who's in the kitchen

Double trouble! This time, it wasn’t Jerry’s fault


In the last two weeks, my husband Jerry, did nothing more ridiculous than usual, thus leaving me with no material to write about. Fortuitously, I managed two doozies on my own.

Jerry and I were about to leave for Brittany Kaufmann’s wedding to Evan Grazi. My daughter, Jordana, a close friend of Brittany, was a bridesmaid, and Jerry and I are close friends of her parents, Rise and Harvey Kaufmann.

The door to the car was open, so we slipped right in. But then the dreaded “No Key” sign flashed on when Jerry tried to start the car. I realized that the fob must have fallen out of my evening bag when I put it on my bed. I kicked my four-and-a-half inch heels onto the curb and ran into the house and up the stairs to my bedroom to get the key. I then dashed down the steps and into the car and told Jerry to drive quickly. I wanted to get there on time. (Quickly for Jerry is 30 miles an hour, when not on a highway).

Two hours later, as we neared the entrance to the venue, I reached down to find my heals. Hmm, they had to be in the car, they couldn’t have just disappeared. Could they? And then panic struck. My shoes were on the curb back in Woodmere, where I left them. Every time I grab my shoes to take along to an affair, I always think, what would happen if I left one or both at home by mistake, and I would have to wear the awful pair of flats or the slippers I walked to the car in. I was about to find out, only there were no flats or slippers. I was going to have to walk in barefoot, and no stockings.

I quickly texted my daughter, hoping she would get my message and find a bridesmaid, who wore the same size as me, and who was going to change into flats for the dancing, and then, at least I would have shoes for part of the wedding. By the grace of G-d I chose to wear a gown that night so as awful as it was, it could have been worse.

I started out walking on my tiptoes, as a ballerina would, so that I wouldn’t trip and fall on my face. Of course, the first person I saw when I walked into the smorgasbord was my daughter. After she inquired how in the world I forgot my shoes, her husband Dan quipped, “Judy, leaving my shoes at home, that is definitely something I would do,” and he high fived me (those of you who know my son-in-law are all nodding in agreement right now, seriously). Within five minutes I was offered snow boots only two sizes too small, and the bride’s designer crystal-encrusted white satin shoes, when she would change into sneaker heels; even Jerry, doing an impersonation of Sir Walter Raleigh, offered me his size 12 “Shabbos” shoes (as he still calls them).

I decided to make my way to the ceremony so I could quickly sit down before everyone started to come in. Meryl, the bride’s aunt, happened to be sitting right in front of me. Lucky for me, we wore the same size and they were black. She was going to change into flats right after the chuppah, and insisted that I take them before the chuppah even started.

I can tell you one thing: I will never ever forget my shoes home again.

Another thing I won’t forget, is to put the passports back immediately after I use them.

Being that it was two hours before Shabbat, and we were leaving on our cruise on Sunday morning, I decided to take the passports out of the cabinet when I always keep them. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? The passports were not there.

I retraced my steps. About two months ago, I remember checking in online for the cruise. Of course, I would have put the passports away immediately, and I would only have put them in that cabinet, but I started to search every cabinet in the kitchen. I called my kids, cleaning woman, Jerry’s son — anyone who had been around. No luck.

I called the cruise line to explain my situation and asked what I would do as expediting a passport couldn’t be done at this point. She said an original birth certificate or passport were the only forms of ID that were valid. So I asked, “If I have neither of those and I’m paid for in full for this 12 day cruise, should I just not show up at the pier?”

“Yes,” she replied.

I wasn’t upset for myself, but Jerry really needed a vacation and was looking forward to getting away. I was also upset because my brother and sister-in-law were joining us on this cruise. They normally don’t cruise this line; they did it because they wanted to be with us.

I had packed things that I wouldn’t even use at home. Every time I saw something, I thought, you never know … that eyeglass repair kit (at least 10 years old and never used), crazy glue, just one more pair of reading glasses, just case (they totaled six), sunglasses (four pairs — hey they were all about $8 each), individual packets of mayo (you never know), and assorted batteries (though we had nothing that required batteries). I even made homemade dressings to take along for Jerry.

I had everything we needed and didn’t need, except for the passports.

When Jerry got home before Shabbat started, he didn’t seem upset at all. On the contrary, he was upbeat and said we’ll definitely find the passports, they have to be in the house. I replied that I was sure I must’ve left them on the table and somehow they got mixed up with the newspapers and I threw them out by mistake. If I didn’t put them away immediately then they got thrown out.

Jerry then went through every cabinet that I had already looked through. After which he went to the basement, den, study and garage. Then came the guest coat closet and the piano bench seat that opens up. The piano bench seat, Jerry? I admit I might have left them on the table and threw them out accidentally but I have not lost my mind completely. What would possess you to think that I would absentmindedly put the passports in the living room, in the piano bench seat that stores piano music books. Next, Jerry went up to check out my nighttable.

I thought there was a slight chance that the passports would be would be in there. Maybe, instead of checking in online on my laptop in the kitchen, I might have decided I would do it before I went to bed in the bedroom, in which case I would’ve had to bring the passports upstairs. Jerry ran up and came down a little while later. He said he meticulously checked both our nighttables and a few different places in the room but no luck.

I was just inconsolable at that point. My brother and sister-in-law would be on their own, Jerry would lose out on a well-needed vacation and we were paid in full and would not recoup any costs.

I couldn’t even get excited about a great topic for my article, as I already had one about my shoes being left at home. I went upstairs to take my lenses out and when I stuck my hand into my nighttable drawer to get my eyeglasses, guess what I found.

Don’t quit your day job, Jerry.

No snide remarks about my choice of recipes this week. You try coming up with recipes that contain the words shoe and passport.

SHOEpeg corn casserole

Taste of Home Kitchen


2 cans (11 ounces each) shoepeg or white corn, drained

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

3/4 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 18 crackers)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted


In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with the cracker crumbs; drizzle with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Chicken, mushrooms and

tomatoes with port Wine

Simply Recipes by Elise Bauer


4 chicken boneless breast halves (with skin or without)

Salt and pepper to taste

6 whole cloves garlic

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 pound of cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large

3 Tbsp finely chopped shallots

1/4 cup Port wine

4 small (3/4 pound) plum tomatoes, cored and quartered, or 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half (about 2 cups)

2 Tbsp chopped parsley(for garnish)

1 Salt the chicken: Sprinkle the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.

2 Boil the garlic: Drop the garlic into a small saucepan of boiling water, cook for 5 minutes, and set aside. When cool, peel of the skins.

3 Brown the chicken: Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and add the chicken pieces. Cook over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until lightly browned on one side. Turn and cook for about 1 minute on the second side.

4 Add the mushrooms and cook, turning chicken occasionally, for about 2 minutes.

5 Add the shallots and the garlic cloves to the pan. Add the Port wine, tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through )a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F).

Transfer the chicken, mushrooms, and tomatoes to a warm platter.

If the sauce is thin, cook it down for a minute or two. Pour onto chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley.