Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The best thing about having the Seder at your place, if you don’t have to do any serious cooking, and Bish does most of the washing up (isn’t he the greatest?), is that you get to keep the Haroset (fake edible mortar, usually extremely yummy, symbolizing the mortar the Israelites used for construction in Ancient Egypt, while slaves). This is a special treat if the Haroset happens to be your mother-in-law’s Haroset with dates.

Another best thing about having the Seder at your place is getting to keep quite a lot of the rest of the food, especially if this includes your mother-in-law’s agristada. By now, you’ll have realized that I quite like my mother-in-law’s cooking. Agristada is a yellow sauce made mainly of lemon juice, eggs, and crushed matza, I think. Now my mother-in-law’s agristada is the best agristada in the world. Well, at least, it’s far superior to the agristada her sisters make (please don’t tell them I said this). I haven’t tasted any other so it’s maybe not fair for me to say this. But it really is so good. I can’t believe anyone could possibly make it any better.

When I met Bish, she used to make it with brain, fried like shnitzel. I can hear you saying yuck, but you must believe me, even seven and a half years into vegetarianism, I have to admit that my mother-in-law’s fried brain is probably the most heavenly thing that this planet has to offer in way of food. That is, unless you believe the graffiti on my running route, which claims, quite clearly, that animals are not food (I do believe this actually, as far as I’m concerned at least, but I also believe that graffiti is an unacceptable way of promoting such a belief and I also believe that I could be wrong, so I don’t go around trying to change other people’s minds).

I have had this thing about brain, you see, ever since physiology lessons in Tel Aviv University’s Psychology Department. You see the textbook had this delightful photograph of a human brain. There was just something about it. I couldn’t keep my eyes off it, and eventually I realized it was making my mouth water. I thought it looked good enough to eat, really - sort of cauliflowery, but better. I could never understand why I got such funny looks from my classmates when I shared this feeling with them. This was meant to be psychology - open-mindedness and all that.

Anyway, when I met Bish, and his mother actually served real brain at the dinner table, I was elated. It was like a fantasy come true. I used to take hours eating it because I just had to make have a good look at the insides of it, having taken the first little bite to free it from agristada and matza meal crumbs, before popping it into my mouth, to be savored slowly. Oh, don’t look at me like that, it wasn’t human brain, what do you take us for? Thought you’d got me there, didn’t you? “We knew there was something in those Passover blood libels after all! No smoke without a fire!”

I guess you’ll be wanting the phone number of the regional head psychiatrist to have me committed.