olive-treeWhat’s in season in Israel? And more to the point, where and what should I eat? After a too-long 30 years, I’m heading back to the land where my parents grew up, met and married, and then left to study and settle in the U.S.

My desire to return to Israel was there, but blame the kids for the destination not staying in the number one slot. Three children going to college and grad schools in interesting places, then their jobs in interesting places we wanted to visit—Japan! Cambodia! Vietnam!—a couple of weddings, grandkids, family illnesses and passings here and in Israel. That’s how 30 years can pass in the blink of an eye.

Why now, finally? Well, time waits for no culinarian, and the ability to reconnect with a more immediate family food history through primary sources is dwindling fast.

And then there’s this: I’m writing a new cookbook about seasonal Jewish cooking. You probably think I’ve buried my lede, but I’m happy with this “soft open” as they say in the restaurant biz. I’m deep in book-writing mode, creative cookery juices flowing, with the book to be published by Sterling Publishing in fall of 2015.

My new book will explore the global diversity that is “Jewish food,” a book in which seasonal, farmers’ market, Jewish, and biblical converge. If you already know my food, you’ve already been enjoying and exploring the flavors of my past. I hope you’ll come with me on this journey of deeper discovery.

In the meantime, do you know about something I must taste, see or do while I’m in Israel? Please comment below. I’d love to get your ideas!