Shai Tsabari wanted to be a cook, Hedai Offaim wanted to be a singer. As in “One wish to the right” (“World Cup Wishes”) by Etgar Keret, their plans were reversed. Ahead of Yom Kippur we brought the musician and chef together for a session of music, cooking and conversation. They talked about sins, confessions, and gates that open to the next world; about music for washing the floor to, which is no less "high" than songs that shout out pain; about creative processes and prayer as vitamins. An appetizing encounter that begins with white wine, continues with a wheat and grape salad, and ends with a song written by Avot Yeshurun, enigmatic poet and eternal stranger.
Wheat and grape salad for the pre-fast meal
In the market:
1 cup wheat
1 cup red grapes
1 cup white grapes
15 fresh lubia (black-eyed pea) pods
1 small purple onion
4 spring onions
1 bunch parsley
3 cloves garlic
Mint leaves picked off 8 sprigs
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
1 tbsp. za’atar leaves (hyssop)
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
In the kitchen:
Rinse the grains of wheat under running water and transfer to a pot with 2 liters of water. Cook for about 30 minutes until the wheat is cooked but not too soft, al dente (‘on the tooth’), as the Italians call it. Drain the wheat and let it cool slightly.
Halve the red and white grapes and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cut the lubia pods into 1 cm pieces, and add. Chop the onion, cut the spring onion and parsley, and add them as well. Crush the garlic and add it to the salad, with the thyme and za’atar leaves.
Add the cooked wheat and season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix with a gentle folding motion, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with a slice of ripe cheese and honey.