Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The End Of The World

it is 7:00 p.m. in the holy city of Zefat.  we are in the midst of a dirt storm.  I've been here for over 30 years and have never witnessed anything like this.  I've been caught in sand storms and have cleaned up after dirt storms but never has one lasted for more than a night.  they are predicting that this will continue until Thursday.  it looks like the end of the world.  the sky is grey and the air is full of dirt.

people are walking around wearing masks.  there is no air.  a breeze is beginning to blow but I don't dare open my windows.  I spent over 5 hours today washing the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen area.  I could not sleep last night because the dirt was penetrating my air.  everything was covered in this greyish soot.  walking to pick up the kids from gan was nightmarish.  it was so hard to breathe.

I have left my windows open all summer long and didn't think to close them last night.  I dragged in all of the laundry but I totally spaced out about the windows.  I had to wash the computer table and phone and book shelf in the blog room and of course, the floor.  the bathroom was filthy.  I had to wash the sink, and the tub and the floor.

the other bedroom was also covered in the dirt.  the master bedroom is a disaster area.  the porch door was left open as well as the three windows and it's hard to breathe in that room.  I will tackle cleaning it tomorrow.  I wanted to clean for Rosh Hashanah but this is more like a Pesach job.  I polished the antique furniture in the living room and washed the leather sofa with soap and water.  i'll do the floor tomorrow.

I closed all the windows on my floor and it is a sauna now.  but the house does look clean.  the plumber came and fixed my running toilet and put a new plastic tank in the hall toilet.  there went the rest of my holiday rental money.  it is good to have the hall bathroom working again.  I have not stopped moving today.  I did the last of my laundry and put it on the rack in the kitchen. 

I did a bit of cooking this afternoon while the kids played.  I made a small piece of beef in sweet wine, a small tongue Sephardi style with prunes and raisins and a fair amount of beef meatballs.  it is all in cooking bags in the downstairs freezer in the kids' fridge.  I hope the daughter-in-law doesn't check it out because she doesn't like leftovers.  I don't know how the cooked prunes will hold out in the freezer but I can always discard them.  I tasted the tongue and it was delicious.  I have only had tongue once, in Israel, and it was strange.

I have to admit that I nearly gagged when I took the tongue out of the package.  it was hands down, the nastiest thing I ever cooked.  even the quartered sheep's head last year was less gross than this tongue.  after removing the thick skin and making one inch slices the tongue looked fine.  there is just about one slice per guest.  it was pretty small.  I think it might have been about one and a half pounds.  it cost about $10.  it was the first time ever, that I cooked a tongue.

when I was in the cancer hostel the Sephardim were going on and on about cooking brains.  I know in my mom's time it was a large delicacy.  I think I'm up to making brains.  I wanted to cook lungs but the supermarket up here didn't have any.  I did read that the Jews in Germany had the custom to feed their kids calf livers on Rosh Hashanah.  I thought about making liver.  I might do it on Sunday.  I love chopped liver.  I know that somewhere in the freezer is a package of liver.  I made it teriyaki  style once, and the daughter-in-law loved it.  I haven't even thought about what to make for Shabbat.

they have predicted a hot Rosh Hashanah.  I think chicken soup will not be on the menu.  I have tons of chicken parts in the freezer.  I just might make some sweet chili chicken wings for Friday night.  I try not making these type of dishes on Rosh Hashanah.  I have the custom not to make pungent or sour foods on the holiday.  I used to add honey to everything I made and I used to suffer with migraines.  I think I added some honey to the beef.  I shouldn't have as I cooked it in a bottle of sweet wine.  I didn't spare the pepper so perhaps the honey will help to compensate for the pepper.  I  added a bit of honey to the tongue but I also added a bit of lemon to make that sweet and sour thing happen.  the recipe called for cider vinegar.  I never seem to have that on hand.  the meatballs are cooked in a Sephardi tomato sauce.  I added something that I didn't recognize in to the meat. it might have been a barbecue spice of some kind.

I'm planning on making a lot of side dishes.  I will make rice with raisins, and an apple and raisin noodle kugel.  I'm thinking about making a waldorf  salad sans the walnuts.  I have the custom not to eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah.  I also will make a red cabbage salad with apples and raisins.  my son hates fruit in his salads.   I can always make him a salad without the fruit.  and of cause, I have to make the tsimis with apricots. prunes, carrots and sweet potatoes.  I'm the only one who ends up eating it but I must do it anyway.

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