Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
May 23, 2003
Friday night supper

We hosted a traditional Friday night Jewish supper this evening in Cambridge. I undertook it on the basis that, despite my non-belief, it would be of interest to our friends. We started cooking on Wednesday – the chicken soup in particular took ages to make, starting with a boiling fowl, carrots, turnip, celery and a bouquet garni. At least my kneidlach (little dumplings) were voted “fluffy” not “bullets”.

ready for kiddush

We lit the shabbos candles and made kiddush with Palwin No. 10 wine. Everybody washed their hands and then we had two challahs (bread) to start the meal. Chicken soup with kneidlach was followed by gefillte fish (boiled white fish cakes) and chopped liver (chicken liver with egg and onion). For the main course, we had a huge roasted chicken, with potatoes, parsnips, brussels sprouts and carrots. Finally, dessert was lockshen pudding (noodle pudding). We then sang shabbos songs and had bentsching (grace after meals) in Hebrew.

I think everybody enjoyed themselves – only two of the seven of us are Jewish. For me it was a self-indulgence. It’s such a satisfaction to cook for friends and see them enjoying themselves, groaning with the onslaught of the next course. The Sabbath ritual of candles, wine, bread and bonhomie is the most abiding memory of my sojourn with orthodox Judaism. A past remembered with the yellow hue of a flickering flame. Poppy seeds and crumbs on the table. Napkins discarded on the floor. Sweet wine, a full stomach, warmth around me, a book to read and dream-laden sleep cuddling Alfred.

Posted by nathan at May 23, 2003 11:56 PM

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