Sunday, December 27, 2009

Honor your father and mother

My husband teaches me every day to be a better person- I know it sounds corny, but it's true. His mom stopped by our house today on her way home. I had left some herbs at her house last week, and she decided to bring them by. We didn't know she was coming, but the moment she entered the house, he offered to take her coat, invited her in for a cup of tea, and welcomed her. She asked for an extra hug because we "had left on Friday without saying goodbye" to her. Instead of being sarcastic or dismissive (as sometimes I am towards my dad), he apologized sincerely, saying he never meant to overlook her. Such honor! Such tenderness. I really do love my hubby, and admire him as well.

My dad was here for several days recently, celebrating Chanukah with us. Itried to take this as an opportunity to practice the 5th commandment (thanks to Lori P for teaching them to me in order-- I have taught several people and now will never forget!). I brought him his coffee in the morning, made him hot cocoa at night, and when he asked me a question, instead of staying where I was and telling him where the milk was or how to turn on the camera, I got up and did it for him, each time listening to the little voice in my head that said, "This is your chance. This is your chance to honor him by taking care of him the way he always took care of you." Every time I put his dishes in the dishwasher, cleaned shmutz up off the floor or table, I thought of what a privilege it was to be able to take care of my family, and thanked Hashem for all my opportunities to do so.

It made all the difference in the world.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Adventures in Pareveland

Pareve, those foodstuffs that are neither milk, nor meat, have always for me been relegated to the realm of savory. Side dishes with veggies, salads, challah, when requested to bring a pareve dish I have always gone salty. When having to go to the sweet side, I stop by one of our grocery stores and pick up something my husband and I generally refer to as "kosher kryptonite." Those cakes and cookies that have a decidedly dense texture, sitting in your stomach like a lump of lead. Other alternatives are equally distasteful- fresh fruit (BORING...), sorbet, soy or rice ice cream... all those things that seem like such a compromise. Hubby also does not like cooked fruit, so all pies, tarts, etc are also out.

This Shabbat we are having Friday dinner with some friends, and I was requested to bring a pareve dessert. I initially thought, "I guess I'll pick up some cupcakes or brownies..." and then I thought, "No. I can do better. There has to be something out there. Observant Jewish women all around the world make Shabbos with meat, and they can't all have cr@ppy dessert. I have to at least try."

So I find myself this morning making "Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Terrine." Thanks to Susie Fishbein and Kosher Cooking by Design. My first foray into pareve whipping cream and margarine in the glaze. Please, Hashem, make this taste good, so my husband gets a reward for being willing to tolerate a dessert made pareve when he has no obligation to.