This past week was frantic and exhausting (not boring!) but yesterday it was all worthwhile: we — my sisters, cousins, and me — threw mom one helluva birthdayparty. Preparations started Sunday, August 20, at a virtual meeting of the Parra Cardenas where a Jewish theme was decided, an impossibly long menu was agreed upon, and (since we wanted something picnicky despite the monsoon that is August) we were all set for a tenting-camp dinner at the new store’s roof.
The tenting-camp plan was reluctantly dropped after some days (Chemie always saw it as the logistical nightmare it would have been), but the two other ideas mushroomed as time went by:
Chemie (again) came with the great idea of making kippahs WP for everyone and designer Chef made some beautifuls ones out of Paliacates, popular Mexican handkerchiefs. The picnic idea lived on indoors and since we somewhy thought lying on rugs and cushions was a very Arab thing to do, all women were required to wear (mostly Oaxacan * WP) robes; Faby in particular wore this beautiful Moroccan *kaftan WP. Paco and I wanted to dress up as Ultra-Orthodox Jews with sexy ringlets, weird hats, black coats and long beards, but time pressed hard and the idea was dropped at the last minute.
Since Paco just came from France an enologist and smelly-cheese enthusiast, we added red wine and 3 French cheeses to the mix. Chepe makes a delicious piñada and so we added that to the menu. Bratwurst WP with sauerkraut WP were a weird success at at the pilot dinner and falafels WP were a whim that, eventually, proved successful too (we had to make it twice for it to come out right). Matzah soup (“the Jewish Penicilin”) was dropped because we bought fancy square plates (with Chinese calligraphy on them!) and couldn’t afford fancy soup dishes too.
Pictures of Jewish miscellanea plastered the walls: challahs WP, menorahs WP, the Wailing Wall, Madonna (she’s been studying the Kabbalah for decades), Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Israel, Mel Gibson (rumoured anti-Semite), New York Orthodox Jews, the Talmud, and Krusty the Clown (he’s Jewish).
We were quite professional about our little dinner: a pilot was carried on Tuesday, todo list upon todo list had to be written, and every single weird ingredient was tracked all over town (Hints: pimienta de Cayena means paprika, boniato means camote, Superama is the fancy supermarket, Aladdino’s and El Triunfo are some real cool shoppes, and Slovensko is the place to find Turkey steaks). We never knew how much we needed to move to the empty 2nd floor of the new store (which had to be cleaned) until we went back-and-forth, back-and-forth. All told, it was an unbelievable amount of work (I have a newfound respect for party-organizers, it really is a job) but everyone — Chepe, Fa, Chef, Peko, Bo, tiaYola, Yema — was unbelievably helpful too (thank you) and I learned so much (being something like the organizer).
We had a wonderful time.