Every day is a whole world

This Shabbat had an awful lot of parts.  Pace yourselves.

I. Pre-Shabbat cooking with no real purpose
II. Dinner part one (no eating)
DNA lecture interlude
III.  Dinner part two (lots of eating)
Sleep interlude
IV. Aufruf
V. Block party
VI. “Ilana of many meals” and meal politics
VII. Board games and spreads
VIII. Post-Shabbat junk food
IX. Thinking about 9/11
X. What Aliza eats

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much we fit into 25 hours.  Or, as Marc said before we fell asleep, “every day is a whole world.”

I. Pre-Shabbat cooking with no real purpose

I had a whole list of things to make, but I wasn’t planning to eat any of them over Shabbat.  I put together a nice tomato sauce with two weeks of CSA tomatoes, processed and froze three weeks of CSA parsley, and turned three weeks of CSA jalapenos into a really good dip.  Which was all well and good until I realized that I still didn’t have anything to eat.

II. Dinner part one (no eating)

I went to the first half hour of the Temple Med Shabbat dinner to schmooze, meet the new students, and publicize the New Year’s Soiree.  Stayed through motzi.  In past years, I’ve felt like I had to stay at all the Grad Network campus groups’ dinners and as a result, never got to make my own Friday night plans, but this drop-by was the perfect compromise.

DNA lecture interlude

While walking from the work dinner back to our neighborhood, prompted by recent news about Neanderthal DNA in modern day Europeans, Marc answered a whole slew of questions I didn’t realize I had about DNA.  There will be a formal lecture coming up.  It’s crazy stuff, and I can’t wait to learn more.  My husband is really smart.

III.  Dinner part two (lots of eating)

Our real dinner event of the night was at Beverly and Naomi’s, and as we were singing Shalom Aleichem, I realized I’d never been there for a Shabbat dinner before!  We had an awesome salad, rice and lentils (so much, much better than mine), lots of dips and spreads, roasted root veggies, and fried okra which I never expected to like but definitely took seconds.  Marc made rice pudding and chocolate vanilla ice cream, both non-dairy, for dessert, and there were two different kinds of ginger cookies.  I thought Aliza might roll over again, but Yael reminded me, “You don’t roll on Shabbos!”

It’s also worth pointing out that we had multiple invites this Friday night, and I almost decided to host a work dinner at the last minute for all the new students who just moved to town.  The lessons here are 1) I may have almost mastered being in two places at once, but more than that is just crazy, and 2) I can be responsible for me and my Shabbat plans, but I don’t have to always be responsible for everyone else’s in Philadelphia.  More on hosting in part VII.

Sleep interlude

It was really just barely long enough to even bother noting.

IV. Aufruf

Judah is getting married in a few months, and it was so good to have the opportunity to celebrate here in town.  And thankfully we had lovely weather for the surprisingly long walk to and from Society Hill.  Services, a long stretch of crying baby, and a shorter stretch of catching up with Judah, were followed by bagels and tuna salad at kiddush.

V. Block party

There were a lot of babies!!!  It was fun to hang out with all the moms and share stories and struggles and successes.  There were a ton of people there who I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, but it seemed like they all really knew each other.  Maybe it wasn’t true, and people were just being friendly, but it got me thinking a lot about where people find their communities.  Because even though I was having a great time and was glad to see all the neighbors around, as soon as Ilana, Joline, and Sara walked up, I was like, “Oh yeah, these are the people I really know.”

VI. “Ilana of many meals” and meal politics

I introduced Ilana to Sara on the block, who said, “Are you Ilana of many meals?”  My friends are famous to my blog readers (many of whom are also my friends)!  That’s cool!

Perhaps I should have realized this before with more specificity, but my blog means that people know who’s hosting and when they’re not invited.  I would love to think that, at its best, the blog is inspiring people to host more meals and to think about different aspects of their Shabbat practice, but I hope it’s not also making people feel excluded.  It’s taken me a long time to realize this in different aspects of my life, but there’s usually no real differentiation between insiders and outsiders other than self-perception.  If you want a Shabbat meal to go to, host one.  And hosting other people usually means an invitation in return.

For the record, Ilana didn’t invite us to lunch this week.  She had other people over instead, and that’s great, because actually communities should be made of many different parts and combinations of people.  I felt bad having to turn down multiple invitations this week, but also totally thrilled that there were that many meals happening.  I have a lot to say on this subject.  You’ve been warned.

VII. Board games and spreads

Marc opted for Torah discussion at Beverly and Naomi’s over the block party, and Sara and I joined them for some snacks, a game of Settlers, and the requisite purple freeze pop.

VIII. Post-Shabbat junk food

Somewhere in the middle of playing Settlers, we started talking about nachos.  And didn’t stop until we were back at our house eating them, along with homemade salsa courtesy of Naomi, french fries, root beer liqueur mixed with cream soda courtesy of Joline, and the jalapeno dip I made right before Shabbat.  Turns out there was a use for it after all!  Considering I didn’t really eat a single meal, per se, on Saturday, I managed to eat a lot of good stuff.  Also, my alcohol tolerance has been reduced to nearly zero.

Jalapeno Dip

4 peppers, or however many you have
white vinegar
olive oil
garlic
salt

The scariest part of this is roasting the peppers, which I did over an open gas flame on the stove.  The first time I did this, I melted the tongs.  USE METAL.  Roast until the skin is black, then put them in a bag to steam for a few minutes.  Peel off the skin and remove the seeds.  Put in a blender with everything else and give it a whirl.  I put everything in the food processor before remembering that the blender works better, but whatever.

IX. Thinking about 9/11

Over nachos, I asked if 9/11 was a defining moment for my friends.  It really was for me, in large part because I was a senior in college and about to make a transition into some form of adulthood, and I already knew life would never be the same again.  The way in which I remember the details of that day is haunting, but also, having ice cream that night with my friends and our peace studies professor and hearing about nonviolent resistance was inspiring, challenging, and formative.  I went to a lot of protests that year.  I sang a lot of peace songs, many of which I find myself singing to Aliza these days.  I felt like I was part of a movement, and that maybe we had the potential to effect real change.  I’m not even going to bother saying that it all feels kind of naive now, because it was so real and tangible then.

X. What Aliza eats

With all this talk of food, I’ve spent a paltry amount of time writing about the task that typically interrupts all my meals: feeding Aliza.  I knew that breastfeeding was something that I wanted to do, but I had no idea how consuming it would be.  No pun intended.  To date, I have fed Aliza in bars, synagogues, parks, restaurants, and cars.  I’ve fed her standing and sitting, though sadly, I can’t seem to be able to feed her lying down.  I’ve fed her in front of friends, strangers, grad students, and pretty much all our relatives.  And I’ve fed her at every.  possible.  time.  of day.  And I’m still totally mystified by the process, amazed that all of Aliza’s growing is thanks to something my body makes for her, and that, actually, even four months into it, breastfeeding is sometimes still really challenging.

I mention this all now because after the nachos, Aliza accidentally pinched her food source so hard that I cried.  A lot.  But actually, I also mention it now because right before the nachos, I joined the remnants of the block party and had a great conversation with a couple of the other new moms about breastfeeding.  The camaraderie and understanding were so substantive and validating and reassuring, and I thought, “Oh yeah, these are the people I really know, too.”

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

5 responses to “Every day is a whole world

  1. Desh

    I’ve definitely experienced, on multiple occasions, the shock that comes with reading your blog and hearing about a lovely meal that I didn’t know about, wasn’t invited to, and had enough of my friends at it that I could’ve been invited. It’s not pleasant.

    Also, it’s absurd that that’s not pleasant, and I’ve tried (and succeeded) to get the unpleasantness to last no more than about 10 seconds. The reality is that a healthy Jewish community should have multiple people hosting meals every Shabbat dinner and every Shabbat lunch (including and ESPECIALLY people like me who don’t like not being invited), and that you can’t invite everyone every time if you want them to fit in your apartment, and that meals have a certain kind of pleasantness when they’re only about 6 or *maximum* 8 people that you can only attain by not inviting the whole community. So really, it’s a good thing for the community that I’m not invited all the time, and if I actually care about being a part of a vibrant Shabbat community, I need to internalize that. (So far, so good.)

    • I really appreciate your candor about this, and as I said, I should have realized sooner what kind of hurt feelings my posts have the potential to cause. But I really do think that multiple viable configurations of Shabbat meal hosts and guests is a sign of a healthy, and growing, community, which is always what I tell myself when I’m not invited.

  2. Very nice! And I can’t believe how much Aliza looks like Marc in that picture … take it as a compliment. 🙂

  3. Mattea

    Desh beat me to it, but I totally agree with him. Part of the reason I didn’t host meals so often when I first moved to the city is that I felt like I had to invite everyone. I’ve since realized that’s crazy and that I’m much happier hosting small meals (6-8 people is about right), but it took a while for me to get there.

    Realistically speaking, it’s actually pretty amazing that our community has grown too large to invite everyone to every meal (plus, it wouldn’t be as much fun or as relaxing if we could!). And if we all kept in mind that hosting more often = more Shabbat meals = more invitations, it would be good for the community.

  4. Suzy

    And in other news I was about to ask for the dip recipe, and there it was! Also, Aliza gets cuter in every picture. This one looks like she’s deep in thought, perhaps about DNA?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s