Passover is on the way and we’re shopping for “different” foods. The supermarket shelves are loaded with goodies and many of the items are hard to ignore. Who would walk past a skyscraper stack of chocolate covered macaroons (ugh) and not buy them? We picked and chose carefully as we cruised down the aisles so as not to put too big a strain on the overdraft but our resolve gave in as we came to the selection of gefilte fish, a long time favorite in this household.
“Hmm, look at those big bottles,” said my wife, the chief shopper.
“12 pieces per bottle,” said I, reading the label. “How’s the price?”
“22 shekels. That’s pretty good.”
“Take two,” I say, and we load the heavy bottles into the trolley.
This is only the third time we have bought the gefilte fish: up to now this traditional Ashkenazi dish has always been home-made, but age combined with the small retirement home kitchen has brought about changes and the truth is that the ready-made is really good. So we ignore the guilty Ashkenazi feelings and buy our gefilte fish. Each ball will still be served with a roundel of carrot perched on the top and we eat the fish with the same red chrain.
At home we unpack our purchases and look for storage space until the big day arrives. It is then that we notice the expiry date on the bottles – 9 October 2017 at 16:07!
Look at it this way: If the gefilte fish maker is confident that his fish will still be edible in October 2017, we will do everything in our power to make sure that we will be here to eat it. Thank you for your optimism, gefilte fish.
Man is a creature of habit. That’s nothing new; it’s been like that forever. And it follows that the older you are the more ingrained the habits. When you reach retirement home age, the subject of change is not even open for discussion. So when I march into the exercise room and plonk myself down in the fourth chair from the door, I should not be surprised when a growl announces. “This is my chair!” I move without even looking up to see who’s talking.
In the lounge the same people sit in the same circles at the same tables day in and day out. In the dining room the ‘no-change’ rules apply equally strictly. Of course this can get highly exaggerated. I bumped my neighbor in the elevator the other day. I was coming up from the dining room with a heavy shopping bag. I had just bought lunch for two and was taking it up to our apartment.
“They’ve got great fish down there today, Mike!” I announce.
He looks at me and says, “We don’t take food from there!”
“Why not?” I ask. “It’s always great and the price is pretty reasonable.”
“I can’t stand eating the same meal every day,” he explains.
“But there’s a choice. Today there’s two kinds of fish, a meat and chicken.”
“Doesn’t matter. I always take the same dish, the chicken, so I won’t take from there any more.”
Then I understood why I always see him carrying supermarket shopping bags. The ‘no-change’ habit has totally overcome him.
There was major change yesterday. We had a quiz for the first time and it was held in the bridge room – meaning that we drove out bridge players in favor of quiz players. The only other way I know of moving bridges is with dynamite.