Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pass this over, Size does matter and I scream you scream we all scream.

Miss me? Well let’s just say it has been a very hectic couple of weeks. Let me see. Where do I begin? How about I start with the series of events that have transpired since I last wrote.

1. My sister turned 65 and we took her out to dinner

2. My sister turned 65 and her daughters threw her a big bash

3. My sister turned 65 and her daughter and son in-law brought the baby in from New York City

4. My brother’s daughter got married

5. My brother’s daughter got married and the wedding was the day before the first Seder

6. My brother’s daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful but there was cooking to be done for the first Seder

7. I made over 120 meatballs and a huge Tzimmes for the first Seder which was the day after my brother’s daughter’s wedding

8. My niece, nephew and baby came to visit my office

9. And then there were the two Seders

10. Did I mention that I needed to get my hair done for the 65th Birthday, The Wedding and the Seders?

So as you can see it has been a whirlwind of non-stop activities and thus there was no time to sit down and write a blog.

So it all started with a party size pizza which was ordered to represent the "last supper". The last supper takes place before the beginning of eight days of the celebration of Passover. If you are not Jewish and reading this let me give you the "Coles Notes" version of what the story of Passover is all about. We can start with the famous FOUR QUESTIONS (traditionally asked by the youngest male child - which for the past 11 years has been YO)

1. On all other nights we eat bread or matzah. On this night why do we only eat matzah? My answer? On this night we eat matzah because the International Prune Industry has underground connections to Israeli "matzah manufacturers". They work hand in hand. Their theory is to make the Jews eat the matzah and collaborate a plan to introduce a natural laxative such as prunes to combat the effects of constipation you acquire after trying to digest square pieces of cardboard for over a week. Thus the phrase "Let my people go".

2. On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables. On this night why do we eat only bitter herbs? My answer? We eat bitter herbs (small pieces of hideous tasting raw horseradish - which I hide in my serviette) because we remember all the bitter times way back in Moses' day....the truth is....he was a little cranky shlepping around his big rod and tablets all day long.......uh wouldn't you be bitter too?

3. On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once. On this night why do we dip them twice? My answer? Why not? It's the only legal time you can "double dip".

4. On all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining. On this night why do we eat only reclining? My answer? First of all it's a guy thing because the women never recline due to the fact we are running around serving the chicken soup, gefilte fish, meatballs, tzimmes and more food than a KING can eat. Who has time to recline? Well..reclining is a "KingISH" thing to do. If you happen to be a Jewish King you are supposed to RECLINE to the left - and now you know where the phrase "how are they hangin?" came from. Clearly they are hanging to the left  because of all the reclining in that direction.

We then go through our Passover book and remember the Ten Plagues that befell the Egyptians: blood, frogs, gnats, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of the firstborn. My analogy to all of the above?  Well aside from the thought of murdering your firstborn, I have experienced nine of those plagues in quite a few of the All-Inclusive Hotels we have visited in the Caribbean.

After dipping your pinkie finger into your wine and reciting each plague onto your plate you can finally eat.

Pretty frightening appetizers don't ya think?

There are also two Passover Seders? Why?  Because there is just too many players on the teams and usually two sides to every family story. So there you have it.......after reading the same book twice over the period of two days.....eating until you feel comatose and mustering the correct answers to the four questions you are left looking forward to "what to make for dinner that is acceptable kosher for Passover" for the next 6 nights. I have managed to disguise matzah into a mulitude of foods.....never once repeating a meal. You can convert this drywall-like delicacy into Italian, Chinese, Greek, Indian and Japanese food if you use your creativity. I think I may write a cookbook and title it "One hundred and one ways to connect with Matzah".

Can I now get back to the Pizza please? Thank you.

Over the past little while I have discovered something that most of you must have noticed yourselves. Things that used to be FAMILY size are no longer LARGE. For instance - the Party Size Pizza. How many people do you usually invite to your parties? I used to think a party is when you have ten or more attending. Try ordering a party size pizza and thinking you are going to feed more than five people. What's going on here? Why have pizzas shrunk but prices have gone up? Here's another example. Order a large fries at McDonalds. Do you remember when "Supersize Me" meant getting a portion fries large enough to share with four people? Not anymore. How about popcorn.....which by the way is one of the cheapest things to make. Popcorn is no longer a thing you can buy at the movies for small change. A credit, debit card or certified cheque is required to pay for a large size bag of popcorn. And what's worse is the way they fill the bag. You have to know their tricks. The concession stand NAR will lightly scoop and fill the bag without packing it down. When they bring it to the counter YOU THINK you have a full bag of corn when in reality you have a half a bag once you bang the bag down a few times. Robbery.

My biggest complaint is the simple ICE CREAM scoop. Over the years we have been frequenting our Summer haunts in search for the perfect scoop of ice cream. Steve will pick a flavour that no one likes so he doesn't get burdened with the "ya wanna lick question" and I pick the same flavour every time....BUTTER PECAN. Each year the scoops get smaller and smaller.

A small cone is now over $3.50. A double scoop can run about $5.99. Twelve bucks for two ice cream treats. The majority of the time I order my ice cream in a cup. Why? I figure if I save the calories on the cone I can have a bigger scoop of ice cream. Makes sense no? Steve on the other hand couldn't care less - if he is going to have ice cream he is going to get it with the works. This means a double scoop large enough to fill a waffle cone. I get a feeling of elation watching them scoop my cup o' cream.....until I am actually handed the cup and see that there is no more than two tablespoons of butter pecan in there. That's when the elation turns to disappointment and I have no choice but to shift into "slow eating" mode. The problem is whenever I start eating in a certain manner, Steve starts the competitive - "I can eat slower than you" shtick just to aggravate me. Can you explain this type of behaviour? I can't. Just to counteract the makeshift competition I start GOBBLING up my treat resulting in HIM still having a shitload of ice cream when I am just left sucking an empty spoon.

All I know is this.....Steve has a methodical way of eating most foods but especially ice cream. It starts with slow licks around and around the cone. This is then following by a chipmunk-like chewing of the cone itself. It's really fun to watch by the way. He goes round and round the cone until he is left with a mini size cone that is about 1/2 inch in height. It's really quite cute but totally annoying. Once he has reached mini cone status he has to show me what he has created (this happens everytime we have ice cream). The show ends with Steve either biting a hole in the bottom of the cone to drink the liquified ice cream from OR he just simply shows off by fitting the bite-sized cone into his mouth in one fell swoop. In lieu of searching for the perfect scoop of ice cream I have decided to forgo the small boutique stands and their stupid miniscule scoops. We are moving on to the big leagues now..........SUPERMARKETS!

Tonight YO and I went on a mission to find the ultimate family favorite, Breyers SUPER HIGH FAT Pralines & Cream so that we could make ourselves a normal GIANT size serving. Searching four separate stores over the past few days I was nervous that B.S.H.F.P.C.may be a another victim of my "discontinued" product list. At our last destination, LOBLAW, we turned the corner at the ice cream aisle and YO spotted the familiar blue container. He then dove into the freezer section while yelling "YO YO there's MAH ice cream"!! I swear he must have been born in Harlem and was accidently shipped here by mistake. I have to check that out one day. I will see if his real parents are actually searching for their little gangsta baby boy. YO YO.

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