Friday, November 13, 2009

Chavi Was Never a Cook.

I have never been a cook. My mother didn't really teach me to cook, so everything I picked up I picked up when I was forced to cook when I ended up in Washington D.C. Before that I relied on fast food like Subway and Wendy's and that's probably how I managed to gain so much weight my senior year of college. When I moved to D.C. I learned to cook, but mostly vegetarian. It burgeoned even more when I was living in Chicago and my ability really took off around Pesach in 2008 when I mastered the art of melting sugar and cooking fish.

This weekend, the friends I often stay with (I'm not really staying with the family I used to stay with anymore because as the weather gets colder, my knees become mush faster; Tuvia still is staying with them however) are out of town, so they're letting me stay at their place alone. Tuvia thought it'd be a good idea to host people there if they'd let us, so I agreed, telling Tuvia that it was his job to invite people and my job to cook. Well, we're expecting about SEVEN to EIGHT people altogether tonight (including us). So I freaked out and made about five million things to eat. I even found a recipe for parve pumpkin pie, but that went horribly, horribly wrong and I had to chuck it. But here's the menu for dinner tonight. Note: All dairy ingredients were adjusted to protect the innocent (that is, to make them parve).

Challah (it rose too much, browned to quick on the bottom, and looks a little weird; sigh)
Butternut Squash Soup with Bagel Chips
Salad with candied walnuts and pears, with a simple vinaigrette
Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole (which, by the way, looks amazing)
Green beans
Corn Kugel (now a standby/staple)
Meatballs with Orzo (some with pasta sauce, some without)
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Mixed Fruit

I think that's everything. I feel like there was more (well, there was the pumpkin pie). This is honestly the first time I've cooked food for anyone in the community. These are people who have cooked for me multiple times, and their food is outstanding. I'm anxious as hell. I was particularly anal because of bishul akum -- that is, Tuvia had to turn on all the burners for me since I'm not halakicly Jewish, I couldn't do the full cooking by myself for other Jews. I wanted to make everything perfect, making sure I didn't treyf anything up. Thus, the kitchen was a mess of things and I washed the parve bowls and cooking stuff probably seven times in the past day out of reuse. Either way, I am praying that it should be a successful meal. If anything, the soup and the casserole will be a big hit. I think they're outstandingly amazing.

Wish me luck!