Friday, October 09, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

I have been cooking non-stop today in preparation for a Shabbat dinner with Micah friends tonight, including our new rabbi Esther. It’s a challenge because we’re going to services first, so the meal has to be completely prepared ahead of time and ready to roll out the minute 10 hungry people come in the door.

This all came about last week at services when I spoke to a young visitor (her third time) and realized how much she could learn from other members about her age...and about the age of our new young rabbi. So all week I have been putting together a group of 20’s and 30’s who will join us 60’s for dinner.

My first challenge was the fact that we don’t keep kosher. I somewhat shyly asked Esther if we should plan to eat on paper plates and stick to a vegetarian menu. But it turns out she is not so strictly observant to require that.

As I thought about entertaining a rabbi for the first time, my mind went back to the times when my mother entertained a visiting evangelist. She cleaned for days. She made mounds of tiny carefully deveined boiled shrimp. She hired our African-American cleaning lady, called a maid in the south, to dress up in a frilly white uniform and serve the meal. It was quite a production.

I’m certainly not going to those extremes for this mostly cold meal. I spent the morning making a variety of salads and making some oven-roasted potatoes. I did find I was paying attention to cut out the blemishes in the fruit and the avocados, but I would have probably done that anyway. I cleaned all the spatters off the stove top, but I would probably have done that too for just about any dinner party.

The house is by no means immaculate, having been cleaned almost 2 weeks ago. But fortunately Jake doesn’t shed much any longer since he is on the new diet, so there’s not much obvious dirt. A quick once-over will have to do.

Oh, and did I say our son Dan is joining us for dinner? I assured him no one would need to know his feelings about God or Judaism or religion in general. I’m delighted that he will get to meet some people from Temple Micah who are around his age.

My work is done. This afternoon I will get to savor the smells of salmon on the grill, tended by my husband, who seems to have mastered the art of grilling.

I’ve put Jake on notice that he needs to behave himself. No over-zealous biting of clothes and no ferocious barking, as he usually does to compensate for the fact that he is a little afraid of new people.

Should be a fun evening. A good way to unwind after the unwinding of the Torah as we celebrate Simcha Torah and prepare to start at the very beginning once again.


Blogger Steve said...

Sounds terrific! I admire your energy as a hostess! (I'm terrible at hosting fact, I've pretty much given up.)

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart warmed as I read of your hospitality. I look forward to hearing how it all unfolded!


1:41 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

it sounds like a good occasion. I really like going all out on a special dinner party just now and then.

The fruit picture is lovely - simple and beautiful!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Everything worked out wonderfully. It was mostly people who hadn't met one another before, but by the end of the evening we were all old friends, addressing our rabbi as Esther. Even a Blogger in the crowd. Check out a great new food blog.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

Sounds like fun!

11:50 AM  

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