Friday, May 23, 2008
BITS 'N' PIECES
Almost as good as the heading on one page of the English menu at my favorite cafe - "Caffit". They offer "Beagle Toasts". Amazing - as it's a kosher dairy restaurant - no meat served at all.
- When I first came here we all carried plastic baskets to the market to bring our groceries home. There were no such things as plastic bags. No paper bags. You supplied your own reuseable baskets. With all the harm plastics are doing to the universe today we are, once again, being asked not to use plastic. So - we are all going "green". Two weeks ago Ros brought me a wonderful present - two "green" - literally and figuratively - shopping bags - to go with my new "green" hybrid car. And now I'm a good citizen and carry my own reuseable bags to the supermarket. I do feel so virtuous.
- Here's something I need some feedback on. No names or other identifying descriptions will be used - to protect the innocent. I have some friends who throw several big parties each year. I actually enjoy the parties - I know most of the guests and the new people I meet there are always fun and interesting. And the food is mostly great - because the guests supply the food. We are all asked to bring some dish or other. Sometimes we are told what to bring - sometimes it's Russian Roulette - you know - seventeen people bring pasta salad, for instance. It's not that we say "Is there anything we can bring?" We are expected - told - to bring something as our price of admission.
I always kept my mouth shut as I felt that I was being petty. However - why should I have to worry about what to serve when I have guests at my house and also have to worry about what I have to cook when I'm invited to someone elses house? But I'm a good sport - as is everyone else who goes to the parties - and we all show up with our offerings.
Until recently. I was with some friends who also go to the parties. And someone said "Have you received your invitation to bring your own food?" No names were mentioned. And all of us - as one - burst out laughing. Because we all knew who was being referred to - and, it turns out, we all resent it to some degree or other. After all - all of us are good cooks - all of us have guests - and all of us provide all of the food and drink at our own homes when we do the inviting.
Now mind you - I'm very generous. I always ask if my host or hostess would like me to provide some specialty of mine. And sometimes they say "yes" and sometimes they say "no". But it's my option to have offered - theirs to accept or decline my offer - and my invitation isn't contingent upon what food I am told to provide.
So here's my question. How do you feel about always being invited - along with a dish? And by that I don't mean a chateech or chateecha (Hebrew slang for a "dishy" male or female - literally a "piece"). Wouldn't you rather be invited just as a guest - with or without an "offering"? Or don't you care one way or the other? Are all of us being petty?
At least now I know I'm in good company.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE.....
Last Sunday Marallyn and I went to the Mall for our weekly breakfast and afterward to "the museum" - otherwise known as Mega b'Ir (Mega in the City) supermarket. And we headed straight for the meat department where we bought chicken wings. I took them home - cleaned them - which is no small task in Israel as all poultry comes with millions of pin-feathers still left on - and put them in the freezer until the day before Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) when we were going to celebrate with Marallyn's Kurdi family.
On Wednesday I marinated them - a very simple marinade - but absolutely delicious - believe me. Just mix olive oil, some fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh rosemary - don't ask me amounts - who measures - schmoozhle (mix) it all together and marinate the chicken. (If you really want amounts, use about 1/3 the amount of lemon juice as oilve oil and about 1 tsp. of chopped rosemary ) Bubbie Chana and Marallyn's husband inhaled them - so did Marallyn and I and everyone else.
But do you think that's all we ate? Not at all. We ate Marallyn's famous chopped vegetable salad, her sister-in law's matboucha (a tangy salad of cooked tomatoes, peppers and spices), hummus (ground chickpeas with tehina), tehina (gound sesame seed paste), salat chatzilim (eggplant salad with tehina), pickles, olives and pita. That was it for the healthy vegetable part.
Then came the serious food...all done on the mangal (grill) - manned by one of Marallyn's brothers-in law and her son - the father of Sweetsie Tootsie and Sweetsie Girl. We ate - in no particular order - kebabs, regular steak, entrecote steak, chicken livers, shkaydeem (sweetbreads), skewers of beef, lamb chops, brains (only I ate them !), lamb fat (yes, dear readers - pieces of lamb fat grilled until crispy - don't knock it until you've tried it) - and wings.
And we finished with watermelon - cold and sweet and juicy - the perfect ending to all that meat.
You should understand that this took hours and hours - you can't ingest that amount of food in twenty minutes. This was an all-day proposition. And there was still food left over. But you can never prepare "just enough" - what happens if another contingent shows up unexpectedly? Which is actually what happened. Not to worry - we had enough food.
And we didn't eat non-stop. Oh, no. We took time to talk and laugh and play with the kids. But after about five hours we called it a day. Marallyn was smart - she wore pants with an elasticized waist. I - on the other hand - had to undo the button on my jeans!
Now it's really crunch time. I began a diet yesterday - for the millionth time. My cousin's daughter is getting married in seven weeks - and I simply must get into my outfit. Will let you know how that goes.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
REQUIEM FOR A CHICKEN WING - part deux
But as Judi reminded me yesterday all was not lost. There was still a wonderful place at the "Bilu Center" - near Rehovot - that served chicken wings. In fact - they served anything "chicken". Chicken cutlets, whole chickens, half chickens, quarter chickens - and chicken wings prepared in several different styles.
Have you noticed that I am writing in the past tense?
This morning Judi and Marallyn and I decided to drive all the way to Rehovot - not exactly next door to Jerusalem - to go to "Nando's" to have their chicken wings for lunch. A nice outing for a Saturday. The "Bilu Center" is like one of those big outlet malls in the States - all the national chains have shops there - clothing, housewares, books - you name it and they have it. And it's open on Saturday.
So - off we went. And when we got there we even found a parking space almost immediately. A big space at that so that there was no chance anyone next to me would scratch my new car. (OK - so I'm a bit neurotic.) We wandered around - into and out of stores - always in the direction of "Nando's"
I tell you - somebody up there doesn't want me to eat chicken wings. When we arrived at what used to be the restaurant - it was closed. Not only closed - but half torn down. The three of us were in shock. We were almost in tears. And we hadn't eaten breakfast so that we would have room for our beloved chicken wings. So we were also starving.
Judi is the only clever one of us - she carries "noshies" in her bag. But Marallyn and I had nothing. And Judi didn't really have enough to make a lunch for the three of us. What to do? We three quick-thinking ladies called the "Black Steer" - the place for fabulous ribs - and made a reservation. But we were still starving and we still had a long way to go to get to the restaurant.
So - Marallyn and I had our vorschpeis (appetizer) standing in the middle of the street. Marallyn treated us both to big, juicy hot dogs with ketchup and mustard and sauerkraut. We practically inhaled them we were so hungry.
So that when we got to the "Black Steer" we didn't have our usual salad to start - remember, we had all had our vorschpeis. The three of shared a whole order of spare ribs with chips (french fries) and onion rings - but - we drank diet cokes!!
And so this is my final REQUIEM FOR A CHICKEN WING - there is no other place for great wings that I know of - there will be no PART TROIS to this saga.
But wait a minute - next Thursday is Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) and, as I am every year, I'm invited to Marallyn's brother-in-law's for our national barbecue celebration. Do you think he'll have chicken wings?