29 January, 2008

The kitchen tip I learned tonight at the supermarket

As you may or may not have heard, the various weather forecasts all seem to agree that we are headed for a snowy few days. "We" being Israel generally, and my home area of Gush Etzion specifically. I've heard a lot of crazy estimates - things like "anywhere in the country from 500 meters above sea level and higher will be white (we're 960)," and "100 kph winds," and "a meter of snow," and on and on and on. I certainly won't believe any of these until I see them, but since any snow pretty much guarantees a snow day, I'm hoping for at least one day of relaxing at home with some hot chocolate.

I also thought it might be a good idea to go shopping tonight for enough food to last through the weekend, just in case getting in to Jerusalem gets tricky. Surprisingly, I wasn't the only one who had this idea, and so my 20 minutes of shopping was concluded with another 40 minutes of waiting in line at the checkout. The thing is, I've come to notice over the years that whichever line I choose is always the slowest. Therefore, when something ridiculous happens while waiting, I feel pretty much responsible. After all, I'm the one who put the jinx of being the slowest line on them, so it's my fault that the customer in front decided to: haggle the price of every item/demand that the cashier go find the item she unsuccessfully looked for/or whatever, you get the picture.

Anyway, tonight I thought I was pretty lucky - although all the lines seemed really full, I found one with only 3 lightly filled carts. I pulled in behind the last, which was being guarded by two kids, aged around 8 and 10. They were play-fighting, and all of us surrounding adults kept looking at them and at each other, wondering if we were supposed to step in at some point. Eventually their mother showed up, and so we were saved from responsibility, but alas, she brought with her another full shopping cart. Yep, turns out that they were just holding her place in line with the partially full one. Okay, it's just the jinx, I'm still no worse off than anyone else. I'll just wait it out - no rush, everything's fine...

She went forward to bag her groceries (right, we often don't have baggers here), and left her kids in the rear to load the stuff from the cart. And it was going slow, but steady. Until... her son poorly placed a bottle of olive oil, and bam - it was on the floor. Well, okay, what can I do? It's my fault, after all.

The cashier pushed a button, and pushed some more, and eventually some clean-up kid came over. He evaluated the situation, and breathed out, "ooh-wah." He then went back past me and the other folks in line, and disappeared. A couple minutes later he came back with 2 bags of flour - he put them on the floor, and disappeared again. Now we the customers were intrigued.

We had a bunch of speculations, and we were a bit skeptical. Can flour soak up oil? Will they both just disappear? What the heck is going to happen? The kid came back, and proceeded to heavily sprinkle the flour all over the oil. It was pretty fun to watch, and he kept going back for more. He had poured out 4 or 5 kilo by the end, when I suddenly realized that I should take a picture - otherwise my kids would never believe the story:

When it was all covered, he spread it out evenly, and started trying to sweep. Lo and behold, the stuff below the top layer of flour looked kind of like dough, and although he struggled to get it with the broom (people started yelling suggestions - "you need a squeegee! use a paint scraper!") it did come up with a bit of pushing, and was swept away.

So in the end it was an educational trip. I would never have thought of sprinkling flour if a huge amount of oil suddenly spilled on the floor at home. I suppose the fact that I didn't know is a good sign - here's hoping that none of us need to use this new information.

Keep warm, everyone!

24 January, 2008

Back to the burgers

That same hamburger chain I mentioned a couple of weeks ago has a restaurant in Efrat, and they're always very good about mailing out menus and magnets on a regular basis. This seems to me like an expensive endeavor, but it must pay off, because they're still around.

Not too long ago, my dear brother-in-law (thanks, Menashe!) called, and mentioned that he saw some crazy line about deliveries in the latest menu. Now, he lives in Jerusalem, but I didn't think that the menus were individualized for each region, so I checked the one that we had just gotten in the mail. Here's the quick blip about deliveries:

I'm not sure if y'all can make it out, so here's what it says in English: VALID SUN-THU FROM 11:00 TILL 01:00 AND SAT NIGHT. MI

That didn't seem so funny to me. I looked inside the menu, and found the usual typos, nothing too special. The funniest thing I found was that they spelled chili "chilly," and so one can choose from "sweet chilly sauce" or "hot chilly sauce."

Anyway, I kind of forgot about it, until we went to visit Menashe in Jerusalem, and he had gone to the trouble of saving the menu for me. Turns out that they do differ from city to city, because here's his:

It's the same information, with one small added line (and this in bold lowercase, whatever that's meant to imply): males do not valid in delivery


That threw us all for a loop and a giggle, to say the least.

14 January, 2008


Here's a little something that I happened upon not long ago, and it made me think twice. It doesn't need much introduction; here you go:

For anyone who can't tell, this is the name of a company which apparently sells computers - the name is stuck onto the front of the computer, just under the cd-rom drive. So my first thought was, "BAR? Those letters aren't really the first of the words Businesslike Computers LTD. Hmm." But okay, that's fine. Maybe Bar is the name of the owner's kid, it doesn't necessarily have to be the initials for something deeper. No biggie.

Now believe me, I would have liked to just walk away after that, but no, my easily distracted head was troubled by something else by that time, and there was no stopping. "Business...like? That doesn't seem quite strong enough. This company seems to have pretty low self esteem." I mean, really. Are they just playing dress-up as business-worthy computers? What are they trying to tell us? "If you want to pretend to run a business, we're your guys."

07 January, 2008

Looks delicious to me

My youngest younger brother has been visiting us from Chicago this past week (woo-hoo!), and the night he arrived, we all went out for burgers in Jerusalem. The well known chain was yummy as always, although we forgot to specify "steak fries," and so were left with a plate of semi-eaten round fries, which my kids don't tend to enjoy.

While pondering the menu on the wall, we noticed these tasty items offered:

Now, I love mushrooms, personally, and I can see the need for a vegetarian option in a meat oriented restaurant. I can also see, though, how some might find it warped to go all the way to a burgers place just to order a mushroom dish. But you'd still think that whoever wrote the menu wouldn't advertise it as such...