Friday, September 25, 2015
Yom Kippur, Gom Jabbar, and Potato Gnocchi
Tuesday - No blog post tomorrow, as it is Yom Kippur. But until then ...
Thought for the Day: Everything you need to know about Middle Eastern politics is set out in Frank Herbert's Dune series, especially the first book which was published in 1965. So, was the Reverend Mother Helen Gaius Mohiam subjecting Paul Atriedes to the gom jabbar or Yom Kippur? The gom jabbar was used by the Bene Gesserit to test a person's humanity. And really, what is Yom Kippur all about?
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by wild beast,
Who by famine and who by thirst,
Who by earthquake and who by plague,
Who by strangulation and who by stoning,
Who shall have rest and who shall wander,
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low,
Who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished.
But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severe decree.
Okay, that was just a wandering thought, and I'm not sure where it wandered in from, but I apologize in advance for any hint of sacrilege.
During dinner with my New Paltz friends, we got to talking about retirement. Who could have imagined us sitting around having this conversation all those years ago? We were so young back then; we couldn't vote (voting age was still 21) and we couldn't drink (drinking age was 18).
Those of us who are presently retired agreed that once you get used to the idea of it, retirement rocks.
I can stay home on bad days, and not worry about my sick days or worse, missing a trial.I can wear flip flops almost all the time.
I can rest assured that I will not be driven to murder an elected official.
I can plan and cultivate an urban garden.
I don't have to wear pantyhose. Ever.
I can spend time in the public library and read large-type books.
I can set all my doctor's appointments during what used to be working hours.
I can hear myself think.
I can spend time with the people I love.
I can do what I want, even though it does not involve saving children's lives: I can read, knit, cook, blog, listen to music, and color cats and peacocks.
Wednesday - Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I am not davening in a synagogue and I am not fasting. I have certainly done both of those things in the past, but this year is not one of those times. I cannot think of any congregation within reasonable driving distance that I would want to attend. In the past, I belonged to a Reform congregation and was quite active attending Shabbat and holiday services, teaching in the Hebrew school, editing the newsletter, and working with the other members of the Sisterhood. Those were good days, but they are gone now. Everything changes, except my essential relationship with God. I talk, He listens.
Today is also Chelsea's birthday. We think she is 11 years old, but she could be thirteen. Or nine. Whatever her age, she is the perfect example of just how important it is to consider adding a rescue dog to your home menagerie. My first-ever doggie, the incomparable Athene Minerva, was purchased from a breeder. An excellent breeder, one who we had known prior to deciding to bring a dog into our cat-centric home. Every dog since, all Yorkies, came to us from some sort of rescue situation, mostly rehomes. We even have a Yorkie boy who rehomed himself, but that's another story.
I did cook - actually, I surprised myself by turning out a batch of ethereal potato gnocchi. The recipe is from Jenn Louis' cookbook, Pasta By Hand. I haven't been that excited about successfully executing a recipe since I made spaetzle earlier this year. The potato gnocchi are nothing at all like the store-bought variety- these are light and pillowy, and if you eat them with just a little butter, salt and pepper, you can really taste the potato at it's best.
The photos in the book are extremely helpful, but I will tell you that the trick to a light gnocchi is a light hand, same as when you are handling pastry dough.
I got the biggest kick from being able to hand form the traditional gnocchi shape across the back of a fork. You really should take a good look at the book on Amazon, or at least click on the link to this recent article from Saveur. If you type Jenn Louis' name into your browser, you are going to get an absolute embarrassment of riches.