Braided Book DISCUSSION GUIDE
1. Braided is an intimate book, a look into the life of a harried physician-mother who finds herself while making challah weekly at her kitchen counter. After reading her story, how would you characterize Ricanati? Which of her stories is most resonant for you; and why?
2. How has reading Braided affected your thoughts about needing to be more mindful in your own life? Has your behavior changed as a result of reading this book? If so, how?
3. The author writes about her belief that food is medicine. How has food impacted your own health?
4. Ricanati writes late in the book, “I knead for my needs.” What does she mean by this? How does kneading (or any tactile art, i.e. knitting, gardening, etc) fulfill your needs?
5. How much do you think the community aspect of baking challah plays into its therapeutic effects? Have you ever baked/cooked with others; what has that experience been like for you?
6. The book is structured as the recipe that the author uses weekly to make challah, each section a line of that recipe. What is the effect that it has for you? Which sentences, paragraphs or stories in Braided stayed with you? What significance do these have for you?
7. The author is a woman, a mother, and a physician. How do you think her gender impacts the story; does the need to have a meaningful ritual have gendered implications?
8. Making challah has become the author’s meaningful ritual. What are some of your meaningful rituals; are they done in isolation or can you share them with others? Have you passed these down to your children or other family members?