it is 10:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. I just came back from the supermarket to get the last few things I need for tonight's tu b'shvat Seder. I mean, how can we celebrate without designer napkins and plastic cups? I actually only spent 10 shekels for both. they don't exactly match my yellow leaf disposable table cloth but, what the heck, I go with the flow.
I decided to keep it small this year with just the family but I didn't keep the purchases small. I actually found every item on my list this year. we have grapes, wine, wheat, olives, almonds, apricots, walnuts, pomegranate, citron, sour cherries, dates, figs, carob, loquat, peaches, kumquats, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, chestnuts, apples and pears, fresh pineapple and strawberries. each year I serve 30 varieties of fruits and nuts so I guess, this year I reduced it. I didn't save any money because I went for the very expensive mini pineapple, the box of strawberries and the pine nuts and pistachios.
I made a centerpiece using the pineapple stalk. this is the first time I did something like this. and to think I did this just to impress my big kids, their little kids and their, even smaller, little cousins. yes, the daughter-in-law invited one of her sisters with 3 kids to join us. now I have to think of a plan to contain the dogs in another room. it is going to be havoc with 4 little kids running around and a very small baby crying. what have I gotten myself in for? what was I thinking?
the kids have never been to one of my Seders. I have done it exclusively for women for the last 20 years. I have already had 5 women ask if it's on this year. my original thought was that no one was interested in schlepping out this year. the weather is actually, unseasonably warm. I remember one year having a monsoon like rain storm hours before the Seder. I think we'll get along fine with just one heater this evening. I am beginning to regret my decision to exclude my gal pals. it will be lonely with just the tots around.
instead of incorporating new recipes I decided to create new ideas. I made myself crazy coming up with a novelty edible tree. I decided to make fake mud cakes. I didn't have any Oreos around and I didn't really feel like bothering with cream cheese and pudding, either. in the end, I made simple chocolate cupcakes. I didn't have individual muffin tins so I cut up two disposable aluminum muffin trays. I made fake grass with desiccated coconut and green food coloring. to be even more exacting, I bought candy worms and candy bananas. yes, I am planning on setting a worm into the center of each cupcake. then I plan to make a banana tree by impaling candy bananas and dried apple pineapple slices onto a bamboo skewer. are we having fun yet? I'm already exhausted and still need to wash the floors.
I already opened the pomegranate and chopped up the pineapple. I have all the fruits and nuts in small serving dishes. I will cut up the apples and pears later this evening. I can't put anything on the table right now because the dogs will jump on the table and help themselves. one year, cloey the pincher, ate most of the chocolates I had made. how she got the tin foil off so easily, remains a mystery to this day.
I still need to cook some wheat and make a barley mushroom soup. I have the kids with me this afternoon and am feeling a bit pressured. my grandson really wants to help make the cupcake trees but I don't have patience for group projects with little kids and their grubby hands. in a perfect scenario, I would place a bunch of different dried fruits in front of the kids and let them make their own trees. zelda, the control freak, couldn't really do this. we also can't plant real trees this year because we are in a biblical sabbatical abstaining from planting all year.
I hope we'll get a few pix this evening so I can share them with you. have a wonderful tu b'shvat!