Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two Cooks, One Kitchen

My mother and I share a kitchen. We both cook, especially when it comes to Shabbos. The problem is that we often don't communicate about what we're cooking. For example, I like to have one kugel side and one non-kugel side for the Friday night meal. I had already made a kugel and was planning the other side. I left the kitchen for a while, and when I came back, my mother was pulling another kugel out of the oven. Communication – it just doesn't happen.

The same thing happened this week. My mother usually makes the cholent Thursday night and puts it up on Friday morning. She soaks the beans in a certain container, and then puts it all into the pot. She had a very hard week this week, so when I saw on Thursday night that there were no beans soaking, I decided that if my mother didn't put up the cholent by the time I got up on Friday, I would make it.

I got up on Friday – no beans soaking on the counter, nothing in the cholent pot. So, I got down to making it. I washed some beans (no time to really soak them, but whatever), peeled potatoes, and then looked for the meat. My mother wasn't home, so I called her to ask which meat to use. In the course of our conversation, she asked me if I had used the beans that she had put in the fridge. My reaction ("what beans?") gave her all the answer she needed. I had not used them. Then we got into one of our mother-daughter squabbles. I hadn't asked her, she hadn't left me a note, well why didn't I look, but why should I think to look since she hadn't used her regular utensils … You get the picture.

I was thinking about our little tiff later, and I realized that it reminded me of a famous Rashi in בראשית. (One of my high school teachers used to say that a Meforash is only famous because she has heard of it.) Rashi there (א:יד) brings down a מדרש: שוים נבראוץ ונתמעטה הלבנה על שקטרגה ואמרה אי אפשר לשני מלאכים שישתמשו בכתר אחד. For those of you less familiar with the Hebrew, it says that the sun and moon were created equal. However, the moon complained that it is not possible for two kings to share one crown. In reaction to her words, Hashem made her smaller.

The concept of two people fighting over one crown is obviously an old one, all the way from the beginning of time. It's no wonder that in my house there are two cooks fighting over one kitchen.

1 comment:

Melissa said...


I just found your blog.

I adore it. I must be back again to visit.


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