I calculated how fast I could move my chair back, pick up the tall bottle of sea salt, fling it in his face, grab the knife and the bread, make hamotzy and sit down without anyone trying to stop my actions. It could be done, I could imagine myself push my chair back gently and as the host was making faces at the kids and slipping the aluminum foil on and off the challah making the little kid laugh I could throw the salt in his face to prevent his long tentacles from reaching out at me, his pregnant wife surely wouldn’t have the ability to stop my move, and although his brothers arms were rather long he appeared to be unwilling to make a stand against the prolonged breaking of the bread.
Long after the women shared recipes from kosher by design and long after the men pinched each others butt cheeks as is tradition in washing lines, long after the little kids had their hands washed by bubee and long after everyone had sat down we waited, silently patiently, well except for me. I longed to see the tall and piping hot bread mound stabbed and drained of its life as it was dipped in salt and passed to me, sitting at the end of the table of course, wait was I on the kids table? Did my position on the table mean that I would be eating chicken nuggets while the adults had steak? Oh heavens no- it just meant that I had to wait until everyone lazily passed the ehaping paper plate filled with warm doughy bread to me section of the table, I felt like I was waiting for package addressed to my old address, would I ever get fed?
All these thoughts threatened to take over my rage which was thrown toward the host in silent unknowing ways, should I get up grab the challah knife and make it myself before anyone could stop the crazy challah knife hijacker, I would still have to wait for the humus bowl to come around anyway- eh what the heck I guess I’ll wait.
Although I did have this little bubble above my head imagining me choking the host as I grabbed for the challah which began to roll off the table as the wife dived for it before it hit the floor (I guess they don’t do the whole ten second rule) as I was choked by the hosts father like a scene out of the Simpsons.
So I waited patiently, while thinking about the angry letters I would write to the local rabbinate about forcing hungry guests to wait a long time for the host to make hamotzy and how it surely must be a hefsik and therefore not allowed, there must be something wrong with it Rabbi, I could see myself pleading in a small corner office with stacks of seforim, a first for me considering I am more the type of guy who pleads for ridiculous heterim like the time I wanted to change my minhag from 6 hours to 1 hours between milk and meat.
I guess one may say it was worth the wait, for the challah was mighty fine, it would have been crushing to wait all that time only to bite into a store bought fluffy, freezer burned water challah that had the consistency of that Tyvek insulation you see on newly built homes. This challah was heavy enough to kill a person if thrown from the end of the table, of course it was so doughy it would not have the streamlined ability to actually be thrown, but lets just say it was and it hit the little kid in the face, I am sure the kid would have gotten a concussion. I was rolling in the dough, attacking the challah like a pack of hungry wolves to a freshly killed moose.
There are several ways to tell if your shabbos meal is going to be a good one, prior to shabbos you may want to do a covert reconnaissance mission by checking out the spice rack, fridge, aluminum tray contents and cookbook selection. Spice racks are always revealing for some reason. If you are merely a guest at the meal, during washing you should make a quick survey and when you are at your place you may want to see what sort of cutlery is laid out before you- happens to be that many fancy frum cooks will still use paper and plastic therefore nullifying the fancy cutlery theory.
Another way to foretell the quality of the main meal is by the following words when your hosts wife asks everyone for their preference of soup. The words what type of soup do you want always make me warm and fuzzy inside and its not because of the warm soup. Its because the soup course is often overlooked, and while it is becoming more common for frum people to experiment outside of the chicken soup and matzo ball realm it has not become the norm. Well tonight was my lucky night because they had cabbage and meat soup which was delicious. It was also a great shidduch with the thick juicy challah which when dipped inside looked like a bloody bread bowl.
I am generally not an angry person, besides for when it come to people who make me wait for my bread in absolute silence, and when I do get angry and decide to speak up I just screw myself because someone will always say, now you have to wash again in that constipated teeth clenched talking during davening sort of way. But my anger was all gone now, and as I witnessed the foil trays being loaded onto the little makeshift kitchen Island, I wanted to jump for joy, for a buffet dinner would mean that I would not have to ask the person next to me for the butternut squash kugel 13 times.
Chicken soaked in fried onions, butternut squash kugel, portabella mushroom tops loaded with spinach, potato kugel and I was seated with a napkin on my lap and a fork and knife simulating the action of a conveyor belt. You may have thought I was just sponsored by one of those feed the children commercials, or that instead of being gunned down at the UN rice drop, I was invited by the king of my Sub Saharan African country to partake in his feast. I wolfed it down and barely came up for air.
The folks across from me finished and busted out one of those cheesy “everything’s delicious” lines. I wondered if hosts really knew who liked what and didn’t like what. I wondered if my friends wife had noticed my speedy pace and eyes of passion as I forked down chicken and butternut squash sometimes at the same time, barely noticing anything else that was going on? Do women notice when someone likes their food, or must we be cheesy and do the all encompassing everything is delicious line. Can I not pick apart each dish and rave about its qualities? Or do you just want a generic seal of approval. Do you notice when people take something and take one bite, spit it into the napkin and swirl the rest around their plates to make it look like they ate it?
I sat satiated in a seat designed by a Yekki for sure, it was horribly uncomfortable forcing one to sit straight up and lacked any sort of cushion for my bum. I felt good, especially since last shabbos I went away to some weird persons house and all they had to eat was challah- which I had brought mind you, it was weird to say the least.
Oh and Yoni and Chai my hosts wanted a shout out.
I should also mention that this was my first time staying in Monsey since Purim, and that it was mighty enjoyable, I guess once you leave Spring Valley its a way different environment, I wore sandals to shul and shorts on my shabbos afternoon walk with no worries to think of. I also got to stay in a 230 year old house on 4 acres of lush land. Supposedly George Washington stayed in this house back in the day, in the basement there are two tombstones- one belonging to Mary Forshay- the person whom the nieghborhood is named after.
I just pray to God that whoever buys this house eventually, does not knowck it down to build a McMansion or one of those ostentatious Monsey houses which are ugly as sin.