Passover

Apr. 8th, 2015 11:39 am
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
I'm having a really good Passover this year. I want to write it up so I can look back on this week, but it's mostly just boring to people who are not me diary stuff.

I finished listening to and marking about 20 first year students' presentations lunchtime on Thursday, and decided to hurry home early so I could get the off-peak train and avoid the pre bank holiday rush. So I got to enjoy a relaxedw evening before we met [personal profile] wildeabandon coming out of church in order to go out to dinner together We ended up at The Plough, very much one of my favourite pubs, and they served a vegetarian equivalent of fish and chips but with big chunks of halloumi instead of fish, just amazing. Nobody had room for pudding at all, and we had some excellent conversation including a fair bit of comparing what's going on liturgically with Passover and Easter completely coinciding this year. (That's also why I'm not at Eastercon; hearing about the con from friends is great for vicarious enjoyment.)

[personal profile] jack came with me to spend Friday preparing food for the first seder meal. It was remarkably calm, in fact; my family have pretty much got seder prep down to a fine art and with P'tite Soeur in charge, applying her experience from commercial kitchens, everything goes pretty smoothly. All three sibs arrived with through the course of the day, and it was mostly me and P'tite Soeur helping in the kitchen while everybody else socialized, with [personal profile] jack and my sister's long-term partner drifting between the two groups. So we had two new partners-of-siblings and two established partners who are regulars at seder by now, and a couple of friends of Granny's from synagogue, and that was it; in my family a "small" seder is 15 people, and this was a small one. Screwy did a great job of leading the service, getting through the formal liturgy briskly so we didn't end up eating too late for the two nonagenarians present but did have some time for actual interesting discussion. And then we had eggs and salt water, and butternut squash soup, and salmon and veggie moussaka and stuffed courgettes and half a dozen salads, and about half as many different puddings as there were people, a layered meringue, a caramel and nut tart, mango sorbet, fruit salad, orange and almond cake, and a slightly amazing matza and charoset pudding that Thuggish Poet's gf brought from a kosher bakery in Hungary. And both brothers gave out books as afikomen presents, and P'tite Soeur made up little packets of different kinds of Passover cakes. It was just lovely; I would have liked more time with my scattered family and I am really hoping that we'll have some actual children at the seder next year, but just everything went right.

I left earlyish on Saturday to return to Stoke and run the communal seder there. That went well too; we were full to capacity, which is 40 people (it's a physically tiny shul), including most of the community as well as a lot of interfaith guests. As well as leading the ceremony I ended up on a table with a lot of Christian priests who insisted on asking me questions about Christianity instead of more usefully asking about Judaism, but I did my best. Again, everything went well, people seemed to be engaged in the discussion and enjoyed themselves. [personal profile] adam_in_rabbinical_school was the wise son and asked me technical halachic questions in public, and his mother asked me about women's participation, and other people usefully poked at inconsistencies, and the visitors more than the literal children asked fairly simple questions about the symbolism of ceremony. (The actual kids cheated at hunting the afikomen, mind you, but I think they had fun at least.) I think I managed to talk through the bits of liturgy that pertain to Mediaeval persecution of Jews by Christians without offending the Christian guests too much. It was hard work; 40 is about the upper limit of how many people I can keep mental and emotional track of (more than that it's just a performance and I lose the interactive bits, basically), and an hour and a half of doing that plus circulating and answering people's questions during the meal left me fairly exhausted.

And Sunday there were basically no sensible trains back to Cambridge, but I really wanted to come back home anyway since the alternative was to be stuck on campus over the Easter bank holiday which would have been pretty miserable. So I caught the long-distance coach, changing at Milton Keynes like I used to do when I was living in Scotland and dating people in the south of England. I did a lot of whining to my friends about having to spend most of Thursday and Saturday and all of Sunday travelling, and [livejournal.com profile] ghoti did the most amazing thing: she offered to make dinner so that I could come straight home and have food on the table. I warned her that it's Passover and I'm difficult to feed this week, but she was undaunted and asked sensible questions about the food rules and bought many dozens of eggs and looked up recipes on the internet. I mean, I'm keeping a fairly basic level of observance this year, not worrying about kitniyot (pulses and rice) or the location where food is prepared being completely free of chametz, but even so, I'm extremely impressed that a non-Jewish friend was willing to deal with Passover restrictions at all.

I can not tell you how lovely it was to come home and find the house full of friends and have nothing to do except eat dinner that somebody else had prepared! I feel really really spoiled. [livejournal.com profile] ghoti's family even indulged me by having my family's quasi-ritual argument about whether Jewish children should have Easter eggs on Passover. And the food was amazing, various kinds of curry with eggs, tofu or potatoes, and cheesecake with a kfp base and actual real authentic plava with lemon curd. [personal profile] wildeabandon and [livejournal.com profile] obandsoller joined us after dinner, having spent the afternoon at [personal profile] emperor and [livejournal.com profile] atreic's Easter feast.

I've taken a couple of days off work to recover from all that, and we're enjoying getting a bit more chance than usual to see friends. Mostly inviting people here because going out to eat during Passover is a bit of a pain, but that's really really nice. So Monday we had a relaxing day just pottering about and clearing up Sunday's dinner and spending some time with [personal profile] wildeabandon and [livejournal.com profile] obandsoller. And I went running with [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and her daughter who is a very good running coach, first time it's been warm enough to run outside this year, and I really enjoyed it. In the evening [personal profile] cjwatson came over for dinner and I made MK's Thai curry and it was ever so ever so companionable.

And yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out with him and [livejournal.com profile] ghoti and the children, including watching Howl's moving castle. [personal profile] emperor and [livejournal.com profile] atreic came over for dinner; I made another moussaka which worked pretty well, I think. We've been trying to arrange time with the two of them for ages and we're all just that bit too busy, so I was especially pleased we finally found a date. It was just one of those lovely grown-up dinner-party evenings where the whole point was to talk to excellent people. Also it turns out that I'm still entirely confused about Trinitarian theology, particularly in the case of how it works with Jesus being dead for three days.

One of the topics of conversation was what drinks we ought to have available to offer guests, because [personal profile] jack and I basically just drink beer and wine and haven't got organized to have much else in our drinks cabinet. Between us we came up with a list of: whisky, brandy, gin, sherry, port, maybe some sweet liqueur eg Baileys. Do people have any opinions about that list, and specifically what representatives of each class we should have? Port we can manage, but if we're going to have just one gin, one whisky and one brandy, what are sensible brands / varieties to choose? It makes sense not to buy anything super-fancy because we won't be able to keep it well enough to justify that, but we'd obviously prefer to get something decently drinkable to offer guests.

Tonight [livejournal.com profile] ghoti is coming over so it can be my turn to cook for her. And tomorrow [personal profile] jack and I are looking forward to an evening to ourselves cos it's not very clever to be so busy socializing that we ignore eachother! And I am hoping to see my parents not in the middle of Passover panic at the weekend, and maybe [personal profile] doseybat and [personal profile] highlyeccentric too, but I will email you both rather than trying to arrange things through DW.

I'm a bit scared of getting back to work cos I have a lot of stuff that I've been slightly avoiding in favour of even more urgent things. But at least I'm working from home this week and a few uninterrupted days should help a lot.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 10:48 am (UTC)
falena: Picture of a girl hiding behind a camera, reflected in a mirror. (Default)
From: [personal profile] falena
I adore diary stuff, because I'm a curious cat and I like seeing what other people's daily lives are like. :D

Drinks

Date: 2015-04-08 11:00 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
Whisky doesn't go off (mind you, whisky in my vicinity tends not to get much chance) so there's no reason to worry about that when stocking a bottle which may not get much of an outing. (Same with gin, but that has the disadvantage that you do need to keep tonic or some other mixer on hand, and they go flat very quickly once opened, so small bottles are more expensive but paradoxically better value especially if you mix and match diet tonic, ordinary tonic and perhaps something else like bitter lemon.)

In whisky, I'd be inclined to go for a single malt in either highlands or speyside; I love Islay malts myself, but they taste a bit like throat gargle/disinfectant (iodine from the seaweed) which I see as a feature but other people see as a bug.

Re: Drinks

Date: 2015-04-08 11:23 am (UTC)
wychwood: chess queen against a runestone (Default)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
For mixers, most supermarkets these days seem to do mini-cans of various sorts, which won't go off as readily but work fine if you're only providing one or two drinks at a time - my local does lemonade, tonic water both diet and regular, bitter lemon, ginger ale, soda water...

Re: Drinks

Date: 2015-04-08 11:28 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
Ah, mini-cans like the ones you get on trains and planes? Brilliant idea, why didn't I think of those?

Re: Drinks

From: [personal profile] wychwood - Date: 2015-04-08 11:35 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: Drinks

Date: 2015-04-08 12:06 pm (UTC)
ursula: (sheep)
From: [personal profile] ursula
Yay Islays! But in my experience, people who don't like wine or beer but do like hard liquor tend to enjoy drinks with sweet mixers. Thus, if one is not personally inclined to develop a taste for single malt, it might make more sense to buy something that can mix with juice or Coke without heresy.

Re: Drinks

Date: 2015-04-08 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
I don't like beer, but would drink wine and whisky for different purposes. For example, we might want one drink, not a whole bottle of wine, or I have a wee dram in the evening but wine with a meal.

Re: Drinks

From: [personal profile] naath - Date: 2015-04-08 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Drinks

From: [personal profile] alextiefling - Date: 2015-04-08 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] naath - Date: 2015-04-09 08:47 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-09 12:11 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Drinks

From: [personal profile] legionseagle - Date: 2015-04-08 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Drinks

From: [personal profile] legionseagle - Date: 2015-04-08 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
Whisky wise, we had Dalwhinnie for our wedding, because we thought it would please everyone, and it worked well enough.

I hope my tumblr/LJ post is actually helpful, if only by prompting you to know which questions you need to ask?

(3 days by modern thinking is a bit generous. 'On the third day he rose again' but He dies the day before the Sabbath, at the ninth hour, ie 3pm, rests on the Sabbath because Exodus 20:10, and by the time the women get there after the Sabbath is over - basically as soon after sunset as possible - He is risen already. So less than 48 hours dead.)

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] cjwatson - Date: 2015-04-08 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] alextiefling - Date: 2015-04-08 09:18 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] rysmiel - Date: 2015-04-08 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-08 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-08 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] atreic - Date: 2015-04-10 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] jack - Date: 2015-04-08 01:30 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] jack - Date: 2015-04-08 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] jack - Date: 2015-04-08 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] alextiefling - Date: 2015-04-08 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] lethargic_man - Date: 2015-04-08 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon - Date: 2015-04-08 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] davidgillon - Date: 2015-04-08 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-08 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] naath - Date: 2015-04-08 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] alextiefling - Date: 2015-04-08 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-09 12:13 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] atreic - Date: 2015-04-10 01:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 12:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
Oh, it's also worth mentioning that if you want to please me more than you want to look for something with universal appeal, I am very fond of Lagavulin.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 01:02 pm (UTC)
cjwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cjwatson
Yay lovely few days :-)

I'm glad you got to try the halloumi in the Plough! It was glorious when you and I went there and I had it.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-08 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand

Halloumi

From: [personal profile] dglenn - Date: 2015-04-11 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 03:50 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Courvoisier is nice enough brandy to be drinkable unmixed but not so nice that it costs a bomb or is hard to find, and like whisk(e)y it'll keep basically forever.

(Or for about the same price you can get similarly nice rum, e.g. Flor de CaƱa 7-year old, nom.)

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-08 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-08 09:37 pm (UTC)
alextiefling: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alextiefling
On the subject of liquor:

I would suggest having a tequila (get 'reposado', not 'oro'), both a whisky and a whiskey (see below), a brandy, a golden rum, a vodka, and both a port and a sherry.

Whisk(e)y is a huge and varied field. Everyone here seems to be assuming Scotch, which is good advice, but not the only answer. To paraphrase what I have said elsewhere: there are seven Scotch whisky regions, but one of them is in Japan. Sadly, Japanese whisky in the UK is almost all at the price of premium Scotch, so it's hard to buy casually. The Canadians are the other no-e whisky people; but I don't think you need a Canadian whisky unless you're building a more serious collection.

Whiskey, in turn, is either Irish or American. The Irish stuff is subject to many of the same variations as the Scotch, but in slightly less detail. However, may my Irish ancestors forgive me, I think one can make do with a bottle of Jameson's. American whiskey is also fascinatingly varied, but if you start with a bottle of Maker's Mark or similar, you're set.

For vodka, I recommend Chase or Sipsmith - both English and smooth enough to drink neat - but if you're only mixing, Absolut blue will do. The best flavoured vodka in regular shops is Zubrowka, which my non-vodka-drinking mother takes as a digestif.

If you have those things, soda, ginger beer, grenadine, and some fruit juice and ice, you can make more different drinks than you will ever need.
Edited Date: 2015-04-08 09:38 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 04:59 am (UTC)
cjwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cjwatson
It's true that whiskey is a meaningfully different drink: I find it rather smoother. There is very much less variation in practice. Much though I prefer it myself, I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that a drinks cabinet ought to contain it if it's only for guests, though: perhaps put it towards the end of the list.

At the risk of filling [personal profile] liv's journal with whiskey debate, I've always found Jameson's to be mediocre. If you're going for Irish whiskey and aren't on a really very tight budget, you may as well get a bottle of Bushmills instead which is still easily available in England and will be much more enjoyable.

Nobody's mentioned aging yet, which is maybe not obvious if you don't drink the stuff yourself. I'd recommend 15-year-old as a basic minimum for Scotch. Irish whiskey matures more quickly than Scotch as a general rule (I understand this is because it's normally triple-distilled rather than double-distilled, though I'm not at all an expert on the processes): I think the Bushmills 10-year-old is quite adequate for a non-connoisseur's cabinet. In both cases, within any given distillery you normally find that older is better in a much more uniform way than it tends to be for wine, but of course the prices climb precipitously at the high end. Personally I don't think I've ever spent more than 40 pounds on a bottle.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com - Date: 2015-04-09 12:16 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] ursula - Date: 2015-04-10 12:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-11 03:28 pm (UTC)
angelofthenorth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angelofthenorth
I would recommend Penderyn Whisky (Madeira Cask), Five Vodka and Brecon Gin - all Welsh products, and all delicious. I'm particularly fond of the gin :)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 01:35 pm (UTC)
hatam_soferet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatam_soferet
I absolutely love the image of your ptite soeur directing kitchen operations. Amazing.

And if you keep reporting things like this about ghoti I may have to fall in love with her myself.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ghoti.livejournal.com
Well, that would make sense because I am beautiful, creative, thoughtful, always surprising; in short, my only flaw is my excessive modesty.



(Thank you, that's a lovely thing to say)

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-09 04:04 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I'm glad that you had such a good time with everyone, and got as much ritual in as you needed to.

I think the Trinitarian argument hinges on the idea of the body and the soul being separate entities, such that the body ceases, but the soul continues. Much like how (you know, I never know what address to use here for the being represented by the Tetragrammaton to be properly respectful) breathed life into the clay, He imbued a body with his own essence, to be used as the sacrifice that would fulfill a covenant and make a new one. Thus, "fully () and fully human" simultaneously. That essence did not die when the body died, but (depending on your tradition) may have gone to the Inferno and released the virtuous there, may have opened the gates of Heaven to everybody, and then rejoined () as an intercessor for humans so as to secure blessings for us and to blunt the anger of () when we sin. At no point did the essence of () cease, just the container that part was put inside.

Anyway, as for drinks, it depends, really. If your liquor departments or stores arrange as the ones in the States do, the quality of the drink raises or lowers as you go up and down shelves, so you'll probably want a mid-shelf liquor. Your stores may also offer such things in shot sizes - more expensive, but also nothing left over.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-10 11:52 am (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
I really liked this post - thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-11 03:29 pm (UTC)
angelofthenorth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] angelofthenorth
Really enjoyed this post and its comments.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-12 02:58 am (UTC)
khalinche: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khalinche
Concur with the folk above, this post is full of loveliness from several directions.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

Top topics

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 12 3 456
7 89 10111213
14151617 181920
21 22 23 2425 2627
2829 3031   

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Subscription Filters