Sunday, February 28, 2010

Purim Wrapup - The Early Returns....

Happy Purim!

There will hopefully be more updates to come, but I thought I'd share with you a bit of Purim retrospective for those who enjoy this sort of thing.

StOp On bY tOdAY for SomE HAMAN MEN!!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pre-Seudah Blog Bash

Since Purim is on a Sunday this year, many of us do not have to work and have a bit more time to engage in a bit of Purim fun.

We here at Guess Who's Coming To Dinner are putting together a little show for our readers. There will be refreshments and skits.

Baked Lecho Dodi will be singing Divrei Torah in rhyme.

Efrex will be singing musical theater while juggling Wusthof knives.

Brunhilda will be doing a Purim cooking demo.

Michael Westin will be holding a Hamantaschen eating contest.

Not Anonymous will be randomly picking fights with arriving guests as they enter the venue.

Daughters In the Parsha will be sizing up ("Do you have anything in a 36 long?") every eligible male in the place.

tnspr569 and aN Dy will be giving a dating workshop entitled "Zipcar: Good for Shidduchim, Bad for the Wallet" (all the while trying desperately to catch DIP's eye...)

YDL and Yekishe Bekkishe will be participating in a wrestling match, clothed in traditional 19th Century German Jewish garb. Betting is encouraged. All proceeds go to Moreshes Ashkenaz.

Thanks in advance to everyone for making this bash, as well as this blog, the success that it is!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Only Get To Do This Once....

A really, really good Purim prank only works once.
Last year's Purim blog post was such an event.
I'm linking it here for those of you who have joined my readership in the past year.
I will tell you that this was a very interesting lesson in the anatomy of a rumor and how LIGHTENING FAST it spreads!!!
Minutes and I do mean minutes after the post went up I had calls, instant messages and emails. Meanwhile, Joey is the only one who actually GOT to Florida this year......

"Does This Purim Costume Make Me Look Fat?"

You are 100% correct, gentlemen! There is no right answer to this question.
Of course, female friends are allowed to say, "Maybe a little in the back...." with impunity.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Purim in the 1930's

This is an AWESOME costume idea!!!
Can everybody tell what my father and his brother were dressed up as?
Each correct answer earns the right to stop by my place on Purim for a Haman man ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fro-Yo Fantastique!

Thanks to the largess of the folks over at CSN Stores, I received a box on Friday containing my brand new Deni Automatic Ice Cream Maker.

Many years ago I had a similar, hand crank ice cream maker and I enjoyed it very much while it lasted. But it was smaller and manual. This lovely product is electric and requires no cranking. It also has a larger bowl and can make more ice cream at one time.

You need to pre-freeze the receptacle for at least 8 hours (the manufacturer recommends, and I concur, storing it in the freezer at all times so you are always at the ready when cravings strike).

The machine was very easy to assemble and surprisingly quiet when running.
Since I'm currently trying to keep things on the lean and healthy side around here, Jen and I decided to make some frozen yogurt on our machine's maiden voyage. What could be simpler? No fancy recipes (though the machine comes with a lovely little handbook containing recipes for many delicacies from traditional vanilla ice cream to sorbets to fancier concoctions with names like Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream and Pina Colada Sherbet). We just opened two containers of yogurt, flicked the switch and poured them in.

Twenty minutes later we had delicious soft served frozen yogurt.
I might mention that cleanup was a breeze as well.
I can't wait to try the included recipe for Chocolate Frozen Yogurt.
Here are some "during" and "after" photos to whet your appetite.

Postscript: I made frozen yogurt again - this time for one. A bit too much of the end product became overly frozen and stuck to the walls of the container. I guess this machine works better with larger batches.... Fro-Yo party anyone?

(Side note off topic to Perlsand and Annette - Please check the comments section again on the Haman Man post for a new comment about your grandmother)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It sure has been a while since I've participated in the Not Me Monday blog carnival, but this past week was too good not to share.

I do not have this little idiosyncrasy which causes me to not repeat (mostly side) dishes (and desserts) week after week. I do not feel this overwhelming need to "rotate" my menu so that the natives don't get bored (like they even remember what was served yesterday....{eye roll}).

This was going to be Erica and Moshe's third (and last for a while) Shabbos with us in a row. Since they've been staying with us for quite some time, I was running out of unique food choices that would please everyone's (not) picky palates.

I did not misplace the recipe for an unusual Red Cabbage Salad with garlic, peanut butter, pine nuts (never again! see this post), sesame seeds and chow mein noodles that I know Moshe enjoys (not the same salad mentioned in the post I just referenced).

I did not spend the better part of Thursday night and Friday morning composing emails to all my various email "lists", asking if anybody had such a recipe. I did not waste a lot of time on Google searches and recipe website searches. I did not finally give up at the 11th hour and sort of "wing it" with the recipe (which came out pretty good considering....). I most definitely DID NOT log into my email Saturday night to discover that a woman on my Jewish Food List had indeed come through for me (if not a day too late...) with the correct recipe posted on THIS LINK.

Now look carefully folks! The author of that post on the group blog known as Kosher Cuisine was definitely NOT none other than yours truly (Oh no! Not me!!!), whose memory seems not to span recipes she posted a mere year ago.....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I've Got Your Daas Torah RIGHT HERE!

(With only one week left to Purim, I feel compelled to take a break from the merriement of Adar and post this one "public service/safety" post. I promise there are more, "lighter" posts ahead....)

I said my piece last year with regards to Purim drinking and undoubtedly nothing much has changed.
Yeshiva bochrim will still employ peer pressure to glorify drinking (under the guise of doing a mitzvah, no less).
Parents will still throw up their hands, act helpless and relinquish control of their teenage boys.
There will still be the "it's not so bad... lighten up..." crowd, who in my mind are worse than the the hand-thrower-uppers because they are legitimizing the behavior.

There's really nothing left for me to say but to post this very important link for your listening pleasure.
Please take a moment to listen VERY CAREFULLY to what Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky says about drinking on Purim. I urge you to care enough about your children, you neighbors and your community to listen to the entire recording, but if you cannot, at least listen to the first 13 minutes and pay particular attention to what Rav Kaminetsky says between 11:15-12:30 on the recording.

Wishing everybody a happy and safe Purim!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

G6's Guide to Guests

Which guest are you? (please don't tell me I'm sexist. These labels apply to both men and women and I tried for a fair distribution....)

1) Mr. Filofax: He calls on on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan for a meal invitation on Tu B'shvat. He dutifully marks it down in his appointment book but you won't and you'll totally forget about him until the Thursday night before.

2) Mr. "Hayom Yom What L'Shabbos?!?": He's the guy who emails around midnight on Thursday night asking for a meal invitation and after you tell him that he can come, he'll tell you that he's got three friends sleeping in his apartment this week that need a meal too. He might then cancel Friday morning because one of his friends invited him to go skiing at the last minute.

3) The Shopper: This guest will receive an invitation from you and ask if she can "get back to you". She will wait until the end of the week to decide which of the three invitations she has received over the next several days is the "best one" and accept that one.

4) The Educated Shopper: She'll ask you outright "Who else is invited?". If she doesn't like the rest of the guest list, she'll likely tell you she's "busy" that week. The Pushy Educated Shopper will tell you who else you should invite along with her.

5) The Powder Room Pair: They only accept invitations as a couple. They are the same sex.

6) Veggie Heaven: The lacto-ovo-vegetarian who won't mention this critical piece of information until he calls Friday morning for your address. He casually says that he's "sure it's not a problem....".

7) "O.A. is an Allergy" Girl: She's on the Overeaters Anonymous program. She won't want to mention this so she'll tell you that she is allergic to wheat, sugar and eggs. She'll bring her own spelt challahs and ask you for the ingredients in every dish at the table.

8) The Wandering Jew: He's the guy who gets up in the middle of the main course and starts scanning the bookcases. He'll find a volume of interest and have a seat on the couch. His plate will still be piled high. If you begin clearing the course, he'll tell you that he's not done eating yet. He often sings to himself during table conversation.

9) The Hungry Anorexic: Self explanatory... She will take the LARGEST serving of everything on the menu, proceed to cut it all up into tiny pieces and eat one bite of everything. She will help you clear the table and pronounce as you are scraping the hefty contents of her plate into the garbage that "Everything was delicious". Zemiros will be extra long that week, as she will spend a protracted amount of time in the ladies room.

10) Mr. "My Momma Raised Me Right!": He'll compliment every dish as it arrives at the table. He'll take doubles of the burnt rice because nobody else touched it. He'll send a beautiful thank you note after Shabbos.

All you hosts and hostesses out there - feel free to add your own!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Come Again?

I think that I've already mentioned that I work at a location that serves lunch to senior citizens each day.
Consequently, there is always food around, which can be very bad for the diet.
As I passed the steam table today during the lunch service, I asked our kitchen aide if he could please give me a cup of broccoli. I declined his offer for a piece of lasagne in an effort to eat more sensibly.
In his trademark thick Russian accent, my co-worker announced to me, "You know, you can watch what you eat and still not lose weight because as they get older, women put on weight....".
Did he just call me fat or did he just call me old???

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Man Who Could Be Bezalel....

(a post apropos to this weeks Parsha...)

The entrance to 14 W 45 Street in the heart of New York's diamond and jewelry district is small and unassuming. The best way to describe the elevator that ascends to Raphael Silver Repair & Antiques would be to describe it as a creaky "his and her" sized coffin. But once you arrive at your destination, you'll be glad you put your claustrophobia aside for a time.

The space is small and simple, as is the man at the helm. A small, white bearded, self-effacing "yid" by the name of Raphael shuffles softly from one antique vitrine to another, holding up specimens cramped within. His eyes gleam as he shows a particularly beautiful 100+ year old cup and he describes the "fine" engraving work. One would never guess that this wizened chossid is frequently commissioned by the White House to fulfill their silver gift needs (ALL their gift needs, not merely limited to judaica) and do complex engraving for presidents and dignitaries. Nor would one suppose that the Dupont family is a valued customer and that he currently has pieces behind his desk with lot numbers from the recent Tavern on the Green liquidation auction. Raphael's greatest achievements though, are the instances where he lovingly and expertly restores time ravaged pieces of synagogue "klei kodesh" to their original glory. And yet, if you commend him on his accomplishments, he will tell you that these are all "shtussim" and his true pride comes from his children - renowned poskim of our day.

On our recent visit to purchase and engrave Kosos for our granddaughters for the upcoming Pesach sedarim (we purchased one for our grandson already at his bris), he tells my husband that he often thought about getting out of the business. My husband replies, "But then when Moshiach comes, who will help with all the intricate silver work necessary for setting up the Beis Hamikdash?". Raphael's aging eyes brighten as he exclaims, "That's exactly what my father used to tell me".

I couldn't think of a better modern day Bezalel...

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Jewish Husbands....

A little humor in honor of Rosh Chodesh Adar.

In general, I'm not a big Jackie Mason fan, but this one hits the mark in my opinion....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Haman Men As Far As The Eye Can See

They're lining up over at our house, getting ready to get "strung up", on our door and on our chandelier and to have their heads bitten off by a whole bunch of excited little children.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fun Around The Kitchen Table

With the crowd we've had around the kitchen table this past week, there never seems to be enough comfortable seating for everybody. Jen's been sitting on the step stool half the time when we all gather 'round. I could really use some new stools like the ones listed on this website and I spend quite a bit of time drooling over some of their wares (they've got cool ideas for wine storage too!).

Perfect timing!
As you all know, I'm an active internet shopper and the folks at CSN Stores have offered me an opportunity to do a product review for them from any of their MANY sites.
Hmmm..... now all I have to do is chose a product.
Will it be one of those great stools?
Or will it be something fun from their extensive cookware section?
Home decor? They've got that too.
Suggestions are welcome!
Look around.
Tell me what I should review!

Snowstorm Photos - Day Into Night

(I bet he wishes he had gone inside to park...)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday's Wacky Signs

This billboard sign is located in Wyoming, MN (between Stacy & Wyoming) heading south on 35 just before the Wyoming exit on the east side of 35 just before Stars & Strikes bowling alley. And, yes. It's real. You can check it out on snopes.

(Hat tip: Ricki)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Public Service Announcement - SNOW

Thanks, ProfK for reminding me to post this valuable suggestion.
In light of the impending snowstorm in the NY Tri-state area, please consider any elderly, widowed or ill neighbors.
Why not knock on their door or give them a phone call, asking them if they have everything that they need to get through the inclement weather. Remind them that you are there for them if they need anything.
Tizku L'mitzvos!

Dinner Etiquette Video

I've been a bit busy playing "Where's the Granddaughter Hiding Oh-So-Quietly" this week with my Kayla to have a chance to compose any serious posts, but I did find this video for you to enjoy:

Preparation for dinner at G6's house (though we're minus the "servants"...)

(Full disclosure: Avram only enjoyed the first minute of the video...)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

She Has A Name - She Has A Lovely Jewish Name...

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while now, will remember that 7 months ago, my beloved mother in law passed away. You will never hear a mother in law joke out of me. She was a mother to me - pure and simple.

As I spent her last Shabbos in this world in a cramped and crowded Bikur Cholim apartment, one floor below my husband, on a hard cot, I got to talking with a roommate. We spoke about who and what had brought us there and when I told her about our situation, she said to me, "My daughter in law would never do that for me". I wanted to tell her that she'd never met my mother in law. I don't recall ever arguing with my mother in law. She was sweet. She was loving. She was kind. She personified somebody who is "sameach b'chelkah" (happy with her lot in life) - and believe me - she had in her illness much to potentially complain about. She also did much to give back to her community in her healthier days.

This Shabbos, our dear children named their new daughter Tzipora Chaya.
Tzipora: after my mother in law; a special comfort in this difficult year of aveilus.
Chaya: a tribute to my son in law's grandfather, Chaim.

May we be zoche to dance at her wedding in good health!

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've Turned Into A Cliche....

Truly ... I have!

I've heard it said that it's amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one and that is true.

But eventually we all end out doing all the unbelievably ridiculous and seemingly inept things that we watched our own parents and grandparents do.

I said it would never happen to me. I said that I was a really "young" grandmother (and I am). So please tell me how I happened to dress my granddaughter this week in what I thought was a really sweet little outfit and turned out to be a skirt paired with a PAJAMA TOP.... (I thought the sleeves were a bit snug fitting....).

Tell me also why I need to hold "practice sessions" in stroller folding (with my non-arthritic 10 thumbs) and actually LOST the stroller (no NOT with Kayla inside!!!!) on my way out of Target today (I recovered it within 90 seconds, but I felt like a fool....).

Tell me one more thing. Why is the person who always knows "what's for dinner" and how to keep everybody satisfied with their favorite dishes, subtly allowing her granddaughter to sneak chocolate chips out of the fridge when the grilled cheese sandwich and cup of milk sit untouched on the table?

Oh, and by the way, I think I'm getting to like the feeling of crunched up Life cereal underfoot... (at least until the Excedrin Back & Body kicks in...)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mazel Tov!

With overwhelming gratitude to Hashem Yisborach, we are delighted to announce that our children Moshe and Erica, along with their daughter Kayla, are proud to welcome a healthy baby girl - 7 lbs. 2 oz - into their family.
May we share in many more simchas together in the future!