Home > cooking, work > Working Cook April 9 and April 12 2010

Working Cook April 9 and April 12 2010

Friday was spent getting back to normal production.  We’d had the food delivery, so I had a full freezer to work with.  This helped a lot.

Of course, being Friday, I also cooked Shabbos.  Chicken breast filets, baked.  A pot of chicken soup – first Mendy style and then augmented.  Sweet potato kugel.  Zucchini.  Dessert for Mendy.  Turkey for Mendy.  Gefilte fish.  Israeli salad.

Got the soup up first, and then the chicken breast filets in the oven.  I flavored those with garlic and parsley, pepper and oil.  Left to get sweet potatoes plus cucumbers and tomatoes, which I baked in the Keshet kitchen because I had no other room and this way I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Got the water up for the fish, and tossed in the vegetables (stalks of celery, a halved onion and peeled and sliced carrots.)  When that boiled, I put in four loaves of fish.  Skimmed the chicken soup.  Added the parsley and dill.

Watched as a counselor from Keshet stole tilapia, tomatoes and scallions (okay, not stole but I NEEDED those things. Especially the scallions.  And I didn’t know about the scallions until later.)

Salted and peppered the chicken soup and made six Mendy portions.  Poured the remainder into a smaller pot. Not all of it fit, so I poured that last into a quart container, and a good thing, too.  Why? Because when I finally took the chicken soup portions to the freezer, I dropped one.  I cleaned that up, but I was now short a container of soup.  And I’d added the vegetables to it already by then, so I couldn’t take from the pot.  But I had extra waiting for me.  YAY!

By this time, I was ready to grind the turkey I’d cook.  Grinders work better with extra liquid – and look!  I had the perfect liquid.  Right there. And the pot on the stove had reduced in volume enough by then that I could just add what I had leftover back into the pot.  Then I tossed in noodles.  Soup done.  Turkey done.  Chicken filets done.

Went to Keshet and took out the sweet potatoes.  Peeled them and mashed them with cinnamon and salt, and a touch of oil.  Made four Mendy portions.  Added eggs and honey to the remaining mashed sweet potatoes, turning it into kugel.  Put them into the now empty oven.  Fish done, I placed them in a tray and fished out the carrots.  The rest I tossed, and washed the pots.

By this time, I was getting tired, so when the kugels were done – I dropped one.  It landed pan down, so nothing lost, but it SPLASHED.  One blob landed on my wrist.  I got blisters.  😦  Got the zucchini done, and portioned out dessert, and that was that.

Today my wrist is somewhat painful, but clearly healing.  And my mp3 player was finally charged, which is great because last week, I was cooking to Frasier, Will and Grace and Wife Swap.  Yeah, needed something else.

Okay, point of custom here. We’re in that period of time called the Omer or Sefira (the counting) when we count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot.  And we do count – every night with a blessing.  It’s also a period of semi mourning because of an epidemic that happened in Mishnaic times – 2000-1600 years ago.  So we do not buy new clothes (unless we need them and they are on sale so we’d lose money if we waited.  It’s why I now own two pairs of Crocs and am getting a new pair of Easy Spirits – sales and need.)  We also do not have hair cuts, hold weddings or listen to music. 

Here is where customs differ.  Some groups do this for the entire time, except for the 33rd..  Some do it for 26 days between the end of Passover and Lag B’omer (the thirty-third day), when the epidemic ceased.  Some do it from the New Moon after Passover for thirty-three days.  The thirty-third is a day for weddings and haircuts.

Also, the customs as regarding music differ. Some listen to no music at all in any way – at least voluntarily.  Some only listen to vocal music, so there are a fair number of a capella groups out there now.  And some hold that it’s only live music – music from instruments right there in the room with you.  Broadcast, telephoned or recorded music is not live.  You’re not hearing the music, only the recording, broadcast or telephone signal.  That they sound pretty much like the original music is irrelevant.  This is not splitting hairs – we also cannot rely on a blessing heard in that way and should not say “Amen.”  It follows.  And this is what we hold, so while we wouldn’t go to a concert this time of year, we do play CDs and watch music programs on TV.  It also means we don’t have to worry about background music for TV or radio.

That said, I did begin with a rabbi’s lesson this morning.  But I did that before Pesach anyway.  Okay.  I defrosted turkey and chicken, and started a pot of split pea soup.  I also cooked eggs and tilapia (what I had left.)  The soup was portioned out for MISHA, and I also pulled a handful of meat from the chicken and the turkey.  I did have to go out to get redskin potatoes to mash for Mendy (and everyone else), and zucchini because we were out of frozen and Mendy  needed more. I bought fresh because I couldn’t find frozen.  The fish was portioned for Mendy and for Misha.  The potatoes were portioned for both boys plus everyone else got.  And I made turkey burgers out of the rest of the meat (which I cooked, measured and ground for Misha.)  And by then, I had Jonathan Coulton playing on my mp3 player, and singing along to the choruses because no one was in the house.

Michelle wandered in after 2PM.  By then I was listening to Adam Lambert (and, seriously, nearly got caught dancing) and it was far too loud, so I just shut it off.  And she wanted me to cook MORE food for Misha – note I was already into overtime and tired.  After convincing her that I was NOT going to make mac and cheese at that point (seriously!), I did grind up a can of carrots with some sugar to call it tzimmes.  And washed the grinder again.  I was done, you see.  Everything had been cooked and washed and all I had to do was make out hte shopping list.  And then I wasn’t.  Also, I was out of containers for Misha.

It’s like she doesn’t get that I’m making food for more than Mendy – I have four others to cook for, and I only have so much time, and her menu for Misha is ambitious and full of things like PAREVE creamed spinach, which I have no idea what she means.  I was already exhausted, I had a 90 minute trip to Manhattan ahead of me, I hadn’t eaten and I’d barely had a chance to sit down or go to the bathroom.  4 and a half hours – I was ready to cry. 

The impossible just takes longer, even for miracle workers.

Categories: cooking, work
  1. April 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Pareve creamed spinach… maybe blended silken tofu, brought to consistency with warmed soy milk or Rich’s or whatever non-dairy substitute you prefer, mixed into fresh (rather than frozen, since frozen is sweeter) spinach that’s sauteed with onion and a bit of garlic (do you use that for your boys?) topped up with nutmeg?

    I think I might try that tomorrow for myself, actually!

  2. Anonymous
    April 16, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I’m familiar with restrictions on purchases during the Three Weeks but not during the Omer. How widespread do you find the restrictions on clothing purchases to be? For the Omer what I know is the basic four: those regarding haircuts, shaving, music, and celebrations — nothing about clothing. Thanks for any information!

    • Anonymous
      April 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      Oh, and nail clipping? Thought of that over Shabbat, realized it wasn’t mentioned in anything I read recently.

      • April 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm

        Nail clipping is fine, though. It’s not permitted during shiva, and if necessary during sheloshim, someone else should do it, but it’s fine during the Omer.

  3. Anonymous
    April 23, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you for the nail clipping information. Given what you explain and everything I’ve read recently, I must have been misinformed originally. Or maybe traditions vary? Because I haven’t heard anything involving clothing purchases with respect to the Omer other than here. I want to find out more about that.

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