The half submerged roasted garlic cloves are floating in a small cup of olive oil, situated in the direct gulf stream of the fan blowing sweet waft of garlic straight to my readily accepting nostrils. The table is set rather messy with a pile of plastic cutlery, paper plates, and the ever present garlic clove dipping sauce. My mind wants to scream at my host to say the damned hamotzi already, so I can hog some of the cloves before his wife gets to them.
Why do people always take so long to say hamotzi I wonder. Is there some sort of sick gene inside people that like to make hungry, recent college grads, who’s only non-tofu meal per week is Shabbos? Or maybe they just dont know what its like to starve yourself from early friday morning in anticipation of the friday night meal- due to the fact these hosts have wives who cook for them all week.
At the end of my rope about to grab the challah knife and carve the challah myself- the man finally says it- that sweet bracha signalling the start to an all out fress fest. The saying of that bracha is like the planes waiting for that go ahead from the air traffic control tower, except here there is no line- here we are seated nicely waiting for the damned bracha. Then comes the timeless tradition of having to cut up a whole long challah for just three people, causing even more dispair amongst food freaks like myself. Watching timeless times as the host struggles with the challah for control, challahs every where putting up a feirce fight against the inevitable guillatone of the challah knife. Soft challahs fight back by compacting themselves just before impact and hard challahs just decide to send crumbs flying through the air as a warning to all those waiting that it will fight to the last stand. General challahs last stand, at little challah board.
The garlic cloves go perfectly with my whole wheat challah slice that has finally arived on my plate. I feel that this waiting between washing and the actual partaking of the bread is felt at shabbos tables everywhere. Maybe we can start a union to try and force hosts to speed up the process, just as in shull when the rabbi makes kiddush- all who are straggeling behind are screwed out of that first piece of kichel and herring.
The host is currently at the tail end of the PhD process and almost a doctor. Many would argue he’s not a real doctor, but any bearded dude that hangs out in the university long enough to actually need those patches on their brown corduroy jackets can make me call him a doctor anytime. The hosts Wife is a life coach/hippy healer/feng shuey fanatic/organic food cooker/technology geek. Yes she is quite the interesting one- as is the man who waited way to long to cut the challah.
Frum people like the ones mentioned above are hard to find- yes you can mosy around Bat Ayin, Moshav Modiin and the Carlbach Shull and find some wackos- but many are compromised by drugs, sex and bad Jewish Music. I always wondered why the hippy Jews who love H-shem and Life so much needed the added unrealistic effects of LSD, Shrooms and pot to realize that life is awesome.
Anyway I am fascinated by any sort of frum off the beaten path types. I dont mean “out of Town” as everyone in NY who thinks you arent from brooklyn will tell you what you are like. Is Monsey really out of town? Is any community where you can get kosher pizza without driving 3 hours considered out of town?
I am eating a salmon dumpling or creplach if you are from Boro-Park topped with this crazy sessame, tamari, terryaki, asian explosion. It is adding to the cespool like mess swirling around my plate. Garlic oil mixes messily with asian sauces and whole challah crumps are scattered everywhere about trying to avoid a certain death in these acidic sauces or my preying palate. I am ploying through challah slices, giving my thanks that this rather small table keeps the challah in close proximity and in overflowing abundance to my constantly reaching tentacles. It is always a problem at large meals when theres that point where everyone is pissed off at anyone who keeps asking for challah- but no it is rude to take more then one piece at a time- which brings me to getting up and just taking a stack myself- evoking nasty stares from all the hungry but mannered guests. I know those jelous stares of people possibly more hungry then me, but more caring of their reputations, so they sit there sullenly watching the ballsy dude who will not let his humous go challah free, and not waste his chrayonaise untill every last drop has been happily smeared on that hard to reach challah, neatly sliced into portion controlled half peices waiting for the brave soul to step across the room and snatch them up.
The main dishes are starting to arrive- the conversation was ranging- not one word of Jewish Geography was uttered to my delight. Not one prying question so they can try and set me up with a girl they have never seen or met, but claim is my match. No none of this has transpired as my eyes bulge out of sockets as if this is the first time I have seen non-brown food adorn a friday night table of a person who chooses to wear a hat and bekish to shull. My mind is already deciding on which combination of colorful veggies and wierd grains will gain acceptance to my plate. Broccoli with the flurets a rarity in frum households who only will eat power washed veggies because laziness has enetered into the human mind which is accustomed to fast food and bland tasting dole lettuce. Corn on the cob, long roasted parsnips- wierd- how did they get out of the bottom of the chicken soup pot, one may wonder- or do people actually eat those things? Wow I thought you threw them out with all the other veggies in chicken soup? Its funny because many people do exactly this- you get your broth a carrot and maybe some chicken but all those other winter root veggies found in Yiddishe Mamala soups worldwide make there way uneaten to the garabge disposal. Parsnips, Turnips, and fresh saturated dill pieces are so rudely disposed of in frum homes everywhere.
Hmm..rosemarry chicken, wierd hippy grain/rice conconction. These people are definately not hippies- they donot have the policy of “if its brown flush it down, if its yellow let it mellow”- my brothers friends in Boulder CO, have this policy. No they are way to clean and the wife does not have hair on her face. The food is definately off the derech- where is my potato kugel danmit? How can you call yourself frum and eat Tofu? Hey isnt getting a PhD bittul Zman? Hey you cant have hobbies- your married with kids? Even the kids were cool and interesting.
Yes I am biased- but based on visual assumptions one would assume our snood sporting, shabbos robe wearing kid making hostess was a typical frummy, and our bekish ladden black hat wearing host was of the same breed. But no all expectations are blown away and the constant visual judgements of myself and just about everyone in the frum world are false.
Looks can be deceiving- Even I look like a normal frum boy- I am anything but- of course when I had long hair down to my shoulders while still being that same frum boy I didnt even have to open my mouth, because it was assumed I was some crackhead from Brooklyn who was Off The Derech OTD- is assumed whenever you dont look like everyone else. Well anyway I liked that better because they still think I am strange but that is after I mention that the Industrial Revolution is INTERESTING to me.
Anyway mango sorbet rocks- especially when accompanied by a brownie- no they were not “special” brownies just plain good ones. Then all of the sudden its shir hamalos- just like that no warning just boom benching has hijacked my meal- no why cant hamotzi have this kind of Greman Precision- no hamotzi has to resemble an American car from the late 90s while the conclusion of the meal can resemble a BMW.
Someone should publish a Hamotzi making manifesto
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