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.
In fact, for every year we add to our personal score, the party gets wilder… Somewhere in our lifetime, we all stop looking forward to the next birthday, the next new year, the next holiday and the next major event and we start looking back at our achievements, one of which, is our age. “I’m 86, you know. I remember the day my father came home from work driving his first car, a 1934 Plymouth. Wow, it was exciting!” So when a birthday rolls around, it’s an occasion for celebration.
We leave out the part with the candles and all that blowing but we set out cakes and other sugar free delights and invite friends to come and join us. Today’s party was pitched at the 75 to 85 age-group and while there were no real birthday gifts a great time was had by all. As always there is an age limit so no grandchildren or great-grandchildren were invited and there wasn’t an iPhone or iPad in sight; we sat and talked to each other as we had done back in the old days.
Conversation is limited as follows: Children – 2 minutes each, grandchildren – 3 minutes each, great-grandchildren – 1 minute each and that favorite of all conversations – ailments – 2 minutes each. You can understand the reasons for these limitations. Much of the conversation consisted of “remember when” stories about travel, holidays, major milestones in our lives and in the world in general.
The food was prepared by 75 year old housewives, who have unlimited experience in the kitchen and these babes know their cooking. There is no such thing as an untried recipe in their books! Happy birthday every one!