last night, we had a chanukah get together with gal's family. i bought pitas and prepared frozen donuts, falafel balls and french fries. i also bought tons of cucumbers and tomatoes to make an israeli salad. the french fries took over an our to bake. i usually like to have things done before the company arrives but i was on baby sitting duty in the evening. i took the baby down to my apartment and rolled him to sleep in his carriage, so i could fry up the eggplant and cut up the salad. i set the table in the early afternoon.
i made a menorah out of packages of chocolate coins. the packages of coins were already in the shape of candles so it's not like i did anything that creative. i simply took a small tray and covered it with aluminum foil and lined up five packages of these coins (it was the fifth day of the holiday) and added an extra package for the shamash. sorry, but it was a bit hectic to take a picture of it. i also bought individual candy packages in the shape of dreidels for each kid. i placed one on each plate as a sort of place setting. i got lucky and they were on sale for only $1 each. i made some tahina to drizzle on the falafel. i put out a carton of chumus and two types of olives. i also put out different flavored yogurts, some sour cream and some chocolate puddings. i cut up some low fat 5% bulgarian cheese and sliced up some 28% fatty cheese. i fried up a few dozen sweet potato latkes before i went upstairs to babysit.
i was going to use paper plates but in the end i opted for the real deal. i didn't dare use my mom's special dairy 'company' floral set. not with this crowd! we were a 'lucky 13' at the table. one of gal's sisters was missing but two of her female cousins showed up from out of town.
zvi played 'spin the dreidel' for a bit with his eight year old brother-in-law. but there was no serious dreidel playing, once again. i made marshmallow kababs for the kids. each stick had three marshmallows, pink and white. ever since we roasted some marshmallows at the family barbecue, it has become a trademark at my house.
safta miriam, who is ten years my junior, made about a hundred fried sephardi crepes. she probably stood on her feet rolling the balls of dough and then frying them for a couple of hours. this is after she did a seven hour stint at her job at a chabad day care center, preparing two meals for seventy kids and cleaning up afterwards. is there any wonder why no one ate the falafel balls or pita breads or had room for the donuts. but i have to say, there wasn't one french fry left over. i will invite over a friend or two and make up a holiday meal with the leftovers. i guess the evening was a success because there was no yelling or punching, or pinching or kicking. perhaps they don't yet feel comfortable enough to fight here. who knows?
one of the female cousins jumped up to wash the dishes but i told her to sit down and relax. before they left, safta miriam went over to the sink with the female cousin to do the dishes. once again, i refused any help. i guess seven hours of KP today wasn't enough for miriam. separdim are known for their cleanliness. they wash their floors on a daily basis. but when push comes to shove, they are no match for us Polish!
the funniest event of the evening was their playing with my musical chassid doll, all night long. the joke is that it was a santa claus doll, that some jewish toy company, turned into a chassid. they added a back fur hat and a long black frock with a belt. the chassid sways back and forth as he plays a jazzed up saxaphone version of 'santa claus is coming to town'. now, these people are extremely pious, observant jews. they don't watch television or go to the movies. they don't even have a computer in their house. israeli' sephardim have no knowledge of these american non-jewish holiday songs, thank goodness. i had to hold back my laughter every time they played the tune.
i bought this doll a few years ago in the holy old city of zefat. some vender was selling them behind the ari shul. as i passed by and heard the music i stopped for a moment because it sounded so familiar. when i realized what the song actually was, i bought one for $20. my father used to love it. he would get up and do his 'bootie' dance to it. i 'm pretty sure that i got my money's worth out of it, last night.
i am feeling a lot lighter now and want to make another chanukah party. i'm ready to dance and listen to music again. my parents are in heaven and don't need me any more. my gandson is becoming a person and is developing his own personality and i want to enjoy him for as long as i can. life is good!
on tuesday when i finally made it to the bank, they were in the middle of lighting the chanukah menorah. the customers and tellers were standing around in a semi circle , singing the chanukah blessings. only in israel! ! we should all share in the light of chanukah. happy chanukah!