Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Contest Is Now Closed - Winner To Be Announced Shortly

The Cookbook Giveaway Contest is now closed and the winner will be announced shortly.
I must say that I had a wonderful time reading all of your kitchen mishaps.
Of course NEW stories evolved in the process.
Like the phone call I received from a blog reader 8 MINUTES before Shabbos, excitedly informing me that her camera batteries were dead and she had extra guests coming who would likely polish off the entire recipe that she had prepared to photograph for the contest and how would I handle a missed photo op? (I told her to send me a photo of the crumbs...). In the end, her husband came to the rescue by finding batteries, but we here in the G6 household couldn't get over the irony that our cooking mishap contest was a breeding ground for new kitchen mishaps....

Now for the bonus entry award(s).
Although I originally stated that I was going to give one bonus entry to the entrant that entertained me the most, I really couldn't choose. I am therefore awarding TWO bonus entries. (Joey goes on record saying that, "This is nonsense and encourages our 'everybody wins' society, in which the joy of winning is lost and in truth everybody loses".)

Bonus Entry winners are:
Yekkishe Bekkishe
Hudi Kenigsberg
(with an honorable mention to Star)

The Number Picking Committee is busily preparing the (Indiana Jones) hat for the upcoming official number picking ceremony.
Good luck to all of you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mazel Tov!

Heartiest Mazel Tov wishes go out to blog reader aN Dy, on his recent engagement to "we really need a pseudonym for you". As I told you already aN Dy, she's too good for you :P.

When aN Dy brought his soon-to-be Kallah to our Friday night table a few weeks ago we had a really nice time. I had to behave myself though.... My mischievous streak thought that it would have been SO MUCH FUN to have had the printed L'Chaim invitation that his parents sent out BEFORE he even asked her (!!!) hung up on my refrigerator where all of the other simcha invitations are displayed. She might have seen it when we all went to the kitchen to wash. But that would have ruined his surprise.... {evil grin}
Apparently he sent her on a scavenger hunt throughout Manhattan, to places that they'd been on dates. I sure am glad she said yes! All that postage............. :D

Food Photo Friday - Contest Submissions

With only days left to enter my Cookbook Giveaway, I thought that I'd share with you some of the photo submissions that I received as entries.

(don't Sari L.'s Chocolate Chip Sticks & Deep Chocolate White Chunk Cookies
both from The Kosher Palette look yummy?)

(and these Hot Pretzels - two ways, from Kids in the Kitchen,
were made by Malkie's 14 year old brother!)
[I love the plates!!]

(How cute are Erica's 8 year old identical twin daughters
as they prepare falafel chicken?)

(I made this collage out of Bartholomew's start-to-finish
photo submissions for Fettuccine Alfredo from
Kosher By Design Short On Time. It should be noted that
he brought a bowl over for taste testing that day as well and
it was DELICIOUS... and no! Despite his asking, there are no
bonus entries for his generosity ;) )


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Wacky Signs - What Do YOU Think?

So if you've been keeping up with my posts, you know that:
a) my building recently held a "get to know your neighbors" kiddush and
b) that I baked tie dye cookies for the ocassion.
I also saw this as a perfect opportunity to 'drum up' more Friday night guest business, so I made a discreet sign to be placed next to the cookie platter.
The problem is that Joey felt that it sounded somewhat akin to a pedophile.
Avram thought it conjured up Hansel and Gretel.
I thought it was friendly and inviting......

(this seems like another "Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" situation, if you ask me ....)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Daven with the Yekkes - A Guest Post

(This article originally appeared in What Where When magazine and has been reprinted with the kind permission of the author. I feel that it may be of interest to many of my readers. The photo in the middle of the story is my own. I just thought it fit well.)

Why I Daven with the Yekkes: A Tribute to Chazan Frankel

by Jonathan Marvin

Tzom Gedalia 2010

Sometimes I take heat for davening with the local Minhag Ashkenaz (Yekkishe) minyan. When I overhear conversations about our minyan, often the somewhat pejorative word “Yekke” is preceded by an uncomplimentary adjective like “old.” I must add that this is never from people who have actually davened in our minyan. I have been called a “born-again Kraut,” and I know that other people in our minyan have been raked over the coals for no reason at all, none whatsoever. Ironically, but not surprisingly, some of the worst offenders are themselves of German ancestry and had once been mocked for being different. As Auden said, “I and the public know / What all schoolchildren learn / Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return.”

I have even taken abuse while at the amud! A number of years back, when we were just getting our Friday night minyan started, we tried to join with another (non-Yekkish) group who needed some support. They were supposed to inform their regulars that we were going to do the davening our way as an experiment, but I guess they didn’t get the word out. Halfway into Kabbolas Shabbos, one man screamed out, “This isn’t a Yekkishe shul!” and stormed out of the room. I just kept davening, shaken but not stirred.

I am not of German descent. Why do I do it? Why take the abuse, good-natured and otherwise? Why not just sit in the back of some “normal” shul with my thoughts and a sefer? Part of the answer has to do with a man named Robert R. Frankel. I lived in the Breuer’s community in Washington Heights for 10 years, where he served as chazan for over 50.

From the first time I set foot in K’hal Adath Jeshurun (also called Breuer’s), it immediately made sense to me. It seemed to me that this was exactly what a shul was supposed to be like. The decorum, the choir, the strong sense that everyone knew what to do, and the beauty of the shul itself all had something to do with it. But looking back, I think a lot had to do with Chazan Frankel. When I went back this year to spend Rosh Hashanah in Washington Heights, so many things reminded me of why I strongly believe that our religious lives would be richer if we had more shuls like this. Chazan Frankel embodied much of that, and my thoughts drifted to him as I opened my machzor on erev Rosh Hashanah.

I had heard Chazan Frankel daven for a number of years before I ever talked to him. He was tall and regal in his bearing. His voice was pleasant, but not the kind of voice that comes to mind when most people hear the word “chazan” for German chazanus is very plain, not fancy and operatic like Eastern European chazanus. (In fact, Yossele Rosenblatt left his position in Hamburg because his style was too ornate for them!) Chazan Frankel would pass my seat as he proceeded from his seat to the amud, never smiling, never talking to anyone, tallis draped over his arms and hanging down in the German fashion, davening from Adon Olam at the beginning until Anim Zemiros at the end. He certainly never said hello to me, and, I have to admit, I assumed he must be – to put it nicely – cold, aloof, and standoffish. I even think I was a little scared of him, the way a young child might be scared of a mean old man.

One week, Mrs. Frankel invited me for dinner on Friday night. She worked in the finance office at Yeshiva University and loved to invite “the boys” over for Shabbos. (This grandmotherly “little old lady” later confided in me that she frequently carried $10,000 cash in her purse across Amsterdam Avenue!) I was intrigued but more than a little nervous about having to spend several hours in dark, dour silence. When Friday night came, outside of shul after davening, I introduced myself to Chazan Frankel. Two things shocked me about that first meeting. First, I realized I had never heard him speak English before, and he spoke with a heavy German accent, which just didn’t seem to come across in his Hebrew at the amud. But even more shocking was that he had a sense of humor! He told me a joke! (I eventually came to learn that he had quite a good sense of humor, even a little impish at times.) He was warm, and he joked! So Friday night turned out to be quite a fine evening, the first of many memorable Shabbos evenings with a lot of guests at his table. (In fact, I met my wife at that table, but I will usurp Rabbi Oberstein’s job if I go too much into that.)

On my way home that night, I must have tried to reconcile the two Chazan Frankels: the one in shul, and the one in the street. (Was he a follower of Moses Mendelssohn?) I assumed that his demeanor at the amud was a put on, like a stage personality.

But as I got to know Chazan Frankel, I slowly realized that nothing could be further from the truth. I began to understand the essence of what it means to daven before the amud, the kind of things you can never learn from a “learn-how-to-daven-Mussaf” CD. From the moment he left his seat to make the walk to the amud, it was all business. The absolute dignity and seriousness required to stand before one’s Maker demanded no less. He walked with a certain formality, a solemn procession of one. He stood tall, tallis draped over his arms, almost touching the ground, ready to make his offering to Hashem in the only way a human can, with ephemeral vibrations of sound that fill empty space, and then are gone. He pronounced every word correctly, and with care. I never saw him slouch or lean on the amud. He never wandered from the amud or stepped away from it, unless required to do so by the service. In over 50 years, he was never once late for shul when he had to daven.

Later, I became one of the ba’alei tefila in the hashkama (early) minyan. (Only officially appointed chazanim could daven for the main minyan.) I know he disliked making recordings, but he always found time to sit with me. Was it the unique tune for the words “Vehu yashmi’aynu” in Mussaf kedusha on Shabbos Chazon? Or one of the special kaddish tunes done throughout the year? (They say there are 64 different tunes in Nusach Frankfurt, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more.) Or was it the precise phrasing of the words in birkas Krias Shema? Or perhaps all of the different modes needed for the selichos? Whatever it was, he helped me. By the way, he always had a full-time job working for Shaarei Zedek Hospital, a cause he passionately believed in. He put in all that effort, and it wasn’t even his “primary” job. But it was his life.

Only much later did I learn about his personal life, which he didn’t speak too much about. His father died when he was very young. He sang in the choir in Hamburg as a small boy, and wanted to be a chazan from his youngest days. He even heard Yossele there once, in the 1920s. His commitment to doing things correctly manifested itself as a very young boy. Some slight change was made in one of the Yom Kippur prayers one year. When the time came, he sang his part very loudly the old way, the correct way, in his seven-year-old mind, refusing to change. As I recall, he was kicked out of the choir for a while because of that!

He was, in many ways, the most European person I knew. He never quite came to terms with American informality, and I know he missed Europe, although the Germany he knew existed no more. The closest he could come to that was to visit England, where he had spent most of the war years working in a raincoat factory after being interned on the Isle of Man because of his German origins. But that formality had its limits, even for him. He once told me that when he was young, he was required to go every Shabbos afternoon to visit his stern grandmother, a former Prussian schoolteacher. Once there, he was expected to sit in absolute silence, motionless, with his hands exactly half on the table and half off, until the ordeal was over. He dreaded those visits. Once, when he was a just a little boy, she had him read out of the siddur. He stumbled over the words: "v’tze-eh-tzo-ei-nu, v’tze-eh-tzo-ei ," and she pronounced her ironic verdict: "This boy will never learn how to read Hebrew!" To put it mildly, he never developed a fondness for her. (And fortunate are we who didn’t go to school in Prussia back then. . . )

When he davened on Friday night, he always did the nusach exactly the same, note for note. I once asked him why. He told me the following story: When he was new as the chazan in Breuer’s, he went to four or five people who had grown up in Frankfurt and asked them how the nusach went. Each of them told him something slightly different. So he wove them all together, and that is how he came to the nusach he used. “But why don’t you vary it? Why not do it one way one week, and then another way the next?” “Because then,” he replied, “people will not be able to learn how to daven!” So teaching others, being a model for correct davening, was one of his guiding principles as chazan.

Another time he told me that when he was first starting out, he was scheduled to daven on the 17th of Tamuz (one of the fast days). There was a specific tune for the pizmon said in the selichos that was very difficult. He learned it, and repeated it over and over that night. But when the moment came, he just blanked out. So he had to use some other tune. After davening, the Rav of the shul at that time, who was a stickler for nusach, expressed his displeasure, mentioning in his halacha class that, “a chazan who is not prepared should not go to the amud!”

“Wow. You must have been humiliated,” I said.

“I understood exactly why he did that. He needed to send a strong message that the davening must be done correctly. He was right,” Chazan Frankel replied. Chazan Frankel knew that the davening wasn’t about him. And of course, he became very close with the Rav over the years. (“But,” he told me, with a twinkle in his eye, “I have never again served as chazan on the 17th of Tamuz!”)

He was moser nefesh (devoted) at the amud. On a particularly hot day, I once asked him what he did before the shul had air conditioning. “I had three black suits,” he said. “When I came home Friday night, every piece of clothing was soaking wet. I changed everything from head to toe (and suits had vests back then!). I did the same thing Shabbos morning, and Shabbos afternoon. And I had to pay to have them cleaned during the week!”

I once asked him if he had kavana to be motzi people for havdalah. He laughed. “I have all the kavanos,” he said. I later learned that he made it his business to know the translation of all the davening, even the complex and difficult piyutim said throughout the year.

Of course, the essence of davening is what is in our heart. But Chazal (the Sages) favored a fixed nusach, so that those private and awesome thoughts, which range from the sublime to the silly, remain private and in our hearts when we daven. That being so, how does one comport oneself as the representative of the congregation before the Borei Olam (Creator)? With seriousness, dignity, respect, and love. And that seriousness was the same whether it was a weekday mincha, or Kol Nidre. That is what I learned from Chazan Frankel.

There was never any affect to his davening: no whining or “crying” or sentimentalism. The latest popular songs were never substituted for nusach. When he introduced a tune into davening, it was done with discretion, taste, and sensitivity to the mood, setting, and, most importantly, a sense that this would befit the One before Whom he stood. I think most people today do not understand this kind of davening. But I came to. And I miss it sorely.

About 14 years before he died, I was moving away from Washington Heights. He invited me to his tidy, Yekkishe apartment. “I want to give you my music,” he told me. “If it stays here, it will just get thrown out. The only condition is that you promise me you will not throw it out.” I didn’t know what to say. I certainly felt unworthy of such a treasure. But I took it, and I still have it all until this day. The papers and volumes he gave me include some original compositions, and notebooks from Germany with various hand-written tunes.

Many years later, when I went back to see him (before we started our Yekkishe minyan in Baltimore), he asked me, “Do you ever daven before the amud?” I told him not too often, which was the truth at the time. He didn’t ask, but I think he intuitively knew why I didn’t. Most people today don’t understand this kind of davening. They want to be entertained or inspired. They want the davening to jump out at them and be meaningful, without putting in any effort to understand the complex interplay between musical nusach and the words printed on the page. Many people I meet today don’t even know that davening has scores of different nuscha’os, passed down from the Maharil and earlier, each expressing a particular mood or theme. As long as their attention span isn’t taxed too much, and they get out of shul on time, who cares?

So I was thinking about all of this on erev Rosh Hashanah. I looked around the shul. Not only was the paroches (ark curtain) white: Every seatback was covered in a white cloth. Even the red carpeting itself had been covered with special white carpeting. Every man and boy had a white tie, and I knew the next day the men would stand dressed in white kittels, all-white talleisim, and special white head coverings. The shul itself was ready for Rosh Hashanah. I looked over at Chazan Frankel’s seat, empty as it has been for the past two years. And while I did, the current chazan put on his tallis and walked purposefully towards the amud. He is an outstanding chazan, much closer in age to me than to Chazan Frankel. And he walked to the amud without a smile on his face, tallis draped over his arms in the German style. But now I understand, all these years later, why he doesn’t smile or talk on his way to the amud. And I was truly thankful to be in that place, at that moment, in a tzibur (congregation) where kedushas beis haknesses (holiness of the synagogue) is as tangible as the sound of the chazan’s voice

That is why I daven with the Yekkes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And Now For The Contest......

Here are the official rules for the Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings cookbook giveaway. (If you missed my cookbook review, it's available HERE)

There are TWO (and a half) ways to win. Each individual may enter either or both ways. If you enter both ways, you receive TWO chances to win.
Please follow the rules carefully.
Remember, this is a "yekkish" blog :P

  • The first way to enter is to leave a comment on this post with your most embarrassing/funny/interesting food or cooking related story. C'mon, we've all had mishaps in the kitchen. Just read my recent Food Photo Friday, and you get the idea.
  • The second way to enter is to take a photo of yourself, or someone in your household preparing any dish from any Kosher By Design Cookbook. Alternately, you can send in a photo of the finished product. Email me the photo to All photos become the property of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and may appear in future Food Photo Fridays (unless you specify otherwise, in which case your anonymity/privacy is safe with me... I'm such a pushover... sigh.....). After emailing me the photo, leave a comment to this post telling me that you sent me a photo and describing what it is.
  • The "extra half" way of entering (Joey's idea ... he felt very strongly that there should be a competitive aspect to this contest), is that the person whose comment/photo entertains me/makes me laugh the most, will be granted a bonus entry. I will leave a comment before the final drawing stating who the winner of the bonus entry is.
The winner will be chosen by random drawing and will be overseen by several pushy and annoying members of my household (who, surprisingly, are arguing AGAINST a random number generator program, in favor of the old fashioned "numbers in the hat" method...).

Entrants from all over the globe are eligible, so if you live in Timbuktu you're not off the hook.

You may post under a pseudonym (or your real name) without a Google Account, but please email me so that I can associate your email address with your pseudonym. This is to prevent people from entering more than once with a variety of pseudonyms (you know who you are, you sneaky devils...). If you are a regular commenter and I already know your pseudonym(s), no need to email me. I've got you covered.

Submissions will be accepted until 9 pm (New York Time) on October 31st.
Good luck to everyone.

Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings - A Review

When I first heard that the Susie Fishbein was coming out with another addition to her renowned cookbook series entitled Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings, I had to smile.
I envisioned a recipe that looked something like this:

Go to ur fridge and c if u have any gr8ed cheese, b/c u will need tonz of it for this **awesome** recipe. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't stop eating it, lol.......

But in truth, this cookbook is cutting edge and fast paced, just like the cooks and the palates that it targets. It is clearly apparent that every effort was made to present recipes that are modern and up to date, yet also simple to prepare and that offer healthful alternatives. Ever mindful of today's health conscious generation, Susie includes clever sidebar symbols, indicating which recipes are gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. The only thing that might have made it even better would be nutritional information for each recipe.

Now you know that we here at the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner blog are big believers in the value of family get-togethers and parties. Well, Susie helps create new traditions with four snappy party templates that are definitely easy to recreate in your own home.

Here's just a taste of what you will find inside (pun most definitely intended...):

Pineapple Maple Glazed Salmon

parveYields 6 servings

Three minutes of active work time plus fifteen in the oven yields you a gourmet healthful dish. Salmon is a fish we should all be eating more of. Feel free to experiment with the gamier wild salmon; it can yield even more health benefits than farm-raised.

6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, without skin, pin bones removed

1⁄4 cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup)

1⁄4 cup crushed pineapple, from a small can, squeezed dry

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

2. Rinse the salmon and place it on a parchment-lined jelly roll pan. Pat dry with paper towels.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup, pineapple, soy sauce, mustard, olive oil, and garlic.

4. Pour over the salmon and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with pan juices. Serve hot or at room temperature.

With more recipes like Cranberry Chicken Dippers, Apricot Sesame Roast, Tuna Nicoise Wraps and Red Velvet Cupcakes, (not to mention the Tie-Dye Cookies and Homemade Chickies), Susie Fishbein seems to have hit it out of the park in her goal to create a cookbook aimed at the young and digital-savvy fast food generation and the people who love and cook for them. I've only owned this book for a little over a week and I already have pages sticking together.... a sure sign of a well-used tome ;)

One caveat: Because this book is geared towards the younger crowd, more advanced cooks might find a few of the recipes to be a bit overly simplistic, even though there are enough creative ideas and beautiful photographs to compensate.

As a special treat, ArtScroll is offering GWC2D readers a 10% discount on Teens and 20-Somethings and free shipping (in the Continental U.S. only) on their entire order when they enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout.
On top of that, ArtScroll has made available to all of you a Kosher By Design recipe index. You can download the 18-page PDF of more than 900 recipes for free HERE.
Also, don't forget to check out the Kosher By Design Blog, to find more reviews and contests, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

In short, if you pass up this book and my upcoming giveaway contest you'll risk having major FOMO! (Thanks to 20-Something guest, Esther, who taught me this acronym a mere two weeks ago at Friday night dinner). The giveaway will be posted later today and as soon as it is up, you will be able to access it on the main blog page, or by simply clicking HERE.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food Photo SUNDAY?!??!

OK..... So I can't control myself.

The cookbook review and contest for Susie Fishbein's new addition Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings isn't due for another few days (their rules, not mine....), but after the very successful Tie Dye Cookies, which I brought to my building's "Get To Know Your Neighbors Kiddush" (an awesome idea, by the way.... you should try it!), I was eager to try something different and perhaps savory.

The "Teens and 20-Somethings" in my house were drooling over the recipe entitled "Homemade Chickies", an homage apparently to a famous Teaneck, NJ restaurant with 'to die for' chicken sandwiches. I've gotta say that if they taste as good in the restaurant as they did at my table tonight, I understand why people stand in lines out the door to get them. Mmmmm.... messy, but yummy.

Now on to some final pre-review and contest business. Artscroll has allowed me to post one full recipe for your enjoyment and I am having a hard time choosing. So leave me a comment and tell me which you'd prefer:

Southwest Rotisserie Chicken Wraps
Pinapple Maple Glazed Salmon
Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast
Creamy Gnocchi Pesto Salad
Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust (Dairy)
Smashed Potatoes
Spicy Carrot Sticks
Scones or
Turkey Sliders

The choice is up to you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Photo Friday - Tie-Dye Cookies

As you can see, I've received my advance copy of Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings and have already peppered the pages with Post-it flags for future use (Avram is going to go nuts for the Lemon Crumb Cake!).

My building (which, by the way, is just loaded with 20-Somethings....) is having a "get to know your neighbors" kiddush this Shabbos and I just couldn't wait to try out these funky and yummalicious cookies. Didn't they come out pretty?

I think I'm going to let Jen or Joey test the next recipe. I'll be in charge of the taste-testing :D

Don't forget - my official review of the cookbook comes out on October 20th, followed by the details of the cookbook giveaway contest.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The People That I Meet Each Day

In the short one and a half blocks that I travel every morning on my way to work, I have become accustomed to seeing the same faces day after day.
I don't know these people, and yet the fact that we pass each other in nearly the identical spot each morning, creates a bond of sorts.
I see these people on some days looking fresh and eager for the new day, and on others, looking worn and beaten down before their work has even begun.
I'm often tempted to strike up a conversation with them, or share a small quip to get their day started on the right foot.
I can't help but wonder about these people, with whom I share no more than a barely perceptible nod.
More importantly, I can't help but worry when a few days go by and they DON'T appear.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Heads Up Everybody!!!

I've been offered an advance copy of Susie Fishbein's new addition to the Kosher by Design cookbook series, entitled Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings to review for my readers.

On top of that, I'll be running a contest and one lucky winner will receive their own copy of the book absolutely free.

Everybody else will receive a coupon code for 10% off the price of the cookbook and free shipping. All readers will also have the exciting opportunity to download a PDF version of the Kosher By Design recipe index – a guide to more than 900 recipes in the Kosher By Design series.

So get ready! A give-away is on its way (some time next week). Tell your friends and stop by soon.

Ruby Tuesday - You Never Know What You're Going To See In Ft. Tryon Park

I've said before that Ft. Tryon Park is one of my favorite places in the neighborhood. It's lovely in all seasons and they run some very nice programs. Last week they had the annual Renaissance Fair, which is always fun. Don't ask me what the New York Scottish Pipes and Drums have to do with that time period, but they were there too!

Don't miss out this coming week. The Ft. Tryon Park Trust will hold the park's 75th Anniversary Homecoming Event in honor of the park's special birthday, on Sunday, October 17th.

See more Ruby Tuesday photos with a little or a lot of red in them here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food Photo Friday - The "10 Second Rule"

Every family has their own standards for the "10 second rule". Some hold the exact 'zman', while others will look the other way for 20, 30 or {gasp!} 40 seconds. Some will apply it only to dry foods, while others will allow it to wet foods if they are particularly yummy and/or contain chocolate.

I'm going to let you in on a deep dark "G6 maiden name" family secret.
Some of my kin have taken the 10 second rule to a whole other level ;)

Many moons ago, a Sheva Brochos was held in my childhood home for my cousin Sammy. What a wonderful simcha. What delicious food! WHAT A GORGEOUS CAKE FOR DESSERT.

Oh, it was beautiful! You should have seen it...... BEFORE this photo was taken, that is.
(Click to enlarge)

You see, when the time came to serve dessert, my mother brought the particularly lovely looking cake into the dining room for all to admire. Ooohs and aaahs were uttered all around. She then left the dining room in order to return to the kitchen and cut the cake for serving. At least that was the PLAN. Unfortunately, she tripped in the hallway and the entire cake landed perfectly FACE DOWN on the foyer floor. I won't mention any names or anything, but a certain uncle who witnessed the debacle, was completely unfazed and cut the cake right then and there, flipped it over piece by piece and sent it back in to the dining room on dessert plates. No one was the wiser.... that is, until today...........

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday's Wacky Signs - "Bein Adam L'Chaveiro"

Spotted on a wall in Williamsburg.
It really can be that simple if we let it......

Hat tip: Scout

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eat, Sleep, Pray, Repeat...

... and much, much more.

As you can see from my last posting prior to Yom Tov, the weather held out and we were able to pack the entire kit and caboodle into the succah for one final day of dining al fresco (and the much anticipated, once a year, "stacking allowed" dish policy).

We attempted the whole "squeeze three families, comprising eleven people (and three pack 'n plays) into one three-bedroom apartment" thing again, but this time we actually had sleeping provisions for three of those people in my mother's empty apartment in our building. Sleeping arrangements aside, I fondly recall how my father used to point out that regardless of space, the maximum number of people always seem to congregate in the narrowest part of the living space. Close family - close quarters - loud voices - and we loved every minute of it.

Simchas Torah was absolutely beautiful and replete with "Jahres" niggunim (that's when they sing the choir pieces in a patchwork of all the the tunes used throughout the year strung together as one), majestic dancing and totally "off-schedule" happy little children on sugar highs. My favorite parts though, have to be watching Avram dance with our grandson and hearing our two year old granddaughter say, upon watching Avram dance the "formal dance with the Sefer Torah" after Kriyas HaTorah on the bima, "Opa dance niiiiice!!!".

On Friday night we were honored by the presence of Avram's aunt at dinner, and after Joey walked her home and all the dishes were done (I would intimate that Joey was just trying to get out of doing the dishes, but I must admit that he did the lion's share before bentching), we engaged in a marathon session of Bananagrams that lasted well past midnight. I thought it was over when the lights went out and we were left in the soft glow of the Shabbos candles, but one of my children mildly rebuked me, "What? Your eyes haven't adjusted yet??!?". So the band played on.....

Avram and Joey made a much-appreciated presentation in honor of my birthday (c'mon - who else gets personal-sized ice cream and gorrilla glue for their birthdays, huh?), and before you know it, the triad of three three-day Yomim Tovim, came to a close.

Today has been marked by load after load of tablecloth and towel laundry (I didn't even know I owned this much...) and a deafening silence. There's also NOTHING TO COOK!!! How odd is that???

For a bit of post Yom Tov humor, head on over to Something Different's blog and read her post entitled the Top Ten Signs You Have Just Endured a Three Day Yom Tov.