The garlic piece that I have just bitten into is clearing my sinuses, they didn’t need to be cleared but the tears are forming in my eyes from the strength of this little wedge of garlic conveniently hidden in the light green mass of rather pungent in a good way guacamole. It spreads easily on the challah, providing taste where it is needed most, in this case the challah which comes with being a staff member at TIUNY was the staple in need of additives to provide some sort of taste. I longed for the challah of Mrs. Roth, that ever doughy concoction which always hits the spot. Sweet and doughy, mushy, and rather dense it provides my palate with the utmost pleasure as I smear chrayonaise and whatever humus she has chosen to serve that evening, but here I am stuck with this rather tasteless clump of so called challah, more like a piece of mortar that was hardly edible.
Luckily for my sake and the other guests at the table there was a feast of very colorful, tasteful, can I get the recipe for that salads. You know that broccoli salad that every frummy makes, frozen broccoli cranberries and cashews, yes that one- well they all suck usually, providing that mushy frozen broccoli and that cliché sweetness without the crunch of the nuts because they have been stripped their pleasant crunch because some frummies feel the need to douse their salads with tons of sugar and other masking of the tasteless frozen veggies because I was to lazy to be bodek them. Well this cliché broccoli salad that happened to be made by a frum person- she was definitely not frummy though and maybe that’s why the salad tasted so good, it was creamy and sweet, usually its one or the other, sweet or creamy and watery. This salad somehow had the ability thanks to the caring salad maker, to retain its crunchiness, sweetness all the while being thick and creamy, and it wasn’t the sort of creamy watery crap served at the Atrium for the smorgasbord in Monsey, no it was creamy like a good dollop of blue cheese dressing that they serve you with wings while slouched over your PBR at some bar or saloon in Wyoming. As I made my way down the table trying to fit everything on my fish plate that was maybe the size of a CD, I noticed red potato salad with green peppers, thank G-d this lady had kept the skins on, most of the frum crowd takes em off, maybe it’s a bug thing, or maybe its goyishe to keep the skins on, or maybe people in the tri-state aea don’t like their skins, whatever it may be, I tend to get fussy about my skins. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw it, unfortunately at this point in the meal my mind thinks “dude you know if the salads are this good- kal vachomer the meat will be also just as good” and so I wasn’t able to fill up on the rather plain yet beautiful cucumber salad sitting all by itself on the edge of the salad frenzy, waiting for someone to give it some attention. Its thick cucumber slices bobbing up and down fighting with the sliced white onions for oxygen as the fresh dill acted as reeds do to frogs in a swamp, it cut off the cucumber slices passageway to sweet serenity and being able to breathe clearly rather than through some of the air bubbles that momentarily come its way when someone shakes the table or reaches for a taste.
But this lone cucumber salad had something more than just thickly sliced cucumber and white onions, it featured a true rarity of the frum salad tour. It featured FRESH DILL, that’s right folks either the host doesn’t know that dill is a pain to check for bugs and she merely was not bodek it, or she slaved over this dill for hours trying to get those suckers to break free from its ever flavorfull thin leaves. For me the shaken dried dill does not suffice, fresh dill is almost a rare commodity in the frum world, because the suburban lazy I would rather eat power washed dole lettuce than fresh fruits and veggies has taken over. So when I gaze upon fresh dill, spinach, strawberries or any other delightful staple that has disappeared from frum households in completeness almost like the rather quick abandonment of Love Canal when they realized that toxic spills are deadly. Yes since I was a kid the halachos of bodek have become quite extreme, probably just setting up for the point when this greenhouse in Lakewood will become the fruit selling monopoly of the frum world, or you will have to buy your fruits from shomer shabbos stores because the Chinese or Korean fruit stores cannot be trusted with our dear fruits and veggies, what if they added more bugs than the normal amount eh?
The colors at this meal were also easy on the eye, usually the colors of a shabbos meal are reminiscent of a death metal video. You know black and brown foods accompanied by people wearing black suits and black hats. That would be an interesting metal video. We can call the band The chulent and Kugel Avengers, and every one gets showered with chulent and kugel at the shows kind of like a Gwar show. So I must admit the second part of this gloriously colorful meal was rather brown, chulent and kishka. But two items caught my eye and my stomach and my taste buds by the intestines and dragged em all around the table. Cranberry, apple tort it is called according to the cook who wished not to be mentioned for recipe copyright purposes. Well this apple cranberry cobbler as I shall call it surpassed all expectations and must receive honorable mention as the best I have had to this date. A thick double sided crust of chopped walnuts, granola and other stuff that probably didn’t look too good before it went into this extremely satisfying, thick, hearty, crunchy, desert, yet it was not a desert, but rather a kugel type side dish, the best thing about it was that it futher fulfilled my fetish for skins, the apple skins had been left on probably because of laziness but I relished in them. Standing of to its side was another gluttonous concoction of sweet potatoes, brown sugar or cinnamon and whole crunchy walnuts- I wonder if the theme of the meal was crunchy. Well cheers to sweet potatoes with walnuts you rock.
Everything else was good, the chulent had been over beened, but when combined with the kishka it provided a respite from all the sweetness going down at this meal. Deli role was good as well, though I tried to co0nvince the cook that she should try pastrami, mustard, sauerkraut and maybe some mashed potato- she didn’t like that idea.