Agran Family Rugalach
When Grandma and Grandpa retired from L.A. to Orange County, she decided to stop cooking. I miss eating in Grandma Sel's kitchen—especially French toast puffed golden under the broiler—but we still make some of her best recipes. Rugalach tops the list.
Dad remembers Grandma rolling the dough into crescents for parties in the 1950s. I imagine her in A-line skirts, serving cookies by the orange tree in her California backyard. A chocoholic to the core, Sel never messed with fruit fillings. Cinnamon-chocolate was her signature flavor.
And it still is. When I'm at Mom and Dad's house in Cincinnati, Mom and I make rugalach for Hanukkah. It's a funny tradition, since Grandma's not even religious. But Hanukkah celebrates miracles, so as I think about her life —the daughter of Romanian immigrants living out the American Dream —it somehow makes sense. When we light the menorah, we say a simple prayer: "Blessings on our home, our family and our friends." Nothing fancy, but it always gives me shivers. Maybe because, like rugalach, it's a Grandma Sel original.