Friday, January 10, 2014

Snack Time at Grandmother's, OY VAY!

   There is no better place in the world than a Jewish grandmother's kitchen. Always full of laughter, it is a non-stop feast of fun for the masses (even if the "masses" are only me.). My grandmother's kitchen has always been a safe-haven, sheltering family and friends from the perils of the outside world. The moment my tush hits the seat at her kitchen table, my four-foot-six-inch grandmother grabs my wrist and says, "Let me fix ya a little 'nosh'.", in the sweetest Brooklyn accent. Nosh is supposed to be a snack, apparently she did not get the memo. This is where the regretful gluttony begins.
   It all starts with a beverage, or really the whole gamut of available beverages. First there is delicious coffee, brewed stronger than an ox. Evaporated milk mixed with heavy cream finds its way to the table to mellow the extra buff coffee. The world's smallest glass of orange juice; as well as two percent milk meet to approval for drinks. There is also always an ice cold can of K-Mart brand cherry soda. She must have an endless stock hidden away somewhere; the cans have looked the same for twenty years. Water, however, gets omitted from this buffet of drinkable liquids and I never ask why either. This really sets the tone for my pending snack.
   No matter how forthright I try to be about my lack of hunger, there's no stopping her from force-feeding me. Her galley kitchen only comfortably fits an eight-year-old child, yet we just pack in there like sardines. One could only imagine the immediate discomfort I feel, being over six feet tall and weighing nearly three hundred pounds. I did mention sardines, didn't I? Which is, ironically, one of the countless snacks I wearily jam into my gullet in her presence. That, as well as anchovies.
   We always start with my favorite food, toasted sesame bagels and Nova Scotia lox. I wish it could stop after this; my words at this point mean nothing to her. While I munch, she strategically empties the contents of her refrigerator onto the table. There are thin sliced deli meats, leftover steak and peppers, Challa bread, the world's best tuna salad, fire roasted red peppers, sweet gherkin pickles, savory black olives, and some strange gelatinous pineapple dish that only women over eighty-years-old still make. It is the most ridiculous amount of 'nosh' anyone could imagine!

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

   Just when I think there could not be any food left for her to serve me, I get blindsided with even more guilty pleasures. The heat radiates from the stove in the minuscule kitchen, forcing instant perspiration. I ask myself what could possibly be next in this culinary assault? As she scrambles a bowl full of raw eggs, she informs me that I will be eating matzo brei. This is a traditional Jewish dish that I only get to eat at her home. Matzo crackers are saturated in egg and cooked to golden perfection. It is a delicious part of my heritage that I would never deny. My stomach grumbles in fear.
   I refuse to finish everything she set out on the table, but I make sure to try all of it. Since the matzo brei is made special for me, I have to stomach all of it. I try to pace myself, yet it never seems to stop me from feeling over stuffed. Snack time should not have me bursting at the seams! My regular escape plan is to always head to the bathroom. I make sure to adamantly tell her that I am finished eating for good. She always triple checks with me before I can leave the table.
   Once in the bathroom I shamefully stare at myself in the mirror and think - why did I just do that? The answer is simple. There is not one bone in my body that could ever deny this delightful family matriarch, eloquently known as Grandmother. With that I wipe the sweat off of my brow, take a deep breath and exit the bathroom. This is only to find a bowl of melon awaiting my company at the kitchen table...

I guess it will never end.

Don't mess with me, she will kick your ass!

Scotty J ~ "Common courtesy and logic each have their place...but know your role in Grandma's Kitchen!"

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