Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

After School Special Treats

When my family and I moved to Los Angeles, I learned to eat the classic American after-school treats—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of milk.By

I so fondly remember those sunny Casablanca afternoons when my mother and aunt Clara would pick me up from school. My aunt drove up to my school, Jeanne D’Arc, in her convertible Chevy Impala. Then we’d pick up the girl cousins Alia, Simy and Rachel from their schools, my brother Salomon from Lycee Liautey and my cousin Felix and brother Moise from the Jewish school L’Alliance Francaise, and where the teachers were strict and the discipline severe.

We’d head to my aunt’s home and we’d indulge in our favorite afternoon snack. A fresh, warm baguette slathered with salty butter and chunks of chocolate.

When my family and I moved to Los Angeles, I learned to eat the classic American after-school treats—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of milk.

THOSE CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES WERE TRULY THE BEST AND MOST DELICIOUS I’VE EVER HAD. AND THE MEMORY WILL ALWAYS TRANSPORT ME TO THOSE CAREFREE AND INNOCENT DAYS IN CASABLANCA.

/Recently I saw a post about the chocolate baguette sandwich in a Moroccan group on Facebook. All the members were reminiscing about how that sandwich represents a highlight of their childhood. Those chocolate sandwiches were truly the best and most delicious I’ve ever had. And the memory will always transport me to those carefree and innocent days in Casablanca.

—Rachel

When I was a little girl attending Kirrawee Public School in the Southern suburbs of Sydney, I’d meet my older brother Rafi at the bus stop. Some days he would decide that we should walk home so that we could spend the 12-cent bus fare at the corner shop. He’d buy us two five-cent ice blocks (triangle shaped popsicles) and four lollies.

We would walk to the house on Meehan Place that my Abba was building. More often than not, Anais, his Lebanese carpenter, would give us Tim Tams (chocolate covered biscuits) or Iced Vovos (biscuits with pink frosting, raspberry jam and coconut). His aunt worked at the Arnott’s biscuit factory, so he always had an endless supply, to our joy. 

When I was seven years old, my family moved to the Eastern Suburbs. Every afternoon, my brother and I would walk to my grandparents home where my Nana Aziza always had fresh cut up vegetables ready for us to snack on.

As a student at Sydney Girls High, the school bus would drop me off in Double Bay, a most charming shopping area with cafes and bakeries. Some days I’d indulge in a Cadbury Hazelnut chocolate bar, a Picnic, a Twirl or a white chocolate Milky Bar. Other days I’d stop at Mignon, the French bakery and get the best chocolate eclairs and fruit tarts. And other days, I’d stop at the Fruit Shop, where the most exquisite scent of fresh fruits would envelop you. There I would indulge in the crispiest, juiciest apple you can imagine. 

Whatever your age and wherever you are in the world, that afternoon snack is always a wonderful pick me up.

—Sharon


Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. They love cooking and sharing recipes. They have collaborated on Sephardic Educational Center projects and community cooking classes. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC 

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