I"m typing at Amster's computer, smelling the roasted turkey cooling on the countertop. Our joint Chanukah party is starting in two hours, and I'm in charge of the preparation.
That's actually not fair to Amster and her family; they are in the midst of a major home renovation and spent last night putting in flooring and baseboards. She's cleaned and reorganized and made the space available. It's my job to create the foodstuffs and the activities and the story telling and the candle lighting ceremony. This is our third year and we're getting more and more organized as time goes by. The proof is right here - I have time to type to you.
I stopped at her house on the way to my class this morning and put the turkey in the roaster. I remembered the rack and the bird and she had the cheesecloth in the storage bins. I'm not sure why I use cheesecloth on top of the skin, but I do. I didn't baste this beast nor add anything but a bit of oil drizzled on the top; it smells delicious.
I dragged ten pounds of potatoes from the market to The Schnozz to her kitchen, along with sour cream and onions and eggs. She's got flour and baking soda and apple sauce and Marie is bringing challah and kugel to compliment the four pans of frying latkes I'll be tending as the kids play with dreidles and make menorahs out of clay. Beautiful Annie would have brought jelly donuts were she not on a plane traveling back from Georgia. I left the tall box of gelt at home on Little Cuter's chair and I'm not traipsing across Ina Road again to get it. I've already gone back to get the Cuisinart; there was no way that I was going to be grating ten pounds of spuds by hand.
That side trip gave me a chance to see TBG for lunch; I left before he was out of the shower this morning and I won't be home until the third quarter of the best football game of the season. Don't be surprised that he's not joining the fun. For him, kid parties are pure torture. He worries about the damage done to floors and walls and furniture, he monitors behavior. and he cannot allow himself to relax. He attended the Cuters' first birthday celebrations After that, we encouraged him to spend the party hours at the gym. Everyone was much happier that way.
There will be Amster's four and their school friends and some neighbors and work colleagues and we'll play and eat and sing and try not to burn their house to the ground. Fifteen menorahs times seven candles makes me exceptionally happy that Amster's love is the Fire Chief. I have no interest in an arson investigation.
I have a latke recipe from play group days. and G'ma's food processor, and towels sent by FAMBB some years ago. My family and friends are with me in my heart as I introduce a group of heathens to the story of Judah Maccabee, my favorite historical terrorist. The kids are always more interested in the fighting elephants than they are in the miracle of one-night-of-oil-lasting-for-eight-nights and that's just fine. I've never been able to reconcile the two pieces, myself. They are part and parcel of the tale, though, so they will both be shared and commented upon and then we'll light the candles and spin the dreidles and I'll take myself back in time to when I was the little one doing the very same things.
Tradition.... as Tevye sang and reminded us that that's what makes the world go 'round.... at least at this time of the year.
Tune in tomorrow for pictures and the recap. At this time of year, I find it hard to think about anything but celebratory joys; I apologize to those of you who are looking for a more trenchant analysis of the issues of the day. I'm just not there, nor am I going there anytime soon. This is so much more fun.