One Pot Magic
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One Pot Magic

With just one black and white oval pot, her mother would cook dinner. The only problem? No one really loved it.

Shaindle Schmuckler

Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

The time for his arrival was nearing. Soon the doorbell would ring.

This would be the true test of his love.

My future hung in the balance. A future to include “Yes, we are,” or “No we are not,” or, even worse, “Are you kidding me?”

The doorbell rings and one of my sisters runs to answer. Flowers in hand, there before her stands the man who would one day be her brother-in-law. He’s come for dinner, his first experience with my mom’s (z”l) cooking.

Let me just say, I have tasted his mom’s cooking and baking. Although not gourmet, her cooking was solid, delicious comfort food. Always yummy. Although she used as many pots as necessary to guarantee individual flavors, her kitchen was always spotless.

Mom’s kitchen was also spotless. You could eat off her floors, however, no one ever did. The differences between the two moms’ cooking? The number of pots used in the creative process. Taste, being the other difference.

Mom used one pot. A thoughtful way of spending less time washing pots, and not using up too much hot water.

In the black and white oval pot, virtually all meats were prepared. Chicken included. Steak, lamb chops and hamburgers were spared this embarrassment.

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On any given Friday night, Shabbat dinner could include chicken, potatoes and brisket. Canned veggies were prepared in a separate, small white pot with red trim. Chicken soup had its own “pot for the soup” pot. There were some Shabbat meals that included gefilte fish or chopped liver. Nothing tasted bad. Everything had a lovely taste. It’s just that everything tasted the same.

When my dad (z”l) complained about his beloved’s cooking, he would say: “I bring home the best, top of the line meat, and I can’t tell what I am eating.”

My father was a kosher butcher. He adored my mother. He ate everything.

On this auspicious occasion, when their future son-in-law sat down at our table, he would have been starving and ready to dig in and enjoy his meal. After all, living at one end of the train line in Brooklyn, he had to take two trains and a bus to the other end of the transportation lines to wind up at his destination, my house, a 2 ½-hour journey to the Bronx. He was ready to devour a meal.

He was, and is, tall. A cross country runner and swimmer, he was “slim.” Mom called him a lahngeh lucksh. A long skinny pasta/spaghetti. She found a new goal – fatten him up a little with her food.

This did not happen.

He ate what he could, which was very little, enough to be a respectful guest. Both my mom and dad could not believe how little this lahngeh lucksh would eat. No wonder he is so skinny.

After dinner, we went for a walk. After several attempts, he finally admitted he just did not really like my mom’s cooking. Yes, he was a bit embarrassed, however, he did get points for honesty.

My heart was happy. We dodged the bullet. We skipped right over “No, we are not getting married,” and “Are you kidding me?” landing on “Yes, we are getting married.”

Would you believe he came up with a brilliant excuse for his limited appetite? Ready?

“It takes almost three hours to get here, so I eat at home, saving just enough space for your mother’s cooking.”

I would not swear to it, but is the black and white pot my mom used the forerunner to the crockpot? Hmm?

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