The following touching article was written by Avigayil B. of Lakewood, NJ and posted with permission.
Nine Days Menu Ideas
Have your ever gone to be menachem Avel a woman who lost her young husband?
Have your ever been in a shiva home where a woman is mourning the loss of her vibrant father? Have you ever offered comfort to a girl who lost her mother?
Sadly, all of us have been in these situations. We come, carrying pans of food and we leave the offerings of our heart on the overflowing counters and tables.
But, take a look at the aveilim. The young woman , with the seven orphaned children. Is she talking about the Pistachio Sea Bass ? If she is, everyone understands that it's just to divert her mind from her burning pain.
All year, we divert our mind from our loss.
Sure, most of us fast on Tisha B'Av , and we all have a Zecher L'Churban in our foyer. But really, when is the last time we cried as we davened that Hashem should return us to Eretz Yisroel?
Once a year, we get a chance to seriously focus on our huge loss. The tragedy of being sent away from our land where we all lived together and Torah was the law of the land.
Our Chachomim knew that's as time would go by, It would be hard for us to cry and feel the pain of all that was taken away from us.
So they gave us laws that would help put us In a mourning mood.
No meat! No chicken! No wine! No grape juice!
There are so many other laws , but for now let's look at these.
A succulent standing rib roast, a glazed roasted turkey, lamb chops and grilled baby chicken; we don't prepare these foods unless it's for a Seudas mitzva or a Siyum.
So what should we eat in the Nine Days?
Well, how about Roasted Portabella with marinated Goat Cheese and Arugula over artisanal bread?
What about Authentic hand rolled Tortellini with homemade Tomato and just snipped Basil sauce?
Is this really what Chazal had in mind?
Was it just a change in menu?
We used to be so close to Avinu Shebashamayim. We visited our father in His House!
We saw, heard, smelled and tasted His presence. We knew with every part of our body that He loves us.
We left His House with gifts. Gifts of awareness and clarity that held us until we came again. And when we missed our Father so much and we couldn't visit, we had a Neviah. She told us what our Father wants.She told us how to be a better wife, mother and daughter. And it was way different than therapy. When we listened to the Neviah, we had success in every relationship. Oh! How painful is this void!
Here we are searching for answers wishing we could have this type of guidance.
Every tragedy today has its roots in the Churban.
Have some sun dried tomato tilapia?
We are in pain! And if we aren't , we are to act like we are.
Eating gourmet foods? Dining in fine restaurants? Standing and assembling complicated dairy recipes?!
Not for us. Those recipes are for Shavuos.
These Nine Days I want to focus and think. I want to feel what I have lost.
We are mourning. We lost our husband, mother, and father.
And so my dear sisters, what do you eat when you're writhing in pain and sadness? What do you cook when you are so depressed that tears are falling into your pots?
What do you serve your family when grief is so strong it surrounds you?
A tuna wrap. Eggs. Macaroni and cheese. Pizza.
Anything that takes fifteen minutes to prepare.
No one will starve. And if the kids ask, "Why are we having scrambled eggs and toast for supper?"
Look at them in their eyes.
And say,"Cuz I'm sad. And I can't eat or cook fancy foods when I'm sad."
And maybe then we and our families will feel the sadness of the Churban and be zoche to see the words of our Neviim come true, and eat with happiness on the new Yom Tov on our calendar: Tisha B'Av.