My regular readers have, no doubt, been asking themselves where I could have disappeared to. Yes, I know I shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, but it sounds less awkward than “have been asking themselves to where I could have disappeared”. I suppose I could have said “have been asking themselves whither I had disappeared” but that sounds rather pretentious.
Anyway, the fact is that on August 31st, I moved to my new apartment and since then, I have been working like a dog (do dogs work?) to lick it into shape (actually, I had my cleaning lady squeegee the floor – no licking involved), and have hardly had time to sit down at the computer and blog, although I kept up with the world on Facebook, via my mobile phone.
My furbabies have just reminded me that dogs actually do work, at a variety of jobs – such as sheep-herding, guard duty, guiding the blind etc. and that they themselves, as self-respecting felines, were of immense assistance to me when it came to unpacking the dozens of boxes and cartons which I brought with me from my (our?) old home. Who knows what treasures I might have thrown away, unexamined, had they not insisted on exploring each and every carton, jumping into them and running off with any interesting-looking piece of paper. I did, in fact, almost throw away an extremely important document from the bank, containing my new internet password, but this was not their fault and fortunately, I retrieved it before it was taken down to the dumpster and irrevocably lost.
The reason for this fever to get the new flat in order in just three weeks was that I had recklessly invited the whole family (twelve souls, including Yours Truly) for the festive meal on the Eve of Rosh Hashana. Those of you who remember my previous attempts at large scale catering will no doubt understand why, as I commenced my preparations, I asked myself more than once, “What was I thinking?!” – particularly when I tried to swap round the two disposable baking-trays to ensure that each got an equal amount of heat. It was then that I remembered – too late – why I dislike disposable aluminium foil baking-trays. They have a tendency to buckle, with the result that extremely hot gravy spattered all over the place, including on me!
As is usual on these occasions, I – as the hostess – made the main course (chicken legs and thighs in honey and garlic sauce), the soup (a vegetable soup which garnered high praise, especially from one of my brothers-in-law) and the dessert (my Famous Fruit Salad), while my sisters and my stepmother rallied round and contributed many side dishes, such as baked potatoes, rice, spicy Moroccan-style fish balls (“Moroccan gefillte fish” ;-) ), salad and so on. In addition, Ilana, my stepmother, prepared beef for those who don’t care for chicken. As you can imagine, there was enough food left over to provide several meals! Again – as usual ;-)
Of course, this being my first sit-down dinner, naturally there was room for improvement. I hadn’t given sufficient thought to serving-dishes in which to put some of the food prepared by my family, or in which to serve some of the shop-bought salads which we had for hors d’oeuvres. And I think I would have done better if, like the Crawleys of Downton Abbey, I had a bevy of servants to heat up and serve the many dishes, thus enabling me to sit at ease at the table and take part in the dinner conversation. For that reason, I admit to not yet being the Perfect Hostess. However, I don’t think I did too badly, considering I have never before hosted a large-scale sit-down dinner – and to think I did all this within weeks of moving into my new home, and with a couple of dozen packing-cases still to be opened, which I shoved into the study, discreetly out of sight.
So – a New Year and a New Home.
I cannot, of course, end my first blog of the New Year without some mention of Yom Kippur, which begins this evening. Since 1973, Yom Kippur is inextricably linked with the near-disaster of the Yom Kippur War, but I don’t want to write about politics now, tempting as it may be in light of the fact that, this year, Yom Kippur coincides with the Muslim festival of Eid el-Adha. I could say an awful lot about that and would have, had it coincided with Rosh Hashana, when we read the biblical story of the Sacrifice of ISAAC (and NOT, as the Muslim attempt to re-write history would have it, of Ishmael). My faithful readers know that this blog, which was actually born in war, has always been a mixture of the political and the every-day. I have written almost exclusively about politics for the last couple of months and a break (however short) is now required.
So I will just leave you with the traditional blessing for the High Holy Days: May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
G’mar chatima tova – גמר חתימה טובה