This past shabbat we had done something unthinkable and perverse. This is so embarrassing that I didn't even tell my BFF - the woman is pregnant, she doesn't need any additional stress in her life. But I need to share because the guilt is crushing me. And please, please, please don't tell anyone, ok?
Ready? This shabbat in the privacy of our own home we ate - ok, here it goes - potato kugel. Ok, that's not all. We also had cole slaw. Wait, it gets worse. My fingers refuse to type this, but I must persevere because admitting this is the first step to recovery. We, we, we, we ate ....gefilte fish prepared according to the instructions on the package. Yes, yes the frozen sweet culinary monstrosity that was boiled with a lonely carrot to appease our aesthetic sense and health consciousness. There, I already feel better, as if a stone has been lifted off my chest.
First I must say that I do not condemn any one of those dishes (well, except for the sweet gefilte fish) and occasionally - about twice a year - we indulge in home made potato kugel and about every other month in cole slaw. And gefilte fish (no sugar only!) has been cooked according to instructions only once - during my strange pregnancy cravings - and consumed in quiet shame under the covers away from SubHub's watchful eye. Otherwise, it is cooked in tomato sauce with lots of spices and barely resembles its Ashkenazi cousin, and again it is done every other year or so. So no, neither of these dishes are complete strangers to our house; it's just that the combination of all three has never been introduced to our shabbat table. And now it's been defiled...
How did we end up with those goodies? I was making them for someone else's consumption, but the food exchange through no fault of ours has not happened on Friday. I was unsure if I could freeze cooked gefilte fish, but I have heard that potato kugel freezes pretty well. But I was too late: SubHub looked kugel in the eye and was lost to all humanity possessing healthy taste buds. The allure of the oily potato mush was too strong for him to fight off and half of the kugel was devoured before the commencement of shabbat. Slowly but surely the same fate had followed the other dishes.
You truly are what you eat, and I can attest to that. We started feeling the effects of these foods almost immediately. When talking to my Sephardi neighbor, I was unable to call Shabbat "shabbat" and kept on saying "Shabbes", Torah became "Toirah"; ditto for all the other lingo. Five years of living with an Israeli have been undone in two sittings - Friday dinner and Shabbat lunch. Maybe subconsciously I knew I have become impure and wasn't worthy of using proper Hebrew? But kids took the worst brunt of it. DD mentioned that she wanted to go to the zoo. When we asked her why, she said that she wanted to see a big fish, a small fish and a swimming gefilte fish. Oy vey! SubHub told DD that gefilte fish only swim in boiling water... As a matter of fact, if DD wanted, Mommy could show her next Thursday gefilte fish in its natural habitat - a pot with a lonely carrot. Sigh.. Why is it always the hardest on the kids, why???
How long will it take to undo the damage? Only G-d Almighty knows... But I must remain optimistic, if not for myself, then for the kids, and earnestly hope that next Friday food exchange will not be foiled . I should also remember at all times about people less fortunate than us and remind myself that the situation could have been worse: I could've also made chulent...
Disclaimer: please note that the author was talking about the frozen log type gefilte fish, and under no circumstances was describing the real gefilte fish, which if done right is absolutely delicious!