Theresa Loong is a documentary filmmaker and a Feet in Two Worlds food reporting fellow.
Kim Ima’s Treats Truck offers Passover treats not just once a year, but all year-round.
Among the tiny lemon bars, pecan butterscotch bars, chocolate truckers (chocolate cookies with butter cream) and other delicious bite-sized treats, customers usually can find an apple cake made with matzo meal and potato starch and the holiday mainstay of macaroons.
Ima, whose father is Japanese-American and mother is Jewish-American, expresses her heritage in her business.
Cooking as a profession comes from her father's side of the family. Many of them were interned in Minidoka, Idaho, during World War II and Ima’s grandfather was a cook in one of the mess halls.
“They had to work with whatever food they had," she said. "Some of it was okay, some of it was not so okay. There are certain things they will not eat because of the memories from that time period."
Sitting next to the cash register there is a white statue of a Japanese “lucky” Maneki Neko cat with its left paw raised.
“I just always grew up with businesses having a beckoning cat for good luck and prosperity and to me that’s just as much a part of who I am as anything,” she said.
But it was the women on her mother's side who taught Ima to bake, particularly during the Jewish holiday of Passover. One of the recipes she learned how to make from them was the apple cake that has become a foundation of the Treats Truck.
“A lot of people like it on the truck and they don’t even celebrate Passover," she said. "Some people say, 'I just love that apple cake' and I say, 'It’s for Passover.' They say, ‘That’s fine, just give me a slice.’”
Apple Passover Cake
Makes one 9x13 cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 -by-13-inch pan.
2. To make the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and white sugar. Stir in the matzo cake meal, potato starch, and cinnamon.
3. To make the filling, in a separate bowl, toss the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4. Pour half the cake mixture into the bottom of the pan. Layer the entire apple mixture on top, spreading it evenly over the cake mixture.
5. Pour the rest of the cake mixture on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
6. Bake for 45 minutes.
Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Fi2W podcasts are supported by WNYC, New York Public Radio and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.