This time of year is one holiday after another for us Jews, and as such, it’s also one meal after another. When a festival runs into Shabbat, we get a three day whammy, which gives us at least 6 meals to prepare for, and for some over-eager beavers, 9+.
The holidays are a time for family, so it isn’t unusual to have crowds of 20 or more around your festive table, and unlike the stories I’ve heard told of Xmas dinner, there is no set menu of Turkey and Cranberry sauce to keep to, so the opportunities are endless.
If there is one place to people-watch this time of year, it has to be the Kosher recipe groups on Facebook, where if you’re lucky, and very very quiet, you might catch sight of these rare breeds in their natural habitat.
1. The Substitutor
This poster pops up on most dessert threads, mainly to make you feel really bad about yourself. Questions include: ‘Have you ever made those brownies with apple sauce instead of sugar?’ (No, I’m not insane) and ‘What do you substitute the margarine for in that kugel?’ (More margarine. it’s a margarine kugel. Go away. )
Sometimes they just pop in to lie to you, with such classics as ‘I made that omelette without eggs and it tasted completely identical’ as well as ‘My kids said they loved the beetroot and courgette muffins more than the chocolate chip ones.’ Fool me once, shame on you.
2. Mrs What’s Missing?
Just when you’ve made the executive decision that everyone is going to have cereal and milk for Friday night (and like it) here comes Chaya from Brooklyn with her “menu”. It’s not a restaurant, Chaya.
Guys I really need help!! So far, I have Challa and home-made dips, chicken soup with all the trimmings, BBQ schnitzel, honey roasted chicken, salt beef, broccoli and potato kugels, sweet and sour rice, popcorn cauliflower, 3 salads, and then for dessert it’s ice cream, salted caramel brownies and a pavlova. I feel like I’m missing something, what am I missing? Oh ps: it’s just me and my hubby thanks.
Chaya? Chaya! Pick me! I know what you’re missing! It’s about seventeen more humans, and a nap.
3. The Amnesiac Shopper
Now I know I went to the grocery store this morning, and I know that I picked up a whole lot of food, but for the life of me, I’m not sure what any of it actually is. Does anyone recognise this odd looking vegetable? Or know what I can do with it that will feed 7 adults and 4 kids including a 13yo who doesn’t eat vegetables?
What about this cut of meat? I think it’s called number 5. Or maybe it was 9. I’m pretty sure the Butcher said it was pickled. or maybe he said it should be pickled. Did I remember to buy pickles? Does anyone know where I left my car?
4. The Amateur Masterchef
Some of the photos I see on the recipe groups are pretty impressive, from Challot that look bakery-bought but probably taste better, to chocolate babkas that are practically food porn, as well as incredibly fiddly pastry and meat concoctions that I would never be able to achieve.
But sometimes, no matter how much you call it herb encrusted salmon with an assiette of wilted tender stem garden produce, it’s still gonna be fish and green veg. And whatever joy describing your lightly browned beef on a bed of puréed chickpeas gives you, it’s still the mincemeat and hummus that takes five minutes to make and you discovered at your mother in laws house. #sorrynotsorry
5. Harbinger of Doom
With love to all the over achievers out there, I still have to give a shout out to my people. You know who you are. (Hint: you put jacket potatoes in the slow cooker for one of your Rosh Hashana meals, but forgot to heat the baked beans. Yeah, there you are.) You probably head to the recipe groups out of sheer voyeuristic pleasure, or maybe to ask whether that turkey roll you forgot about at the back of the fridge is still good to eat. If you’ve done the latter, you’ve probably met the Harbinger of Doom before.
“I made chicken soup 3 days ago, can I still eat it?”
“Absolutely not, bin it.”
“Oh. What about this potato kugel, it was defrosted about a week ago?”
“Are you kidding? Definitely not. Throw it away.”
“How about this yoghurt? The best before was just yesterday..”
“Do you want to make your kid sick? Why risk it?”
“I opened this cheese earlier on, but I left it on the counter for half an hour and-“
“Throw it away. Use gloves. Can’t be too careful with bacteria.”
Jesus lady, how about this sealed packed of biscuits? Is it okay if I eat these while I try to recover from my new food phobia?
But don’t worry dear reader, you aren’t alone. Check the comments for dozens of hardy women who are on your side, and are guaranteed to have shared their war stories to make you feel better.
I regularly drink milk that’s spoiled and I’m still here to tell the tale!
I once ate a schnitzel that I found behind the couch, and I’m FINE.
I don’t even bother cooking the meat and my kids haven’t complained yet! Granted, they are kind of quiet.. Chavi, you ok honey?
5. The Shameless Brag
A relative of the humble bragger from the online mums forums post, when this person moves over to the recipe groups, she has no need to be coy. Posting photos of the oddest brags, from a fully set Seder table a fortnight before Pesach, to six dozen chocolate cakes “all ready for the freezer!” She must live in the Ice Bar, she has so much space to cook ahead of time, and she will absolutely post the recipes for all of these “delish treats” as soon as she has a spare minute. Which is good, because the F’s on her post are getting a bit out of hand, and the natives are getting restless.
Have I missed any of your favourite recipe group regulars?