We survived the Bar Mitzvah! Since it was a group effort, we've decided to do a joint post. Below are some of our thoughts on the past weekend.
A Bar Mitzvah, or the coming of age for a young man (for a young woman it's a Bat Mitzvah), is a right of passage in Judaism. The idea is that at this age (12 and 13 for girls and boys, respectively), they are expected to assume responsibility for their own actions. Now that's a very broad definition and there are a whole host of religious steps to follow, up to and including reading from the holy scriptures a special and predermined part of the bible that's set for that particular day of the calendar.
Psychgrad: From the perspective of someone who is secular (not religious), some aspects of the religion seem pretty fascinating. Although I was expected to go synagogue regularly as a child, I do experience some level of culture shock in orthodox synagogues. The women and men are separated by a make-shift wall. The women essentially sit at banquet style tables while the men pray. A stark contrast from the more egalitarian lifestyle I am accustomed to. But, more conservative or reform (less extreme followings of the religion) are a little bit closer to what it would be like in a church. I could go on about details of the religion that are pretty unique, but I'll stop there. Plus, some of the more traditional aspects, like the Jewish culture are kind of nice. Like the idea behind a Bar Mitzvah.
A Bar Mitzvah is a time of pride and celebration. Family and friends are invited to witness this ritual and join for festivities. Bar Mitzvahs range from the very simple to the "over the top" elaborate. In our case "J"'s Bar Mitzvah was very simple and very meaningful. Even the dog became part of the celebration.
I'm Kodi and I'm here for the food. If it hits the floor, it's all mine.
Psychgrad and Giz became the beneficiaries of a menu with a subtle (read: squeeze hold) request to help with the food preparation.
It was a pretty large undertaking to cook for what turned out to be about 40 people. But we got through it and could have probably fed 60 with the amount of food we prepared. A lot of the dishes have been featured in some form on the blog. So, let's go through them.
Probably the biggest undertaking was the cake. There are several steps to that, so we'll save it for an upcoming post. If you're into cakes - definitely come back and check out the final cake result.
Here's a snapshot of some of the food:
Here are most of the items in greater detail.
These are dumplings, made by my aunt's nanny. They're traditional Filipino dumplings made out of ground beef (can also use pork, chicken or I'm sure other meats), ginger, parsley and maybe a couple of other ingrediants. Dumpling wrappers (wontons?) create the shape and the whole dumpling is steamed and served with soy sauce. They were good, but due to time constraints, boiled rather than steamed. So, the texture was a bit too cake-y for my liking.
A version of heavenly salad:
Cold Penne Salad:
This was one of those garden variety type pasta salads. We really didn't want a mayonnaise dressed salad. It started off being a pesto salad until we realized that we only had enough basil for the caprese salad. So we took a little of the pesto, brine from a jar of artichokes, mixed them together and voila - instant dressing.
Added to the salad were:
red, yellow and orange peppers
Put in enough until it has that "yup, looks about right feel to it". My niece thought it was the best salad she ever had and nobody even thought it was odd. My lips are sealed. If I would have thought of it, I would have added dill too.
We're submitting this pasta salad to this week's Presto Pasta Night. It's being hosted by Eat the Right Stuff. Only two more weeks until it's our turn to host!!!
Here's a deconstructed Caprese Salad with a light balsamic dressing.
These were made using the same recipe found in the above link, but wrapped in tube shapes and then cut into bite-sized portions. They were possibly one of the biggest hits.
More dishes were added to the table throughout. Eventually, we had to just stop adding food. The salmon didn't even get made and there were plenty of leftovers.
Giz We left with a sigh of relief that we actually completed this task and somehow made it appear effortless although any reader of this blog would agree that it's anything but effortless. Auntie Takeout basked in the compliments of a "great spread" and "J" was a very happy young man. That's what really mattered.
Since the Bar Mitzvah, Psychgrad and I have been offered three (3) catering jobs. I think not. Caterers deserve every cent they earn and I think we'll just leave it to the professionals.
The next event is the Bar Mitzvah kids' party next weeek and I'm already committed to doing that one but that will be the end of the catering career.
Note: As you can probably tell, we don't keep kosher. Although every dish could be kosher in and of itself, the combination of milk and meat dishes is a big no-no in the world of kosher food.
Don't forget to come back for our post about the bar mitzah cake!