I wasn't surprised, but I still was delighted by the seder meals that Aunt Judi served us Friday night (17 people) and Saturday night (27 people). As always, I ignored the hard-boiled egg soup, an aberration that began the meals. (Just serve hard-boiled eggs as we did in Brooklyn.) However, I experienced rapture almost immediately when the deep-fried gefilte fish came out. I have to confess that I have been attributing this marvelous creation to Aunt Judi for years, even though she freely acknowledges that, unlike everything else, it was an outside purchase. It doesn't matter. She will always be my deep-fried gefilte fish queen.
After two pieces of fish each night, I moved into the heart of the meal, but I have to explain something first. Kugel (coo-gull) is a baked pudding or casserole, traditionally made from egg noodles (lukshen) or potatoes, however Aunt Judi pushes the boundaries of kugeldom to new limits.
Beef brisket cooked with a mixture of cranberry sauce, onion soup mix and beef bullion; herb-marinated chicken breasts; cabbage salad with red peppers, scallions and candied almonds; vegetable kishka; apple kugel muffins; roasted vegetables (butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, onions, red peppers, celery). Chocolate mousse cake; chocolate fudge cookies; zebra cookies; almond drops; sorbet; fresh fruit.
Aunt Judi's famous sweet and sour meatballs; chicken Marbella (see "The Silver Palate Cookbook"); Israeli couscous; vegetable kugel; mushroom kugel; cabbage kugel; health salad (I think that means no mayonnaise); cucumber salad; cranberry pineapple relish. Brownies; frozen strawberry mousse; chocolate chip mandelbrot; almond chocolate chip drop cookies; fresh fruit.
After this head start, 40 years in the desert is no problem.
I skipped an important stage in human development. I was never a parent. I went from being a man-about-town, gourmand, free spirit directly to being a grandfather without experiencing that vital, often messy, challenging role as parent. I was thinking about this Sunday morning when I took my two highly-energetic grandsons (visiting for Passover) to the playground next door for a couple of hours to allow their parents some peace and quiet. There were other children there, mostly toddlers, 2 or 3 years old, much younger than my boys. Parents, often two at a time, hovered around their kids.
Which brings me to San Bernardino, where 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured by a married couple, he an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, she a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident. For exact reasons that remain unknown, the couple chose to pursue jihad at a local government facility, where the husband was employed. They left behind a six-month old daughter.
It's possible that the couple thought that they could get away safely, although there seems to be no evidence of a thought-out escape plan. So, I sat in the playground watching kids and their parents and wondering how could the couple avoid the gravitational pull of their child, dependent on them, staring at them with adoration, seeking comfort in their arms, and instead pursue an inevitable path to suicide. Could it be that a six-month old child, not able to run around or communicate clearly, had not yet registered a presence with her parents, or had the parents found a set of values so potent that they overrode seemingly universal human instincts?
How to save $161.
1) Buy ticket to game 6 of New York Rangers first round of Stanley Cup playoffs.
2) Watch New York Rangers lose game 5 and exit first round of Stanley Cup playoffs.
3) Return ticket.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Let's get great again, but just when was that? Both Republicans and Democrats seem to like 2000. http://nyti.ms/1TaDkWm Of course, that was when Hillary Clinton was last in the White House.
Grandpa Alan's Career Advice:
Go to law school and move to Minnesota.
Prince, the musical star who died last week in Minnesota, apparently died without a will (intestate -- you might as well start learning the lingo). He was divorced, with no children or surviving parents. He had one sister, three half-brothers and two half-sisters. The size of his estate is unknown at present, but is likely to be in the hundreds of millions and growing rapidly as his fans have rushed to buy his music after his death. Besides physical property, Prince owned a copyright to a large inventory of music.
Minnesota law applies, as the place of death (that will be on the exam). But, if you imagine that six adults will come to an easy agreement on the disposition of this huge estate and future revenues, you don't need a lawyer, you need a doctor -- a psychiatrist. I think that there won't be an unemployed lawyer in Minnesota for decades as each of the six relatives, and maybe more to emerge, go to court to express their unique position in Prince's esteem and the tender loving care they provided him in life, warranting more than an ordinary division of the spoils.