Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IWSG: Serving Up A Savory Story

                                                                         

Congratulations to Alex J. Cavanaugh on the second anniversary of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group.  The group has grown to over three hundred participants, and continues to flourish. I've watched many of the writer's become published authors over the last two years, and would like to finally fulfill my dream of writing a novel. As tomorrow begins the Jewish New Year, I can't help but equate the essentials of a good story to the ingredients of a traditional Rosh Hashanah feast.

The prologue sets the tone for the story. You want to provide just enough to whet their appetites for more. A little chopped liver goes a long way spread out on a slice of challah. At first the gefilte fish complements the liver; however, there's no telling if things will erupt later.

The most difficult part about serving the soup is in making sure it is the right temperature. Although the broth tastes better when it's hot, it's important not to overheat the matzo balls. This could bring on severe shrinkage which draws more attention to the lopsided noodle.

The secret to preparing the brisket is adding the right amount of savory spices. You want it to be mild for your parents, sweet for your kids, and to have just enough bite for your contemporaries. The potatoes are the loyal sidekick. They are there to support the main course, while the squash and green bean casserole conspire a takeover. The squash goes down smoothly, as the casserole teases us by slowly peeling off crunchy layers. By this time you're too full to fight, thus leaving the potatoes out in the cold.

Being over-served usually works one of two ways; you either pass out at the table, or you keep going in fear of not regaining consciousness from a food coma. There's a two dessert minimum followed by a caffeine fix. We toast to a sweet New Year, and hope that everyone leaves before the gefilte fish kicks in. It could take hours or even days which always makes for a surprise ending.

Happy and healthy New Year!

49 comments:

  1. Happy Jewish New Year! Just reading your post is making me hungry. I just had challah over the weekend- it's great for bread pudding!

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  2. Challah is also great for french toast bake, but you probably already know that. Happy New Year!

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  3. Don't overheat that matzo! LOL. But you're right. Everything must be prepared just so for the reader to lose himself in the story and keep reading until the end. Happy New Year to you.

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  4. You're right, the feast can take hours. I was a guest at one. Lots of food, laughter, thanksgiving, good conversation. The meal wasn't rushed but leisurely. It was great.

    Enjoy your New Year.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  5. Please share your yummy recipe for brisket.

    Happy New Year!

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  6. Have a happy New Year. The dinner sounds great.

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  7. Hilarious. Now I know where I go wrong with my kneidlach. Shona tova x

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  8. The dinner sounds delicious-- and yes, Nappy New Year celebration!

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  9. Dinner sounds great and it's a perfect analogy for writing a book.
    This is your year, Julie - claim it!

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  10. The meal sounds lovely. A very Happy New Year, Julie, may it be healthy and successful too.

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  11. Great analogy! Very enjoyable read. Happy new year!

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  12. What time is dinner?

    Happy Rosh Hashanah. And nice comparison to the novel writing. With some of that innuendo, I'm convinced you're writing a romance novel now. :P

    Enjoy the holiday!

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    1. Tonight we're going to my best friend's house for dinner. She is an amazing cook who always makes me look bad, but we still love her! Thanks Luanne!

      Julie

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  13. Ha ha! This was fun! Thanks for posting, and happy Holiday! I hope the fish doesn't kick in and you get to enjoy the heady array of food for a long time. What an idea to equate the parts of a story with the parts of a meal. Wow!

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    1. It's all about portion control. Thank you Lisa!

      Julie

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  14. I hope you join the ranks of the published this year, Julie! Always gotta be on the watch for shrinkage (or so my male swimming buddies tell me).

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    1. We must have been watching the same Seinfeld episode! I'm sure it will take longer, as I haven't even begun writing yet. Thanks Jennifer!

      Julie

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  15. What a fun analogy! And you know I look forward to reading that novel of yours, Julie. I hope you will have it out in the world soon.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to you and all your family! I hope you have a wonderful holiday. :)

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    1. If only I knew where to begin. My son has been encouraging me, so I think it's time to get serious. Thanks so much Julie!

      Julie

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  16. Cynthia - Challah is the best! Thanks Cynthia!

    Cathrina - Challah French toast does sound great! Thanks Cathrina!

    Kim - I wish I had a step by step recipe for writing a novel. Thanks Kim!

    Sia - I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks Sia!

    Mary - Thank you my friend!

    Isis - The recipe is so easy, but the total cooking time is 3 1/2 hours. I always ask the butcher to trim off most of the fat. Then I spread some garlic on it before adding a generous amount of barbecue sauce (Open Pit). I brown it in an uncovered roasting pan at 350 degrees. Then I cover it, and continue cooking at 325 degrees for 3 hours. For those who don't like the real barbecue taste, I make a light mushroom gravy on the side. My mom passed along this untraditional recipe that's a family favorite. Thanks Isis!

    Yvonne - The trick is in just tasting small amounts of everything. Thanks Yvonne!

    Rosalind - I'm sure your kneidlach is delicious! Shana Tova to you and your family Rosalind!

    Thank you Julie!

    Alex - Thanks for your words of encouragement, and for hosting this amazing group!

    Carole Anne - Thanks for all of your wonderful wishes!

    Thank you Wendy!

    Julie


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  17. Yo Julie!

    My deranged human thinks "IWSG" means, "I Was Seeking Gary." Can you believe that...

    Y'all provided some food for thought in your pawsting, human! And a Happy New Year to you! :)

    Stay chillin',

    Snoop Bloggy Dog in da Gangsta's Pawadise!

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  18. Sounds delicious, made my mouth water.

    Take care.
    Yvonne.

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  19. Happy Rosh Hashanah! Enjoy your festivities. I loved your analogy. Although, now I'm really in the mood for a brisket the way my grandma used to make it!! Yummy!!!

    Elsie

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  20. Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy your celebration.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  21. Snoop I'm glad you haven't let your new found success as a doggie rap star change you! Hope you're feeling better. Thanks Snoop and Gary!

    Yvonne - It's even better when someone else makes it! Thanks Yvonne!

    Elsie - Nothing ever tastes more delicious than when grandma makes it! Happy New Year Elsie!

    Thank you Gina!

    Julie

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  22. My very Jewish aunt made such bland soup, we had to douse it with salt. Yet that didn't help.

    L'shanah Tovah, Julie. Have a sweet and blessed New Year.

    Love to you,
    xoRobyn

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  23. Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones. This post has really got my stomach churning for something to eat right now at 3am. I'd love to be at this feast mate.
    I need to find myself a really nice Jewish restaurant to get this authentic taste.

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  24. Robyn - It's a shame that her soup was so bland. Thank you, and a sweet and blessed New Year to you Robyn!

    Thanks Blue Morgan!

    Rum Punch Drunk - This food is way too heavy to eat at 3am. Hopefully, you'll be able to find a good Jewish deli somewhere across the pond with a little help from the Internet. Thank you RPD!

    Julie

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  25. Your comparison is great, your meal is even better. Most of that food just isn't available in NZ. We ate tons of deli while in the states.

    L'Shana Tova may we all be inscribed in the book of Life, Peace and Happiness

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  26. Happy Jewish New Year Julie!
    Hope you have a fabulous day with family and friends.
    Those dishes sound interesting too!
    Writer In Transit

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  27. Happy New Year!
    I love Rosh Hashanah!
    After having the whole summer off, I returned to work Tuesday (having had Labor Day off). We worked two days and now have today off.
    Sweet.
    But, lemme ask you...did you celebrate a la December 31st LAST night so you can have a hangover today?
    Or do you make it a four day weekend?
    Now that would be more than sweet.
    That would be epic!

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  28. Happy New Year, Julie. Thank you for the recipe. Hope your year is absolutely fabulous!

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  29. Rhonda - Glad you were able to share some of our favorite foods with your daughters while you were in the states! L' Shana Tova to you and your family!

    Thanks Michelle! We really enjoyed last night, and the holiday continues...

    Al - Growing up we were off two days from school. I remember thinking about how much fun the other kids were having while we were sitting in synagogue. I like your suggestion much better. Thanks Al!

    Thanks Joylene, and all the best to you!

    Julie

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    1. This is the same way we Catholics felt about having school off for All Saints Day, November 1st. While we were gorging ourselves on Halloween candy, we made fun of the public school kids on THEIR way to class.
      Of course, they beat the crap out of us the rest of the year, so it wasn't exactly equal.
      BTW, I noticed that Rosh Hashanah lasted until sundown on FRIDAY, but we only got Thursday off. Seems to me a good excuse for a four day weekend or, at the very least having Friday off to make a three day weekend.
      See, I'm always thinking.

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    2. Al - Since our synagogue gets overcrowded during the High Holidays, they also hold services at the high school auditorium; though school was still in session during services on Friday. Sorry you didn't get the second day off, especially since you would give a much more entertaining sermon.

      Julie

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  30. Replies
    1. Sorry that just reading about this gave you indigestion! Good one Lee!

      Julie

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    2. You already have two Tums. And eight fingers.
      Sorry.
      That was weak.

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  31. Happy New Year! That was rather hilarious. Good luck cooking up your novel. :)

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  32. Hi Julie .. I can imagine that trying to get the recipe just right for families with such an incredible tradition of their heritage is somewhat challenging ..

    However happy new year and enjoy those customs that are so important to you ... and remembering one's eyes are bigger than one's stomach can be difficult at times .. pacing I suspect is the word required to be remembered!

    Cheers Hilary

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  33. Nick - I have a feeling it will be stewing for a long time! Thanks Nick!

    Hilary - Yes "pacing" is key when so much heavy food is involved! It also helps to move around a lot afterword. Thank you Hilary!

    Julie

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  34. Congrats to Alex, and Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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  35. Welcome back. I've been thinking about you, and hope all is well with you family and your MIL.

    Happy New Year, and I'm ready to read your book, so ya better start writing!

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    1. Susan - Uh, oh the pressure is on! The visit got a little easier with each passing day. She's a remarkably strong woman. Thanks for everything Susan!

      Julie

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