Showing posts from March, 2010

Pesach 5770 (2010) -- First day

First, the guests.  This year, we will have 16 people at our seder.  Our immediate family, our newly married son and daughter-in-law, my parents, and a family of four friends from the community.

Our original plan was to have my sister and her family with us, but we found out last week that three of their children have the mumps.  We are very sorry that they will not be joining us and hope to spend many happy pesach seders with them in years to come.

Thankfully, this blog has proven its worth.  My menus for the past two years are online here and here.  And so without further ado, here are our plans for this year!

Seder Plate: Shank Bones Roasted Eggs Lettuce Haroset Horseradish Parsley
Dinner: 16 Egg and/or Potato with Salt Water Beef Stew w/ Red Wine Chicken Breast Meatballs with Garlic Roast Cherry Tomatoes Mashed potatoes Green Salad w/ Vegetables Ice cream (Parve)
Lunch: 13 Tomato soup Corned Beef Grilled Chicken Broccoli Kugel Israeli Salad Quinoa Matzo Farfel

Pesach 5770 (2010) -- Giving Thanks

What a year.  I have been blogging for almost three years.  The first post on this blog was on August 2, 2007.  Since then, we have celebrated two Pesach holidays.  The first in 2008 was pretty standard for our house.  We had many sleep over guests (9), a two day holiday (shabbat and sunday) and clear skies on the horizon.

The next Pesach was different.  One of our son's was suffering from late stage kidney disease and preparing for a transplant.  We had identified a donor and finished the final tests two days before the holiday.  My son was exhibiting a number of scary symptoms, including a lack of appetite and energy.  He had lost more than 20 pounds.  With that environment, our goal was to survive the holiday and move on to the transplant.  The number of pesach posts from that year really confirms it.  Our seder was nice, but somewhat quiet.  Our family does not eat kitnyot (rice, beans, corn and other items on pesach).  Since my son was sick, we had received a special dispensa…

The pesach before pesach

We are already kosher for pesach in our house, all except a small area in our laundry room.  That means that all cooking from now until the end of pesach will be kosher for pesach.  On the one hand, its a pain because we need to take out our pesach dishes, pots, pans and utensils.  On the other hand, I usually cook at least one or two low-carb foods per meal, and hence not cooking with flour is no big deal.
We started the weekend run-up with some bad news.  My sister's children have the mumps and hence will not be with us for the seder.  Major bummer.  Our seder count dropped from 22 to 16.   We will very much miss their presence.
Next, we realized that we had no guests for this shabbat.  Our meals were scheduled for 7 and 9 people respectively.  Way to small.  I don't know how to cook for seven.  God help me when our kids leave and I need to cook for two. I mean one chicken for a whole meal?  No way!
Fortunately, we have good friends and one of them is coming over for lunch.  Di…

The smell of the season: Garlic

Garlic has been on my mind for a few weeks now.  It seems that others are also thinking about it here and here.  The season in Israel for fresh local garlic is only about three weeks long and always falls out just before passover (pesach).  So today, I took a break from cleaning the oven (a long long job) and went to the market for garlic.

Here is the box of garlic that we bought.  Its about 40 pounds (20 kilograms) of fresh garlic.   The car smelled wonderful and there were no vampires anywhere in sight (ok, it was daylight, so its not fair).
Once we got home, another son and I braided it all into two large chains which we then hung outside.

Now our porch smells of garlic.  Pesach is going to be great and garlicy.
May you all have a healthy holiday and remember, party on dudes! and be excellent to each other.

The week that was and the weekend that isn't

No news is good news.  That was this week.  Busy, but with nothing particularly interesting on the home front.  The political arena was a three ring circus.  Obama and his cabinet continue to look like novices to the Israeli public.  The "insult" occurred when a planning commission announced a new building permit in Ramat Shlomo.  First, Ramat Shlomo is not in East Jerusalem, its in North Jerusalem.  Secondly, its not in or near an arab neighborhood.  Third, it is on land annexed by Israel in 1967 and on which no Israeli government has suggested a building freeze.

What I find most interesting is that not one of the opposition leaders in the Knesset has suggested that Israel should not build there.  Doing so would mean admitting to your constituents that you are willing to give up annexed, settled land.  This is so far from the accepted norm that it would be political suicide to support a freeze.

Eli Yishai and his ministry exposed the American and Israeli positions.  For Oba…


Small meal friday night, big lunch Shabbat afternoon.  This was a food day.  The Passover holiday approaches and we try to clean out the pantry before hand.  Our big accomplishment was to bake Challa.  I used this recipe.  The loaves look amazing, but I don't know how it will take.  My friend the bakers daughter gave us lots of tips.  I'm sure that's why they look so good.

Our orange tree is in season.  We have so many oranges that we are making fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast on Saturday. It is soooooo sweet.

Here's our menu this weekend:
Shabbat Parshat
Shabbat Parshat Vayakhel-P'kudei
Dinner - 8
Vegetable soup
French fries
Naked Schnitzel (package schnitzel with no covering)
Garlic Meatballs and Potatoes
Pita chips and Ful dip (ful is a kind of bean)

Lunch - 18
Meat Roll
Onion Meat loaf (fried onions incorporated in the meatloaf)
Garam Masalla Pargiot
Curry Pargiot
Swedish Vegetables
Israeli Salad
Garlic Green Beans

Quiet weekend (the calm after the storm)

All is well and we are returning to our regular scheduled programs. One family is eating with us for friday night dinner and we are alone (my God!) for lunch. I'm looking forward to the rest and relaxation that shabbat gives us. I'm also looking forward to playing the new board games that we now have (Galaxy trucker, Agricola and Dominion).
On the food side, we are cooking sides for a friend of ours who is bed ridden. Somehow she torn a muscle in her leg and is now bed ridden for a few weeks. Her friends have arranged for meals to be delivered for shabbat.
Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisha Dinner - 13 Garlic Chicken Vegetable soup Red Curry Beef Roast Chicken Lentils braised in wine Corn Relish Rice
Lunch - 7 (how do you cook for only 7?) Spinach Meatloaf Prepared Shnitzel Artichokes Left-over sides Green Salad

Modest = Privacy?

In modern judaism, there is a concept called 'tzinut'.  It applies in particular to women's clothing.  A dress that is too short, or does not cover the shoulders or shows too much decolletage is considered to not be tzanuah.  I was taught that this word meant modesty.

While learning gemara today, we can across this word in a different context.  A person does not want others to trespass on his property because it is not tzanuah.  The translation there is 'privacy'.  That is, you don't want people passing on your property because it violates your privacy.  Clearly, the term modesty is not a good translation.

If we take this translation, women should wear appropriate clothing not because they want to be modest, but because they want to preserve their privacy.  They should not expose portions of their body that they want to remain "private".

Consider the Amish.  They observe the concept of modesty.  Their clothing has no zippers because these would be imm…