Life in General

Meshugeh from Menus


It’s been a long writing break; I’ve been busy. Busy making menus.

It all starts with Rosh Hashanah – time to get those menus together!

I start browsing cookbooks and Facebook groups for the newest, most exciting recipes.

Pomegranate fig salad; Carrot leek tartlets; Honey crusted apple something or other.

The options are endless, but I make sure to stick to my golden rules; only try recipes with ingredients I recognize and names I know how to pronounce.

That usually saves me from shopping at 8 different stores to find ingredients and then using every bowl in the kitchen to assemble a 15 step recipe.

Pies and creams, yes. Tortes, pavlova, ganache, no.

I finalize and get to work; 6 meals, 12 side dishes, 18 salads. And even though the first meal is for 65 people, that still doesnt faze me…I’m full steam ahead! I have one day at home with just me and the sleeping 18 month old – I cram a weeks worth of work into a few hours.

I’m feeling smug – I’ve got it all down pat. Never mind the 35 lbs of Challah in the freezer that I made two weeks ago. This Tishrei is going to be a cinch!

Great desserts, creative tasty sides, not too unhealthy desserts… Meal 1…meal 2…meal 5…

Funny how the food is looking less appetizing, the tantalizing sides less appealing….and meal 6 at last. I barely finish my plate and eye the cereal and milk hungrily.

I don’t want to see chicken and meat, no matter how well disguised, for a long time.

Not more than a day or two later, it’s menu time again.

Yom Kippur. 2 pre fast meals. 1 break fast for 50. Help. Do we really need to serve food? I push it off another day…and then face the cookbooks. Time to keep it simple. Things that don’t need much advance prep. Yom Kippur comes and passes. By the time the break fast arrives, what do you know, the appetite is back.

And so is the ambition. Succos menus, here we come!! 18 salads, 12 sides, 6 mains. I’m not quite as creative as pre Rosh Hashana mode, but definitely better than pre Yom Kippur. Only ingredients I can pronounce. Only names of recipes that are easy to identify. I’m satisfied with the results and ready to get to work.

Another few intense hours that all the kids are out, and I work without taking a moment to breathe, once again patting myself on the back for the many Challahs in the freezer (which I am in denial about the dwindling supply…)

Meal 1, nice salads, some new recipes. Meal 2…meal 3….meal 4…let’s skip the salads and just eat main dishes…meal 5….lets skip the mains and just eat the salads….meal 6…let’s just have tuna sandwiches…I don’t want to see this food anymore!

Chol Hamoed. A break at last.

What, we need to eat supper on Chol Hamoed too??

Hot dogs will do. Pizza (home made, but still a good change) the next night. The kids are thrilled and so am I!

And then I face reality; the challah supply is gone. Gone!

I roll up my sleeves, and this time with a kitchen full of little underfoot helpers, we bake challah. I begrudgingly pull out my dear, trusty Bosch mixer…and we get to work.

Well, I get to work while the kids are undoing my work. I take out the sugar. I turn around and it’s gone. 3 year old walked off with it. I take out the salt, turn around and it’s gone. Five year old is hiding in a corner with it. Newly walking climbing 18 month old is sitting as a centerpiece on the dining room table, center stage, waiting for mommy to flip out and take him off. One of his favorite games. I run to relocate him, at the cost of the flour disappearing. This is nooooot working.

I work on fast forward, safeguarding my ingredients and getting the dough done.

And then it’s time to face the real fun…no, it can’t be…there must be a mistake…

It’s time to make menus!!

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Who can think of food? Who wants to think of food??

And yes, I think of all those oh-so-smart Yom Tov advice giver people who give such great tips like – whatever you make, make double or triple of and freeze….fill your freezer….

Who has time to double, triple recipes and fill the freezer when there’s barely enough time to get  today’s to do list done!

It’s inevitable…I gotta get working. More chicken and meat.

I’m even sick of pastry dough. How many different foods can you hide in pastry dough!?

So I bake some cakes and tell the kids we’ll just eat cake for each meal.

They’re thrilled.

I go back to the basics. The regular recipes. the ones that are so simple they don’t even have a descriptive title.

Like chicken. Potatoes. String beans.

And meal 1 comes…meal 2…meal 3…

Now that I’m not spending so much time obsessing over foods, I can actually think about the holidays.

And I realize it’s almost done. Where have 21 holiday meals gone??

Meal 4…meal 5…and meal 6 rolls around, to the tune of more chicken and gefilte fish.

And what a beautiful month it was.

And I can’t wait to have cereal and milk for supper tomorrow night.

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