When ya gets your nails done, you are literally trapped and tuned into whatever TV show is offered at the nail salon – usually a soap opera; but yesterday it was The Barefoot Contessa’s cooking show. I never observed her feet to determine their status, but she WAS cooking something I never did before: a Brisket.
Now keep in mind:
1. I did not know ANYBODY Jewish until I was like 19.
2. My knowledge of Judaism is perhaps even worse than that of Christianity. (Ain’t proud/just sayin’…)
3. Even after I came to have Jewish friends, most traditions and ceremonies are pretty well beyond me.
4. Bill likes learning Yiddish words, so he is MUCH more in touch with Jewish language and traditions than I.
Properly stoked, I searched for the ingredients only to discover:
1. Mysteriously, ALL the local groceries keep their Briskets in the back room. (WHAT’S UP WITH THAT??? Are they afraid of Brisket Bandits? What Dark Force of Grocery keeps the Brisket in the back and the chateaubriand, porterhouse and filet minions up front??)
2. Briskets like to come in 5-pounders. So for 2 people that’s a huge haul (…maybe some should go to China??)
3. There IS a BIG difference between ‘brisket’ and ‘Bris Kit’, despite the same pronunciation. One which Bill apparently well knew and I (as usual) had no clue.
The ensuing conversation illustrates two trains speeding in opposite directions – also as usual:
Moi (excited): I FOUND A BRISKET!
Bill (worried): WHY ON EARTH would you want a bris kit?
Moi: The Barefoot Contessa had one. I figgered if she can do it – so can I!
Bill (even more worried): They showed it on TV????
Moi: Ohyeah. You men simply have NO CLUE what happens during the daytime programming every woman in America watches and learns from!
Bill (now intensely worried): I GUESS SO….so when is the Bris Kit making its appearance?
Moi (smugly, having cornered the elusive prize at Safeway earlier): TONIGHT!
Bill (more worried): … and who will be coming over?
Moi: Oh, it’s just you. And I. Sometimes it’s good to do special things for ‘just us two’, ya know?
Bill (now getting defensive): And what makes you think I want one?
Moi (now puzzled): What man doesn’t??? Oh sure, some discover it later in life – but I’m willing to bet that just ‘cause you never had one before doesn’t mean you won’t love it when you do!
Bill: Oh, you got THAT one SO wrong….and I’m not so sure I’m interested in starting now, either – I’m TOO OLD!
Moi (sensing we’re actually discussing different subjects, but not sure exactly how): TOO OLD FOR BRISKET?? I never heard of such a thing!
Bill (shouting): Damn right! You can just take your Bris Kit next door or to somebody else, because I am waaay too old for this!
At this point I am completely befuddled.
Da Man who ‘eats anything’ that comes from an animal is refusing a cut of beef??? Because he’s ‘too old’?? (Wasn’t this the same man who consumed 3 hamburgers for lunch yesterday, and polished off the entire roast beef last week before I even got seconds in??. WOW – the Irish DO age quickly! Like, overnight!)
Imagine my surprise to discover we were actually speaking of two very different things: one a prime cut of meat, one a Jewish religious circumcision ceremony actually performed on children. Usually.
(In MY world, there is ONLY ONE BRISKET.)
It would HELP if all of us residing under the same roof actually spoke English.
PS – the Brisket was DELICIOUS … once SOMEBODY recovered from his queasiness.
Although he kept a close watch on the knives all evening!