Category Archives: Shabbat
If it can go wrong, it will.
Take the picture above, for example. I was out with a bunch of hungry bloggers one evening and this was on the menu at the restaurant. Since my friend Toby has a blog featuring jewels such as this one, I snapped a pic on my phone and sent it to her. Now that I needed the picture for my own blog post, I couldn’t find it. Luckily, I just hopped over to Toby’s blog and snatched it back.
I wish all of my life could be this easy. But “man plans, God laughs” seems to be the theme song of my life. Take last Friday night for example…
This Friday Ju-Boy and I are celebrating having survived six years shackled to each other in matrimony.
It’s Friday morning and I’m puttering around in the kitchen starting to cook for Shabbat. Ju-Boy is off talking to God, Chip is snoring away after a late night out. Didi would love to be snuggled deep in bed after a late night out, but she’s off early for her National Service gig. I’ve got the kitchen all to myself, Barry White is on the stereo (you all should know, Barry is excellent for cooking, while The Boss is the best music for cleaning), when I hear a noise on the stairs. Shy-Boy, despite the fact that he went to bed late last night after a marathon of X-Boxing, shuffles into the kitchen, helps himself to a bowl a cereal and utters the magic words, “Can I help?”
Once upon a time, not that long ago, but long ago enough that it happened in Chapter One, I was in the mall one evening and there was some kind of a New Age fair being held in the middle. There was a woman sitting at a table with a pile of Tarot cards and a few pretty pebbles, and she told me that if I would cross her palm with silver (or a 20 shekel note) she would read mine (palm, not the money). I’m not even sure if I believe in palm readings, but, why not? I sat down and she took my hand in hers.
“You are going to have many children,” she told me.
I absolutely love Friday night! Friday morning, that’s okay, too. Friday afternoon, not so much.
I once read somewhere, back when blogdom was in its infancy, that one kitchen diva’s nightmare was that guests would arrive and there wouldn’t be anything on the table they were willing to eat. Haven’t most of us had that nightmare? You know what I mean… you invite guests over for Shabbat lunch and it turns out they are macrobiotic raw foodists who don’t want to go near your cholent, or snaggle-toothed carnivores who turn up their noses at your tofu curry. You just can’t win with some people.
I used to be one of those guests, once. I was a vegan for 5 years back in the mid-90s, eschewing meat, eggs, dairy, any kinds of animal product. I totally freaked my friends out. It’s not that I was being kind to animals, it was that animals weren’t kind to me, I had problems digesting animal protein and a vegan diet was the only one that worked for me back then. These days I’m my old carnivorous self again, although I love catering for veggie guests. When veggie friends come over I can whip some tofu curry as good as any card-carrying PETA member. Ju-Boy gets a bit miffed, though, when they reciprocate but don’t sacrifice a cow for his dietary preferences.
Once upon a time, before my vegan days, I had a friend from back in the hood, Goldie From The Block. Goldie and her very own SugarBear had recently made aliya and I invited them over for dinner. “You know we’re vegan,” announced Goldie. My first reaction? Oy! I spent two weeks researching a vegan menu worthy of Goldie and SugarBear. After all, I wanted that meal to be perfect! I had invited another couple over for dinner as well, and the X (I was married to the X then) said, “This other couple are not used to this alien food, you should make something dairy as well, just as a backup.”
So our guests showed up for dinner, and I started to bring food out on to the table. Potato and leek soup, lentil pie, tofu and sweet potato curry, couscous and salad. I had a fruit salad chilling in the fridge for dessert, to be topped with a forest fruits sorbet. Not a single animal had been harmed or taken advantage of for this meal. Except for when I brought out the quiche. If I was going to cater to the vegans, I’d cater to the non-vegans as well, and I had made a small tomato and onion quiche with lots of cheddar cheese, eggs and cream. As I placed this dairy masterpiece on the table I said, “Everything here is vegan, except for the quiche.”
“Quiche!” exclaimed Goldieblox and her Bear. “Quiche, we love quiche!” and they helped themselves to giant portions of enslaved animal products. “B-b-b-b-b-but,” I blubbered, “you guys are vegans!” “Yes,” said Goldie, “but we don’t expect people to cater for us when we go out!” Goldie may have been married to a Bear, but I was the one who growled then.
But what’s a little oppressed animal cuisine among friends? Although Goldie from the Block and SugarBear have given up their vegan ways, they still are very kind to animals and other living things in the guise of lacto-ovo vegetarians. They live on the other side of town with their three cubs. Goldie had a birthday the other day, and her friends all got together to throw her a party. We all brought something to eat, and in memory of those vegan days I brought along a dish of edamame hummous. No animals were harmed, exploited or taken advantage of in that dish of green. As Goldie tried some on a cracker she told me that it was “juuuuuuust right!”
Don’t let the fact that this is healthy or vegan deter you, it’s yummy, and a nice alternative to chickpea hummous.
- 1 bag (400 grams, about 13 ounces) frozen, shelled edamame
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon tahini
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring the edamame to boil in a pot of water for about 3 minutes. You can also nuke them in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes, until hot. Drain them in a colander and rinse under running water.
- Place the beans in the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it all a good zhuzz until the mixture is the consistency of guacamole. If it’s too thick add a teaspoon of water, one at a time, until the right consistency.
- Taste and correct seasonings.
- Cover and refrigerate until party time!
I grew up in an Eastern European household with the Yiddish flowing like Manischewitz wine, the wine flowing over our kiddush cups every Shabbat, and every Shabbat flowing with chicken soup with matzah balls and my mother’s gehakteh leber.
I loved my mother’s gehakteh leber (that’s chopped liver to those of you (most of you) who didn’t grow up speaking Yiddish). She made it in a large wooden bowl with a double-bladed chopper called a hakmesser. The sound of her chopping the liver and hard boiled eggs greeted me every Friday when I came home from school, along with the smell of onions slowly caramelizing in shmaltz. On Friday night we would start every meal with challah and gehakteh leber, topped with crunchy gribenes (chicken crackling). It was a delicious heart attack waiting to happen. My father actually had four of those heart attacks, eventually dying of complications due to quadruple bypass surgery, but I’m sure that if he could, he would tell you that it was worth it, just to have some of my mother’s wonderful chopped liver. It was, as he often said, geshmak!
Over the years I’ve tried to replicate my mother’s amazing recipe. I’ve come close, but it always eludes me. Perhaps nothings tastes as wonderful as a memory. Perhaps it’s the enthusiasm of the eaters, or rather, the lack of. Not a single member of my family’s joy of liver comes close to mine, or my father’s. A few friends have loved it, the X tolerated it and the kids won’t go near it. Ju-Boy can be counted among those who are not fans, but I’m not insulted, since he won’t eat liver or any kind of offal, in any form. It’s not like he’s cheating on me with someone else’s chopped liver, phew!
He does, however, like my vegetarian paté. It’s almost as labor-intensive as the original, almost, but not quite. With no liver to kasher and chop, the only real work is the caramelizing of the onions and the cleaning up of the food processor afterwards. No wooden bowl and hakmesser to give it that authentic Eastern European je ne sais quoi, or as they say in Yiddish, epes geshmak!
Miriyummy’s Vegetarian Paté
- 4 huge onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- 100 grams (4 ounces) walnuts
- 2 cups canned peas (1 largish can, must be canned peas), drained
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste
- Chop the onions medium fine. Heat the oil in a large pan and slowly caramelize the onions. This can take up to an hour. Don’t try to rush it, this is what gives the paté its authentic flavor. The onions will cook down to next to nothing. When the onions are a gorgeous caramel brown take them off the heat and let cool.
- Place the walnuts in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel knife. Zhuzz until finely ground.
- Add the peas and zhuzz again.
- Add the hard boiled eggs and the onions (scraping every last drop of oil into the mix) and give it a good zhuzz until you get the paté consistency you’re looking for.
- Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Turn into a serving bowl or Tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- Serve with challah, crackers or fancy shmacy little toast points.
- Can be frozen.
The blogosphere is full of contests. I’ve even held one or two here on Miriyummy. One of my favorite bloggers and longtime reads, A Mother in Israel, posted a contest where you could win a tallit. Now, granted, I don’t actually use one myself, but I was tempted. The company offering the prize, Galilee Silks, had some gorgeous tallitot for women.
It was a simple contest, really, just either blog about the contest on your own blog, or tweet about it. I did both. It seems I was the only entrant to do so (blog AND tweet), and guess what? I won!
In spite of the fact that there were some really cool blue and pink and red tallitot for women on offer, I gave my prize to Ju-Boy. The man can be pretty outrageous at times, but his taste in tallitot is really
boring sedate. It seems my man does not want to be a peacock in shul.
The prize arrived just in time for Chanuka. I’ve wanted to get a picture of him wearing the tallit for a while, but he’s made this his Shabbat tallit, and the camera doesn’t come out on Shabbat in the Miriyummy household. This past Saturday night he took it out to give it to Optimus Prime, who’s going to be adding the tekhelet, so I got my supermodel husband to don the tallit for everyone to see.
Galilee Silks has some seriously gorgeous tallitot and other prayer accessories for sale. They seem to cater to the international market (prices are quoted in dollars), but it’s worth stopping by just to look and admire their work.
Last Friday one of my favorite JBloggers, RivkA, of Coffee and Chemo (how can you not love a blog with that kind of outlook just in the name?), finally gave in to the cancer that sparked her blogging life. I say finally gave in, because that was something RivkA didn’t do, she never gave in to it. Even at the very end, it’s not Cancer 1, RivkA 0, because RivkA bat Yishaya left behind a legacy, a message to choose life and to cope with adversity.
I never met RivkA, but I feel like I knew her, through her words, her gestures, her attitude. And based on what her F2F friends have been writing, I wish I had known her in real life as well.
If you go to Coffee and Chemo now, the site is all about life after RivkA. Those of us who read her regularly know that that’s not what she was about. If you are just learning about RivkA now, read one of her favorite posts, Choose Life. That’s how I will always remember her.
RivkA died on Friday at 11:10 AM, and on Friday night the heavens opened up and it rained and rained, gishmei bracha, the blessed rains. I was feeling down due to the news, but when it rained, I smiled. Rain always makes me smile, as it does so many of us here in Israel, and it was as if RivkA blessed us with the joy she always felt in life. A small legacy that can mean so much.