Shabbos House- it’s all about the salads

Its Friday night, and I have been waiting all day for shabbos. I have been pretty much fasting and eating the bare minimum in order to leave my stomach fallow for tonights feast. My butt is sore as I sit on a wooden bench waiting for the crowd to shuffle in. The crowd is striking every time. Girls in mini skirts and halter tops play with their cell phones and check out the guys. Guys in Abercrombie jeans, white frat boy hats and button down shirts shuffle from table to table smhoozing about how drunk they will be in a few hours.

Then there is me, the rare breed. I dont even attend school here, am 4 years older then most everyone in the room, orthodox, and am practically in a puddle of my own drool just betting with myself what the menu will be tonight. I am in my own world debating whether the corn chips or tam-tams will gracefully adorn the ever famous chip salad tonight. Will there be olive tapenade- to give my challah crusts taste? Will Raizy make some chrayonaise? Will there be white meat chicken, by some chance? Will washing take forever or will we be spared from the curse of the dishartening lengthy hefsik between washing and hamotzy? Will desert be apple crisp, moose pie, cookies- or maybe penut bars if where lucky? No one knows and no one really cares- but I do as I sit without a care conjuring up my food pornography ion my mind.

Suddenly everyone is holding up plastic 9oz cups of kedem grape juice with 37 grams of sugar in each serving- I notice the low carb girl types are always very sparring with this drink of death for the low carb hobbyist. “Ki vunu vacharte…..” Mendel starts to chant and those souls who happen to be forced into shull or sunday school immediately join in on this familiar song. I have come to the conclusion that the FFB’s can be picked out of a crowd if they know the words to Aishes Chayil. Kiddush comes to and end, my heart is pounding with excitement- I want to scream with joy about the upcoming medley of salads and gefilte fish that is about to be happily accepted into my empty and growling stomach.

For some reason the Rubins have the food service down to a science. One would think that if there are close to 200 people, albeit hungry Jews about to get a free meal- all havoc would ensue when the first morsel of food was placed on the table. One would think that these Jews would start a stampede -like in shulls in NY at big hot kidushes- the second someone got to the salad course. But no, maybe it’s because due to their lack of frummy status they have manners or due to Dr.’s Mendel and Raizy’s ingenius plan of serving and cleaning they have surpassed all expectations even from hungry madmen like myself.

The second hamotzy ends, the food is out and ready to be devoured. All of the sudden chip salad, fish and sweet red chrain, olive dip, brocoli salad and pasta salad are on the table. It always amazes me how fast every thing gets there and how there is no painfull wait for the first course like in most Jewish establishments. I think it’s done to prevent walkouts. Many of the shabbos house patrons are giving up a precious Friday night for this and they better get their food quick or Papa Johns is gonna have a whole line of hungry Jews.

Even though the chip salad contains the- constantly made fun of on this site power washed lettuce- somehow Raizy has developed an art of turning this species into goodness by joining the power washed lettuce with the forces of garlic tam-tams and a rather creamy helping of sweet honey mustard dressing. This helps with actually making dole lettuce taste and look like it hadn’t just come through a car wash. How many times must one go to a large meal, only to find that the only chrain present is the – (old man in back of the shull who speaks yiddush white strong golds chrain)- this is constantly a let down, sweet red beat type is the way to go especially if one must do it up yeshivish style and throw some mayo in the mix. The chrain dowsed fish combined with multiple forkfulls of chip salad really hits the spot- hey if I weren’t religious I would totaly be turned on- “hey Rabbi if I become religious, does my wife get to make me this kinda chow?”

I am one of those guys at the table who is always shoveling massive quantities of food into my mouth. My area is always dirty, covered in challah crusts and food scraps, stains always compliment my shirt. During the speaches and announcements by various campus groups- most of the people have had their salad fix and are looking forward to the real stuff, while I relish in this time because the best part of the salads are the bottom of the bowl- where all the dressing has gathered and the small cut up rare, hard to find peices of tomatoe and cucumber congregate at the bottom anbd discuss their battle plan on hiding from the lurking bottom of the salad eaters. Everyone is goving the undivided attention to the announcements about karioke night, or a latke eating contest, while I go to work- I am at war- must get the dressing and all the smaller chunks and must try and do it all without making a mess or noise. Annoyed students glance my way- eying me with the “dude cant you wait till after the speeches” look. To which my eyes shoot back and say “go away I am hungry and nothing gets in the way of a hungry Jew eating free food”.

The real reason why I fill up on salads is the lack of white meat chicken- but dont tell the Rubins this. White meat is more expensive and hence the reason they dont have it. But I always manage to find the pinkish white peice of chicken, dump some sauce on my kugel and have a merry time with it anyway. Oh and let us not forget the spinach pie. The delicate yet satiating crust that flows with spinach or whatever may be put in its shell. Ah the spinach pie- such goodness- yet the students tend to shy away it seems.

Desert is hit or miss, usually hit. If not there are always some week old brownies lying around. Brownies are like the ultimate food. No matter how long they lie around thery taste good, some brownie conneisours even claim that brownies age – in fact they age best in sherry and aluminum trays. I had brownies that my old roomate made and had in the fridge for a month. One day I was bored and decided to have a try and they rocked- breakfast for the next 4 days for me.

Its not really all about the food- it could go either way. Crappy people and good food, Crappy food good poeple. I have had both. Good people cant make crappy food taste good, Thank the good Lord that the Food rocks and the people rock. But then again how can such good salads come from someone with no heart?