Day 13 of Quarantine - יום י׳׳ג של בידוד
It is 17:30 and the sun has not set. The days are getting longer and warmer. Spring has more or less arrived. The government is talking about delaying the end of DST from March 27 to sometime in late April so we will stay inside longer during the day and reduce our risk of catching the corona virus. I'm not sure how that works.
It's Thursday and normally I would be going to the shuk to stock up for the weekend. In the old days (a month ago) going a day and half without access to a market was a stretch for most of Israeli society. All day Thursday and Friday until 3 hours before Shabbat were peak times for bakeries, vegetable stalls and the infamous מזון/שוק האוכל (prepared food). No matter how much food you have in the house you always need a חלה (challah).
Well this week the shuk is closed. All open markets have been shut down. Restaurants can no longer do take-out. The food must be delivered. The streets are quiet, but it is a very eerie quiet. Not wanting to totally fall into the abyss I decided to strip the beds and clean up the house and make medicine in the kitchen מרק עוף (chicken soup).
There have been a few articles floating around - serious articles - warning that chicken soup has no prophylactic or healing properties when it comes to COVID-19. And I believe the scientific evidence - sorta. But the point of eating chicken soup is not that it is a replacement for penicillin, even though it has the moniker Jewish penicillin, but that it has other virtues. Chicken soup is nourishing. It is comforting. It is familiar. It is easy to eat when you are not well. It is sometimes delicious and when it is not, at least it is hot. I have seen many memes encouraging the intake of warm liquids. What could be a better solution.
This is the chicken soup cooking. It is not beautiful. It's the sort of thing that really turns off vegetarians and vegans. When I was little I used to watch my Mom and I vowed that I would never - never - clean a chicken and participate in this barbaric practice. Yet here I am going through the same steps that have been followed for generations.
Now we are very particular about our chickens and our soup. We like a free range kosher chicken. We want the flavors to be pure and the broth to be clear with no messy vegetables floating around. Only carrots and קניידלך (matzoh balls). Israelis often go for שקדי מרק (small soup crackers). We have them if someone insists but secretly, or not so secretly, we don't get it.
Matzoh balls can be made from a packet. Recently my Mom confided in me that she has drunk the kool-aid and is now using the premeasured stuff. I still make them from scratch. Not much preparation involved and they also don't look appetizing when being prepared. The key is mixing the ingredients well and letting it rest in the refrigerator for half and hour.
It resembles cement and the only way to clean the bowl is with cold water - much like oatmeal. Otherwise you can repoint your bricks with it.
Tonight Ken and I will have our soup. We will probably watch the last episodes of The Spy. Hopefully the next series will be a little less distressing but when I look on the list I see The Handmaid's Tale, Fauda, Freud, The Outsiders. Not exactly uplifting entertainment. We haven't tried any English manor stuff. I couldn't sit through it even though I love Maggie Smith.
Tomorrow we get to pick up Sami. It has been a month since we have seen him. He has been living with his second family, Noa and Shachar and their two kids Yuval and Aviv. Sami probably has candy stuck in his fur. Looking forward to giving him big hugs after he has a bath.
Be safe. Be well and let your friends and family hear from you.
The final product.