We had out-of-town guests. A bloggerllennhoff knows and comments on frequently. It was a great weekend. Some interesting discussions happened at the meals. We also had a very diverse group. The out of towners were a Conservative couple that are fairly observant but very egal. Friday night included a family that splits their time between the most modern shul in town and the chassidic shul. The other family davens at Agudath. And one of my best friends who recently moved to town and is trying to figure out where she fits as she has been going through many changes.
In addition we had kids ranging from 4 months to 13 years. I have to say these were great kids. I set the ground rules - join us for kiddush, motzie, and check out the food, then they are welcome to play, but not too wildly, in the other room. This was the 1st time for one of the families. The other remembered my policy from a previous visit. I believe there was one incident between the brother and sister that was settled in about 30 seconds and I think most of the table missed it. Kids even cleaned up after themselves. When we were getting ready to bentch I suggested to the 6 year that old he start packing up and get ready to head for home as otherwise he might end up having to leave his toys behind to pick up another day as it had gotten really late (11ish). His parents looked up during bentching to see him quietely cleaning up and when the 13 year old (other family) finished bentching he went in and helped find the pieces that had gotten under tables and chairs.
Table conversation on my end was interesting and it was great to catch up with friends that I only see occasionally and that I have some strange connections to. One stayed in my house before we moved in and when the kitchen did not work as the house was under construction. The other had been one of the first to get stuff from my kosher gemach/lending kitchen and in the next few weeks we will be kashering her grandmother's china per one of the local rabbis.
Saturday lunch was also interesting. A much smaller group - 7 instead of 13. Meal was more casual. At one point the discussion of the lack of ritual clothing for women came up and I shocked myself by disagreeing and saying tznius clothing is ritual garb. She said "but muslims and xians also dress modest" to which I replied "but we dress differently and we do it for different reasons". So I gave her something to think about and myself something to think about as apparently my way of looking at things is changing.
Food was fairly simple to put together as I'm trying to remember that I have fatigue. Also every single family had at least one dietary restriction so it brought back memories of cooking for friends in Wesborough. One person needed very bland food, another needed no wheat, another no nuts (peanuts ok), low salt, low fat were required by a number of guests, and of course the vegetarian.
Friday night dinner:
- Pot roast in a crock pot - a few herbs, dash of garlic powder, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 a small onion, 1 cup water, high for 4 hours.
- Brown & wild rice with a little basil, oregeno, parsely (we ran out of this)
- Mesquite quicken (landry's marinade) (had a tiny piece left)
- Parve chili - 1 14.5 oz can Muir Organic Fire roasted tomatoes with chipotle peppers, Smart Ground Original flavor (I'd use taco flavor if I could get it) from LightLife (12 oz), 2 lightLife Smart Sausages Italian Style, a large vidalia onion coarsely diced, 1 can of diced chilis, 15.5 oz Goya small red beans, chopped jalapeno pepper, 1 package ortega chili mix, 12 cloves of garlic, 1 15 oz can Muir Organic no salt added tomato sauce, cooked in crock pot on 250 for 4 hours. Edited to add parve sausages that somehow got lost in update.
Saturday lunch was
- Eggplant salad
- Roasted Vegetables
- Various chips
- 4 kinds of chicken: totally plain, a dash of garlic & onion, italian dressing marinade, buffolo wing marinade (larry's favorite)
- Shredded lettuce
- roasted peppers
- sauteed onions
- sauteed mushrooms
- various dressings