What could a seasoned magazine publisher who is native to Greenville, SC and a tattooed Jewish foodie from the north have in common? Two things: New Jersey and challah. I am the aforementioned tattooed Jewish foodie and I relocated here from New Jersey last July after a job loss in my family. Once I landed here, I was searching for something, anything interesting to do that spoke to my interests. I stumbled across Fete Magazine, published by Jay Spivey, the Greenville native. I was smitten…with the magazine – get your mind out of the gutter.
Through the magazine I was able to find good spots for music, eateries, where the cool kids congregate and interesting events to attend, like going to my first-ever roller derby bout (which inspired me to join the team for a bit!). Once the dust settled, I decided to relaunch my business making tasty things. Word got around Greenville and the subject of Fete Magazine came up again when a mutual friend mentioned I might want to reach out to its publisher, Jay Spivey. Having become an avid Fete reader, I was really interested to meet the man behind the awesomeness, but couldn’t have predicted the places our conversation would go.
We met at a Starbucks on the weekend where I greeted him with a loaf of freshly baked chocolate chip challah wrapped up in a cellophane bag with a decorative ribbon sealing it shut. We sat in the comfy chairs in the corner and soon discovered found we both had roots in New Jersey – I had spent most of my life there and Jay had enjoyed a lovely, “Norman Rockwell-esque” childhood in beautiful Maplewood.
Most people in this region of the country haven’t heard of challah – decadent, rich egg bread that is traditionally served in Jewish homes for their weekly Sabbath (or in Jersey diners as French Toast). Jay, however, much to my surprise, knew it well – a childhood friend’s mother had served it to him with tuna and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Was I dreaming? Here I was talking to a guy from South Carolina who was almost salivating at the thought of tuna with Hellmann’s on challah. Seriously?
As we knocked back our drinks, the conversation took a bunch of turns – food, religion, politics, music – thankfully, none of these subjects inspired either of us to throw our drink at the other. On occasion, Jay would pat his challah, sometimes lifting it to get a closer look. I could tell he was reminiscing a bit, but also curious as to what challah would taste like minus tuna plus chocolate.
Two hours just flew by as we sat there nursing our drinks, but the time had come to a close – I had to head to the wedding of a derby girl and Jay also had plans to get to. We parted ways and I made a promise to Jay that he would enjoy the bread. It was only later that day that of all the things we talked about, I neglected to tell him what my derby name was – Bad Jew-Jew. Here’s to hoping there’s a next time!