A Tasty Way to Celebrate Inclusion

February 02, 2022

A Tasty Way to Celebrate Inclusion

By JF&CS Marketing

Let’s Get Cooking for Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM)!

JF&CS is proud to celebrate JDAIM with our 3rd annual staff Kugel Cook-off. The Kugel Cook-off was the brainchild of Community Access Program Manager, Abby Frantz and her team. Abby was the winner of the Jewish Abilities Alliance Power of One Award in 2018, and is passionate about teaching others about the importance of inclusion for adults with disabilities. She and her staff came up with the idea of inviting staff to submit their best noodle kugel recipes to be judged by our IndependenceWORKS participants. The Kugel Cook-off became a special day for our clients with disabilities, who love tasting the many wonderful kugels, and being center stage among our staff.

The judges play “Top Chef” as if they're on the Food Network show — trying each kugel and making comments about them. The kugels are judged by taste, color, consistency, and more. During the presentation, Abby Frantz, Community Access Group Manager, leads a session about being an advocate for inclusion.

“For many adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), the pain of isolation is all too familiar, even before the pandemic. Many with IDD rely on their family or staff for transportation. They cannot simply jump in a car and go where they please. Even if they get to where they’d like to go, there may be physical barriers in the way such as a lack of accessible parking or a space that does not easily accommodate equipment such as walkers or wheelchairs," said Frantz.

"If physical barriers are not an issue, then social barriers potentially are. Humans have created unwritten social rules. We say “Hey, how’s it going?” even if we are not actually inquiring about one's day. We’ve decided that sneezing, coughing, and yawning in public are completely acceptable where other bodily functions are not. These unwritten social rules are very hard to teach because, while completely subjective, we’ve all somehow agreed on them. For those with IDD, these social rules can be difficult to follow and, if not followed correctly, it can lead to others not accepting them. Someone with IDD could be in a crowded synagogue or church and yet feel absolutely alone. We must do our part to recognize and understand ways to be more inclusive. Our Kugel Cook-off is one way we can get our participants involved with the rest of the staff, and let them take a leadership role," she said.

Prior to the pandemic, the event was in person and included a chance for all staff to try each kugel. This year, the event will stay virtual and staff will only be able to watch hungrily while the judges eat and rate the dishes.

The first top prize went to our Executive Assistant, Natalie Eldred, who was then crowned 'Kugel Queen.'

Here is Natalie Eldred’s Kugel recipe:


12 oz. egg noodles (medium wide), cooked and drained

1/2 lb. unsalted butter, melted

16 oz. Cottage Cheese (small curd)

16 oz. Sour Cream

4 Eggs

2 Tbs. Milk

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

A dash of cinnamon


1 Egg

1 Cup Milk

Frosted Flakes (approx. 3-4 Cups)

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix noodles, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, 4 eggs, 2 Tbs. milk, sugar, salt, and a dash of cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour mixture into a greased 9X13 Pyrex glass. Crush Frosted Flakes in Ziploc bag with rolling pin. Sprinkle cereal with cinnamon and toss to combine. Evenly spread Frosted Flakes on top of the filling. Beat 1 egg and 1 cup milk until frothy. Slowly pour over Frosted Flakes.

Bake in preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours.

Do you have a favorite kugel recipe? Care to test it out in our Kugel Cook-Off? Let us know!

For more tasty ways to support inclusion for adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities, save the date to join us at The Tasting on May 12 at the Stave Room. You can also purchase a Tasting Card for restaurant discounts in June, on sale soon!

*Images from Kugel Cook-off are pre-pandemic, February 2020.