who's in the kitchen

On train and in shul, chattin’ Jerry’s irrepressible


For those of you who know my husband Jerry (and if you don’t know him, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to my columns!) you know that he’s a bit of a talker. Wait, who am I kidding, he’s an incessant talker.

Now, mind you, he has a lot of interesting things to speak about, but he has to learn that it’s not always appropriate to speak when the mood strikes him. For instance, at a funeral, in the movies, during a wedding ceremony, and in his favorite place, shul. Just ask Rabbi Billet. I thought a friend of mine was kidding when he told me that the rabbi stopped speaking for a moment, formed two fingers into the letter V and put each finger to his eyes and then pointed them to Jerry sitting in the back. I laughed when a heard it at first, but then responded with “You’re not joking, are you?” He nodded his head, but he did say the rabbi was chiding with him in a friendly way. 

Since then, I’ve heard that women in the upstairs section of the shulcan actually hear conversations between the men in his row. I’ve tried to explain that he’s disturbing their davening. “Yes” he responds, “they’ve told me that.”

Jerry most often acts like the proverbial Dr. Jekyll, an excellent listener, thoughtful and kind. He used to tell me that he also has an internal Mr. Hyde, lurking within, and can morf into a ridiculous version of Mr. Hyde, when the moon is full. His mishigana oygin(wild eyed) moments can be triggered when others act inconsiderately and selfishly ignore the rights of others, like people cutting lines otherwise acting rudely.

Well, Jerry was on the train Friday morning, engrossed in reading his usual Holocaust-oriented philosophy or history book, when the man sitting in the seat in back of him was listening to a speech. Although the man was wearing headphones, Jerry could still clearly hear every word uttered by the speaker. Jerry politely asked the man if he could lower the volume so he could read the serious matter before him. The man politely said he would, but the sound was still way too loud. Again, Jerry turned around and asked him politely to lower it further, as Jerry was still disturbed. After a couple moments the loud noise permeated Jerry’s earspace and his inner Mr. Hyde/Wolfman decided it was time for the Jerry, who graduated BTA, to take charge of this situation.

As Dr. Jerry Jekyll stepped aside, he stood up and walked to the seat behind him loudly said something like, “That’s it, now move over, because I’m going to sit near you to make sure I will be able to read my book undisturbed.” The man turned white and another man in the train shouted, “You’re the one disturbing all of us with your yelling.” Another woman yelled, “Chill out it’s Friday morning, why are you yelling”. A third person called out, “Why don’t you just move to the quiet car?”

Jerry was surprised — why was everyone angry at him? Of course, instead of politely apologizing he doubled down and responded, “He disturbed me and I’m just asking him to quiet down, and now you guys are yelling at me and telling me to leave my seat and be banished to the quiet car — no way, that’s not right!”

Now Jerry had managed to rally an entire train car full of people against him. It was high noon on the Friday morning train to Penn and he was surrounded by unsubs. Finally, a man yelled at Jerry, trying to solve the hostage crisis: “Would you accept changing seats with me?” Now this solution made sense to the Wolfman and he stood up thanked the man and sat in his new “hot seat.” Jerry sat down and smiled at everyone and said, “You should all be thanking me. Now you guys have something to talk about this morning. 

As soon as he finishes telling me what happened, I told him to think back for a moment at all the people that he disturbed when he talks in shul. They’re not just sitting in the train trying to read, they’re trying to daven, which is way more important. Think aboutthat, Jerry!

Eric, Mitchell, Howie, Harry, Harvey, and Arlen: Let me know if anything changes this Shabbos.

Broccoli Cheese Crunchy Onion Pasta Dish (dairy)

1 pound box bow tie noodles (or pasta of your choice), cooked and drained

1 head broccoli florets only cut into small pieces, lightly sautéed

2 onions diced and carmelized in oil, then drained drained

2 cups French’s Crispy Fried Onions, crushed lightly

1 can dairy cream of mushroom soup (King Kullin has the dairy version under hashgacha)

2 cups or a bit more of shredded mozzarella cheese

Place the strained pasta in a large bowl and add one cup of cheese, the caramelized onions, sautéed broccoli, salt and pepper, cream of mushroom soup and 3/4 cup of the onion crunch. Stir well and. Transfer to a greased 9x11 pan or a slightly smaller dish if it’s deeper. 

Once the mixture is in the dish, sprinkle remaining shredded cheese and top with remaining French’s Crispy Fried Onions. If you need a bit more cheese or onion crunch to make a complete layer, please add to it.  Don’t be stingy. This dish is best really cheesy and crunchy!

Bake in preheated 350F oven for about 45 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. You can add other veggies as well. I’ve added sautéed fresh mushrooms and cauliflower or spinach. Be adventurous!