Monday, December 24, 2007



No - no - it's not Rosh Hashana again. It's that other New Year. That's just one of the nice things about being Jewish - Jewish as I practice my religion - not Orthodox or Orthodox-Lite or Flexi-Dox - just culturally very Jewish - Conservative if you want a label - with some leftover religious observances left in from my childhood. That way you can actually celebrate two new years - Rosh Hashana and the other New Year. That's the one coming up on December 31st.

And as I've done for - well, I can't really remember how many years - I'll make the same two resolutions. The first is to stop smoking and the second is to go on a diet. The "stop smoking" one is easy - I've done it hundreds of times! I've done acupuncture, hypnosis, self-help books, peer pressure - you name it and I've done it. Maybe this year I'll succeed. Or - maybe not. What's making it easier - or a least making me smoke less - is the fact that smoking has been outlawed in so many places -- no smoking in restaurants, bars, cafes, the malls - and I never ever smoke in my car. So the more I drive the less I smoke. Nevermind that petrol is up to more than 6 shekels per litre - that's about $1.50 per litre or $6.00 per gallon - think of all the money I'm saving on cigarettes.

As for the dieting resolution - that's the toughie. After all - eating is socially acceptable - wherever you are. And Israelis eat all the time and in any place. It's not even as if I nosh all the time - because I don't. I'm not a nosher. I don't particularly like sweets - so no cakes and candies and ice cream. But - oh those parties and dinners out and dinners for friends at home.

Take last week for example. Joey decided to do a barbecue - yes, in the middle of the winter. Actually - we all ate in the dining room and someone did the barbecueing on the meerpesset (balcony). Steaks and mashed potatoes and roasted potatoes (he also lives in Ireland where you never serve less than two kinds of potatoes at a meal) and salads (a particularly delicious one courtesy of Mali), and home-made bread (courtesy of Miri) and gravy and parve ice-cream cake (courtesy of me) and wine. Dieting not possible.

And then there was Ros's surprise birthday party - lots of people and lots of good food. Her daughters Atanya and Yael went all out - what a spread. Quiches and rouladen and a pashteeda (like a quiche without the crust) and salads and cheeses and wine and cakes. Rude not to eat - no? And what did Marallyn and I give her for a present - you might well ask. A gift certificate to be our guest for dinner at one of my favorite steak places - more food.

And on Friday night Myra out-did herself with a sit-down dinner for twenty-one people. Starters consisted of avocado salad and kohlrabi & coconut salad (which we had in India at our friend Sheherazad's house and for which she emailed the recipe to us) and pate and onion jam (courtesy of me) and pickles and home-made wine-cured olives (courtesy of Aharon and Rivka) and seafood salad and an absolutely enormous challah (courtesy of Danny). And that was only the starters.

For the main course we had roast beef and stuffed turkey breast and a rice pilaf, and a casserole of white & sweet potatoes and green beans with almonds and two different green salads. Then she served homemade apple pie and poppy-seed cake and ice-cream cake and some kind of rich, dense chocolate truffle thing and cheese cake (courtesy of Orly) and assorted cookies (courtesy of Annette). And, as Arnon owns Yekev Anatot (Anatot Winery) - lots of good wine. Again - not a night for dieting.

And so my dear readers - I wish you all another good and healthy and happy New Year. Maybe not a slim one - but one filled with the joy of being with all your good friends and eating all that wonderful food - together.

Yalla, Bye.

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