The magazine selection at my doctor’s office is pretty sparse. Tattered old copies of US Weekly and various parenting magazines occupy most of the tables in the waiting room. As I heard my name called, I grabbed the closest thing that I could, so I didn’t quite catch the title until it was too late — "Martha Stewart Living."
At least this issue was current, having been published on April 2011, and as fate would guide me, I happened to open it right to an article entitled "Passover Makeover." Last year, I wrote about my family’s holiday , and just reading these new recipes made me a bit uneasy. I wondered how this meal would be received by an easy-going group of nice seniors — say, at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in the Bronx.
Then, I contemplated a tougher audience serving it at my own family Seder.
The Passover reboot in the magazine substitutes traditional Gefilte fish for a "Halibut and Salmon Terrine." I could see the eyes popping around the table as this “fish loaf” comes out of the kitchen. My cousin Roger would ask, “What kind of farkakte ORANGE fish is this?” and then I’d be lectured about the Seder’s significance of retelling the exodus from Egypt.
As simple as the fact is that there is no crying in baseball, there is no salmon in the desert! Point made.
Then the lukewarm reception to my “Gefilte Salmon” would only make me realize that the unannounced change to the evening’s recipes may not have been such a good idea. Maybe the next dish will be my redemption. Then I’d hear that little voice in the back of my head whisper…maybe not.
As I imagine walking around with the 15-pound brisket, I mean, "Meyer lemon brisket with pomegranate gremolata," the expression on everyone’s faces would cement the fact that I really stepped in it. I could see giving a big end-piece to my Uncle Irving, who by this point in the evening, would most likely have his hearing aid turned off and comfortably tucked away, in his shirt pocket.
“What’s this?” he’d ask.
“Pomegranate gremolata,” I would reply.
“What the hell is it doing on my brisket?”
“It’s instead of gravy.”
“No GRAVY? Whose meshuggina idea was this? FEH!”
A thought would cross my mind, but I wouldn’t answer him…then the little voice whispers again...Martha Stewart.
End of conversation, I knew I should have made some gravy. On holidays, gravy is the perfect cover-up for any bad meal. Bad potato latkes? Douse them in gravy. Overcooked green beans? Douse them in gravy. Orange fish loaf? Douse it in gravy…it couldn’t get any worse.
This meal would definitely create a whole slew of new questions to accompany the night’s traditional four. What was he thinking? Who can we get to host the Seder next year? Is it too late to get to Epstein’s Restaurant?
While I’m sure that Martha Stewart had some good reasons for publishing these new recipes, I don’t think that my family was necessarily meant to be the target audience.
After all, I don’t see any articles in this issue about Easter decorating with Jackie Mason.