Sweet Cookies, Sweet Memories
University of Florida
When I was three years old, my grandmother taught me how to make mandel
bread. Mandel bread, a biscotti look-a-like, is actually much softer and
sweeter. Now, at 21, I still bake mandel bread for friends and family at their
request. A typically Jewish food, mandel bread brings back memories from past
generations and long-forgotten traditions. Nowadays, biscotti has taken over in
coffee shops, stores and restaurants around the world, replacing mandel bread as
the hip, new cookie to eat with coffee. However, in Jewish circles, mandel bread
Growing up, I had many opportunities to use the mandel bread baking skills
passed to me by my grandmother before her death. At six years old, I entered a
local baking contest. My grandmother's secret recipe tied for first prize.
Afterwards, many tried to gain the recipe from me. At twelve years old, I taped a
home video of myself, pretending I had my own cooking show and sharing my
grandmother's delicious mandel bread with the world. At fifteen years old,
I started my own baking business where my grandmother's mandel bread became the
Thinking back on all the fond memories I have stored from one small experience
as a child, I am grateful that my grandmother imparted a special part of herself
that I can still connect with today. From this experience I have learned to
cherish all moments in my life so that I may have wonderful, long lasting
memories that I can one day share with my own children and grandchildren.
Shaina Akrish is a senior at the University of Florida and a former KOACH
intern. She is currently finishing her BA in Jewish studies with a minor in both
religion and education. Shaina knows it's great to be a Jewish Gator!