Sunday, April 12, 2009

Me Myself and I

Since nobody reads this blog I might as well treat it as a personal, albeit not private, diary. Or, as grown ups say, 'Journal'.
This is an entry about me, for me, dedicated to me.
It is about me shopping on Tuesday, finding a relatively cheap produce store for most of the fruits and vegetables I needed. It is about me running to the kosher supermarket for meat and fish and kosher le'Pesach salt and all those small things that make up a meal, spending $184 and consoling myself with the fact that other shoppers had many more things in their carts and were probably spending a minimum of $500, easy.
It's about me carefully selecting wine glasses, checking out various stores for the past few weeks, finally settling on a glass that turned out to be too big. Had I bought champagne flutes people would have complained all the same.

About my paycheck that finally arrives after two months and cannot be deposited because it has the wrong name on it.

This is about me standing and cooking all Wednesday, preparing for three guests, one of whom has antisocial habits such as not eating when everybody else does, this despite that the majority of Jewish socializing happens over food.

This is about relatives by marriage telling you not to buy pots for Pesach because they have so many extra ones you can borrow, but once you pick them up you are told to scrub them with Brillo pads after every single use, which you faithfully do despite all the burning cuts on your fingers from your new knives, afraid to be considered a bad DIL.

This is about my daughter, not a baby, not a toddler, sucking every ounce of strength out of me, depsite her sweetness and lovability, despite her precocious multilingual vocabulary, despite her deliciousness.
This is me wanting to lose weight, something I never had to worry about before.

This is me at 10:00 PM on a Sunday night with a screaming 20 month old on my lap.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Colorful World

I am sick and tired of the black, brown, maybe a hint of camel all around me. Why are frum people afraid of color? I'm not saying you should wear a red dress or fuchsia shoes (do me a favor and no not wear fuchsia shoes) but live a little, the current status is so depressing.

Count your black tops then go out and buy shirts and sweaters of different colors. Pastel colors, bright colors, happy colors. Check your coat inventory, keep one black one and put the rest on ebay, then buy one that's light blue, or white, or teal, or whatever catches your fancy.

Shoes - just because it's winter it doesn't mean you have to be in a black shoe rut. Get some light boots, colored flats, whatever floats your boat.

Handbags - boring, get a red, a blue, a green, a white, do something!

There now, doesn't that feel so much better? The next step is red kitchen appliances!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why Are Republicans So Condescending?

Is it a requirement of the party? Did you see how McCain spoke at last night's debate, beginning with the first question? He sounded like a creepy, conniving grandfather nobody likes, using words like 'goodies' and condescending to the poor questioner.
How did he make it this far? I can't bear listening to him. Do Americans want to be grandfathered that way? Are they this stupid? I refuse to believe it.

"Well, my friends, you see, Barack Obama is an evil guy, as evidenced by my campaign's twisting of his words and chopping of his sentences, whereas I have lots of goodies for you as my record shows."

Yeah, old man, not in my lifetime.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally, something to agree upon ...

... and it's political. Bizarre, I tell you ...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

'Hating' on the Heimish

I was the type of person who always defended chassidim when I heard something negative about them

Until I moved in with them.

I live next to a highly chassidish area and some live in my building. Heck, I even have more than a few relatives among them. All in all they are quiet family people, the women say hello (after looking you up and down and noticing how different you are), the kids ride their bikes and the Mexicans mow their lawns.

My problem is with the men. I get really incensed when I think of the able bodied men who do NOT hold the door open for me when they clearly see me coming toward it with a 17 lb baby and 5 shopping bags. The men who are my neighbors yet have never responded to my 'hello', so I've just given up. The man who didn't warn me my headlights were off at 7 pm on a winter night because when I noticed him trying to talk to me I turned and he saw I was a woman and he made a dismissive gesture and turned away. The hitchiking men who lower their thumbs when they see the driver is a woman (ok, I don't mind that one, I'm not planning on giving them a ride). The men who condemn their women to a life of shlepping a newborn and three toddlers in and out of car-seatless taxicabs.

This is not mentchlichkeit, nor is it yiddishkeit.

I'm sure many of these people are fine husbands, gentle fathers, honest men. But they don't get points from Miss Manners.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I had plans to throughly scrub the bathrooms as well as part of the fridge but I am unsurprisingly too weak for the aforementioned chores. I think I will purge my closet instead. Closer to 30 than 20 (gasp!) , I have finally come to realize that my wardrobe requires a major makeover, which I am trying to achieve by sneaking in new clothes one sale at a time.

I wonder what to do with the old clothes. Some can go straight to a g'mach or Goodwill, but others need to make some money back for their loyal owner. I haven't had much luck with eBay or Yard Sale? Maybe. But if that means I'd have to dry clean dozens of sweaters, I'd rather just give them away.


Should not be worn by anyone. Ever.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Road Rage

Monsey wasn't built for non-driving women. There just aren't enough sidewalks, and mothers with strollers inevitable end up walking on the street. What really pissed me off though was when THREE women with strollers (one of which was a DOUBLE stroller) were walking side by side in suits and sneakers, chatting yentishly and taking up half of the right lane which I was driving on. I had to wait for the oncoming car on the left lane to pass by, then borrow that lane for a couple of seconds. I honked and and made a hand gesture trying to convey 'Have some brains and walk single file on the SIDEWALK which is right across the street from you, if you want to talk go home and pick up the phone!'

You know, I like to walk if I'm wearing the right shoes and as a former city girl I miss walking everywhere but this is not the freakin' city and while there are things I can tolerate, I will not tolerate this non-driving edict these people have, it makes zero sense and causes who knows how many heart attacks, what with the horrible Monsey drivers and their wives who are forced to march in middle of the road.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brown Food

So these people we know renovated their house (read: enlarged it :500) and built a state of the art kitchen with industrial six burner stove, sub-zero fridge, fancy coffee machine, built-in rotisserie, you name it, they've got it. Imagine my disappointment when we were invited for a Shabbos meal and all that beauty churned out... you guessed it... brown food! Oh brown food, how I loath thee, and WHAT A WASTE of a gorgeous kitchen. Give me, give me your kitchen.

(Let's not forget the wonderful bar complete with huge wine rack and cooler, serving... yes, sweet wines... at least it wasn't Kedem!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Dose of Israel

Having stayed away from Israel for a few years, after having spent over 5 years there, I hadn't realize how much about it I'd forgotten until I very recently had the opportunity to stay there for ten days or so. The Israel I was familiar and now reacquianted myself with is not the Israel of spacious Rechavia apartments, smug American youth, inspiring Carlebach minyanim. No, my Israel was one of filthy toddlers pulling on your shirt from antebellum strollers in unsanitary Bnei Brak grocery stores, dropping off unwanted clothing at a gemach in Tzfat and seeing the young mothers with 5 children desperate for a 'new' outfit, the Israel of elderly Russians who in ten or fifteen years have not learned one word of Hebrew, the Israel which chutznikim don't always see or even look for.

It hit me in the face, I had forgotten all about it. The cab driver who has never been out of the country and doesn't feel the pull, does not understand why so many Israelis travel. 'This is home' he says, 'I don't need a different place'. Ma Yesh be' America she ein kan?' What does America have that we don't? He naively expounds. 'Same thing here or there'. If i were to travel I would go to Thailand, my friends tell me people wash clothes in the river, they live in huts, like Israel 50 years ago. What do I need America for. Europe, I am not interested in either. I hear they look at you the wrong way. The French, I don't need them. (I tell him there are many different countries in Europe. He doesn't want to hear). 'But Greece' he tells me, 'Greece is beautiful (how would he know?) I like Greek music, I could listen to it 24 hours day, no problem (I refrain from informing him about Greek antisemitism, or that Greece is in Europe)'. 'This is home', he concludes.

In Bnei Brak, every single car stopped to let me cross the street with the stroller, something that never happens when I try to cross Monsey parking lots. In the makolet, I realized how Americanized I've become when It took me a few seconds to figure out I had to grab a bag myself from a stack hanging off a random shelf.

In Geulah, I had to contend with an Israeli floor shower, indistinguishable from the rest of the minuscule bathroom but for the drain.

I remembered.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Commercialism

Why is it that Kosher supermarkets in Monsey lay out the Purim goods (isn't it a shame that Purim is all about miles of junk food?) on Rosh Chodesh Adar Aleph? You heard me, I said Aleph.
And they bring out the Pesach stuff (more of it every year, God forbid anyone should live 8 days without fake bread or soda) the day after Purim, as if Mrs. Ziegler with her 10 kids and 50 grandchildren is ready for Pesach foods on the 15th of Adar.

Sigh, commercialism.
I much prefer the acute lack of kosher foods I grew up with. Hey, no cavities! And yom tov is the opposite of commercial when you're one of the few in town celebrating it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Linguini with Squash and Cauliflower Sauce

I am a big fan of chef and restaurateur (amongst other things) Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. I caught one of her shows on PBS last Sunday and decided to try one of her recipe. I had never thought to combine squash with pasta, not to mention cauliflower with pasta, but it's a marvelous combination, helped in no small part by the crushed red pepper flakes (peperoncino). The original recipe calls for Fettuccine, but I'm trying to get rid of my chametz, so linguini it was. Quantities tentatively changed from 6 to 4 portions. I also omitted 4 tablespoons of capers.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 plump garlic cloves, crushed, peeled
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 lb butternut squash, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 small cauliflower, cut in small florets (about 1-inch)
1 yablespoon sea salt or kosher salt or to taste, plus more for cooking pasta
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 large can Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
1 pound [dry] fettuccine or bavette
1 cup freshly grated pecorino (or a spinkle of Parmiggiano)


Pour the olive oil into the big skillet and set over medium-high heat. Scatter in the sliced garlic and let it start sizzling. Stir in the onion slices and cook for a couple of minutes to wilt. Spill in all the cut squash and cauliflower pieces, salt and peperoncino on top and with tongs toss all together for a minute or so. Pour a cup of water into the skillet, cover tightly and steam the vegetables for 2 or 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes along with a cup of water sloshed in the tomato containers. Stir well and cover. When the tomato juices are boiling, adjust the heat to keep them bubbling gently. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are softened, uncover and continue cooking to reduce the pan juices to a good consistency for dressing the pasta, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and keep at a low simmer.

While the sauce is cooking, heat the salted pasta cooking water to a rolling boil (at least 6 quarts water and a tablespoon salt) . Drop in the fettuccine or bavette and cook barely al dente. Lift them from the water, drain for a moment, then drop onto the simmering vegetables. Toss and cook all together for a couple of minutes, over moderate heat. Moisten the dish with pasta water if it seems dry; cook rapidly to reduce the juices if they're splashing in the skillet.

When the pasta is perfectly cooked and robed with sauce, turn off the heat. Sprinkle over the grated cheese, toss into the pasta and serve.