about it that I really can't describe.  I literally could eat a vat of their white frosting if it was put in front of me.

I discovered Cheryl Ann's because one of my children is allergic to milk. Otherwise, I would never have known the joys of a kosher bakery--delicious breads, excellent cookies, and yes, amazing frosting.  Experiencing other cultures and traditions is a wonderful thing.  

I had a first-hand look at a number of cultures, of the religious kind, when I attended an interfaith service a few months ago.  If you have never been to one, I urge you to go.  The service was a service of healing, in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. The faiths that were represented that night included Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Congregational, Methodist, Baha'i, Episcopal, Quaker, and Evangelical.  Each representative leader of the faiths gave a short reading or sermon.  They walked in pairs, and took turns standing in front of those gathered, sharing thoughts and spiritual reflections. A rabbi walked with a leader from the Baha'i community, a priest walked with a Quaker leader, an Evangelical pastor walked with a Muslim leader, and so on. A soloist led a sung response.  A pianist played a haunting and emotional Brahms piece.  At the end, everyone held a candle, and the faith leaders came down to light the candles of those in attendance.  It was particularly fitting that the leaders giving the flame were not necessarily of the faith of the person receiving it.  

There was a beautiful sense of calm at this service.  There was also a poignant unity.  All of the readings were grounded in similar principles of a quest for peace, guidance, and comfort.  It was wonderful to see the similarities of the assembled faiths, and to see that despite our differences, we share a great deal.  Indeed, I think we all share more than we realize, in faith, and in life.  

Look out for those opportunities to share with one another, or to experience something that is different from your own corner of the world.  The results are inspiring.  Have a fantastic, frosting-filled week!

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