The history of food goes back to the beginning of time.
There was woman, there was man, and there was that questionable apple. Was Adam forbidden to eat the apple because he was pre-diabetic and it was too high in natural sugar? Man hunted for food, killing animals for their protein and fish for lighter fare. They ate berries for dessert because back in those days, people ate to live. They needed sustenance and nutrients to do great things like discover the wheel, fight off dinosaurs, and build villages. There was no high fructose corn syrup or aversions to gluten. Honestly, I still am not sure what gluten is. Or what celiac disease is. Or how gluten free products can take up three aisles in the new Shoprite… It’s all very confusing. And if everything is so unhealthy now, how come we are living so much longer than our cavemen and women brethren lived?
Over the years, food and the culture of food have changed. There are a million TV shows centered around cooking competitions and chef reality programs. Commercials for meal delivery systems and Uber eats (another concept I don’t understand. Do you pay for the food and the Uber? The restaurant doesn’t deliver? I am too old for all of these new age situations.)
There are foodies who devote their whole lives to going from restaurant to restaurant sampling and tasting different cuisines. I have a friend on Facebook who always posts about the various meals he has either really enjoyed or really did not enjoy.
The invention of sushi was another big addition to the world of food. I, personally, only eat vegetable rolls because when I was little, I read a Bobbsey Twins book where Flossie and her family go to Japan and they won’t eat sushi because it reminds them of their goldfish back home.
So where am I going with this? Good question.
Many years ago I wrote about a wedding where they served all of the main characters of various nursery rhymes and assorted Disney characters (cows, sheep, duck, etc.). Well, this past week, I attended a magnificent wedding, where, aside from the beautiful bride and groom and their respective families, the smorgasbord and the dessert were the stars.
The place where the wedding was has been known for its outrageous shmorg. Salads and carving stations, Chinese stations, Mexican stations, hot dogs and hamburgers and ribs and on and on and on. I once had a friend who said the best simcha would serve all different kinds of cereal and milk, but I have yet to experience that firsthand.
And then there was the dessert. Which had its very own room. Remember when dessert was that runny chocolate chip thing with a scoop of parve ice cream on top? And you got all excited when there was also a plate of cookies on the table? (Well, I got excited about it anyway.)
This wedding was not that.
The dessert room had a wall of donuts. An actual wall that was covered with donuts. White ones with sprinkles, without sprinkles. Pink ones and blue ones. Red ones and yellow ones. It was like a dream come true. And then there was the popcorn. You know that really yummy artisanal popcorn that comes in incredible flavors, but unless you are giving it as a gift you feel badly spending the money on yourself? (Well, at least I do.) There were tins and tins of it in all different flavors. I had died and gone to dessert heaven.
The best part, however, were the empty boxes that were out so you could fill them up with the various treats being served. Now because I am a Jew, I am allowed to comment on this subject — the subject of some Jews who like to take home food from brises, weddings, hotel dinners… They wrap stuff up in napkins and hide it in their purses. We were once at a hotel for Passover and the people at the table next to us ordered 12 portions of duck. For four people. I often wondered where they stored those extra portions of duck in their room…
But with these boxes, it allowed the guests to own the fact that they were taking food home with them. That it was ok. That they didn’t need to hide it in their purses. Truthfully, if there were no boxes, I might have told husband #1 to get the car, keep it running, and I would have grabbed a whole tin of the cookies and cream popcorn and ran for the car. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. And I would like to wish another mazal to the two amazing families who made this simcha. May your dessert generosity be rewarded with all that you want for yourselves, the new couple, and the rest of your families.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is starting a new chapter in her life. She can actually hear the page turning, but is not ready to write about it yet…