Happy Fucking Hanukkah

I've always considered myself a "bad Jew," but after this Hanukkah, I am definitely going to hell.

It was the second night of Hanukkah, and my parents and I were standing in the kitchen of a beach house in Alligator Point, Fla., sipping Patron Reposado from white wine glasses and listening to Jimmy Buffet on "Oyster Radio." My mom held up her glass and yelled "L'chaim!" Our glasses clinked together, and she continued the cheers with a "Happy FUCKING Hanukkah!"

In place of a menorah, we attempted lighting two lighter fluid soaked pieces of charcoal over the hibachi. My mom and I began: "Ba-ruch ata, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, me-lech ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mits-vo tov."

Thanks to howling wind, our "candles" wouldn't light. At this point it was declared that "Jesus was too strong down here in the south." We gave up and went inside.



When I first bought my new house in May, I was little-miss-homemaker. The fridge was full of home-cooked meals in neat tupperware containers for the week ahead, the book cases were never dusty, my CDs were alphabetized, the dishes were always clean, the laundry baskets were void of dirty clothes and the carpet was always vacuumed and the floors swept. I even scrubbed smudges from the walls. Weekly.

Now I find myself sitting at work, not wearing any underwear, because I haven't done laundry in a million years. My weekly cleaning habit has become biweekly at best. The dishes pile up, clumps of cat hair blow along the wood floors like tumble weed, the CDs lie in a jumbled heap, dirty laundry covers the bedroom floor and I have resorted to buying lunches in our over-priced-not-very-tasty cafeteria.

I guess the honeymoon is over.


First Thanksgiving in new house

There was nothing traditional about our first Thanksgiving in the new house.

We spent the day with friends instead of family, ate pastel de pollo instead of turkey and there wasn't a pumpkin dish in sight.

I started preparing the filling for the pastel de pollo on Wednesday night, using a hand-written "recipe" on notebook paper that Nany, my madre tica, was kind enough to share with me. I put "recipe" in quotation marks because the instructions leave a lot to the imagination. How much tomatoe paste goes in the filling? To taste, I suppose. Cook it what temperature? I go with 375. And, how long do you cook it? "Hasta que este dorado," of course.

Thanksgiving morning, I was back in the kithchen by 7 a.m. There was a lot to prepare. Our menu included fresh beets with goat cheese and chopped mint; a cheese platter, featuring ricotta salata, manchego and aged gouda cheeses, as well as chunks of fresh baguette and seasoned olive oil; pastel de pollo for the main dish; and bread pudding with a brandy-butter sauce.

Note: I used brandy instead of bourbon because I forgot to buy bourbon when I went to the liquor store that morning. (I must have distracted by the handle of gin I decided to buy.)

Around 7 p.m., our friends Natasha and Steve arrived with a box of booze (best gift a lady could ask for) in-hand.

We had a great time eating, conversing (read: ball-breaking) and drinking. Natasha and Steve were especially entertained by the fact that I force "poor Jack" to smoke outside in the cold.

Did I mention drinking?

It took me a week to write this post, but I figure, it's timely since I'm still eating the leftovers.