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Welcome to WFAEats — a fun adventure where we explore all things tasty and interesting in the Charlotte food scene. We want to share stories, recipes and culinary escapades and hear about yours!

Side Dishes: A Night of Shorts At The Charlotte Jewish Film Festival

Fay Tenenbaum knows what you want: cake.

No one can count how many she’s baked in her 90 years, and she has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.

Now, a short film about her, titled "The Cake Lady," is coming to Charlotte. It’s part of the tenth annual Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, an ambitious and enjoyable series that presents dramas, comedies, and documentaries that illuminate the Jewish experience in the U.S. and around the world.

But back to those cakes. “We all know cake is a sign of a special occasion, one that brings people together to share in the joy of being alive,” explains 25-year-old granddaughter Brittany, whose voice-over introduces the film.

A lifelong baker, Fay earned her nickname when she started bringing pound cakes to her neighborhood fire-fighters in Atlanta, weekly after 9/11. The number delivered to those local heroes has now topped 500. “They don’t get enough pay, and they don’t get enough time off,” she says in the film.

She refuses to accept payment or divulge her recipe. “Either I want to give it to you – or forget about it,” Fay says.

And like all good food stories, hers is a little bittersweet. (No spoilers, but you won’t look at the humble pound cake the same way after you view the film.)

Director Adam Hirsch will attend the Charlotte screening at Shalom Park on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm. There are rumors that the star, Fay Tenenbaum herself, may come from Atlanta, too.

Two other films will fill out the Side Dishes line-up that evening: Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop, which looks back on the basketball star’s days working at a kosher resort in the Catskills; and The Tribe, which depicts the role of Barbie in Jewish culture. A dessert reception will follow.

For more information or to get tickets, visit charlottejewishfilm.com.


Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas and Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits. Her writing has also been featured in Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing, the Oxford American, and the Charlotte Observer. She is founding publisher of the award-winning Novello Festival Press. She received a Creative Artist Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and was the first person to receive the award for non-fiction writing. Her reporting has also won multiple awards from the N.C. Working Press Association. She has been Writer in Residence at the Wildacres Center, and a program presenter at dozens of events, festivals, arts centers, schools, and other venues. Amy Rogers considers herself “Southern by choice,” and is a food and culture commentator for NPR station WFAE.