My son, Andrew, has eaten dinner at his girlfriend’s house many times in the past year. From what I hear, her mom is an amazing cook. She not only serves the main meal like filet or pork loin but also a plethora of side dishes to choose from. She also makes homemade bread and desserts which she often generously sends home with Andrew to share with us.
A few things here. In my house, side dishes are typically a canned vegetable or applesauce. I’ve always had trouble with side dishes. To me, side dishes are for Thanksgiving dinner, not Taco Tuesday. Also, it takes me a while to make the main course and side dishes mean more work and more dishes to clean.
Second, I’ve never been much of a baker. Sure, I will whip up the occasional batch of chocolate chip cookies and, of course, hamantaschen on Purim. When we have company, I like to buy dessert and the local bakeries (and probably the fire department) thank me for supporting them.
Recently, I decided to invite her for Shabbat dinner. I asked Andrew to set the bar a little lower for me and set expectations accordingly. I cannot compete with her mom and definitely don’t want to. But, I can certainly pull off a Friday night dinner. I will make her the food of our people – brisket, sweet and sour meatballs, and push myself to make a side dish of honey carrots (fancy, right?!).
One question – does sweet kugel count as dessert? I hope so.
I enjoy a good challenge such as having a special occasion to cook. They are only 17 so this isn’t a dinner that means anything more than wanting to spend more time with them. And in the end, I hope it is my conversational skills that will win her over where my culinary ones likely will not.
And maybe – just maybe – she will bring home a few pieces of kugel for her parents to try.