This weekend we were back in the hood. And by hood, I actually mean The Bubbe’s house. Yes, Zippy, our daughter, spent her second birthday weekend at her favourite person’s house, in a sleepy cul-de-sac in Essex. ‘The Shiny House’ – as Zippy now refers to it – is the residence of her 83-year old great-grandmother and home to a bed that I slept in 25 years ago. A bed that my husband and I had been lying awake in (me, with added bonus of glorious pregnancy heartburn) for two-out-of-three nights, whilst our hot potato of a daughter span between us on the antique springs like a fan-assisted oven.
But Saturday night was different. We went out (for what felt like the first time in, like, forever) and ate take-away pizza with grown-up friends, and talked about grown-up stuff. Like how funny and brilliant Dan Savage’s campaign is to redefine the meaning of US Republican candidate Rick Santorum’s surname. I mean, really high-brow stuff.
And when we got back to ‘The Shiny House’ at a positively raving night-of-a-time of 11.30pm, we found Zippy in bed with The Bubbe. So, Sam and I slept. For seven hours. SEVEN WHOLE HOURS!
The next morning, feeling jubilant, exhuberrant and not un-dead, Sam and I headed to a kosher deli in Barkingside to get a nice spread for Sunday lunch. Now, I can’t speak for the whole Diaspora but – like any self-respecting, self-opinionated Jewish woman – I will. Bagels/beigels* are to Jews what a roast is to the British. No Sunday is complete until you and your family are satisfyingly slumped on the sofa with a belly full of boiled bread.
Being a bit of a bread-making fiend, I’m surprised I’ve not yet attempted to make my own bread bracelets. (Although I do think it has something to do with my past proximity to great beigel bakeries – Gants Hill, Brick Lane, Stamford Hill – and why compete?) But now I’m a west country bumpkin I’ve just got to try. And surely between Claudia Roden and the World Wide Web, I should be able to muster up a recipe that is AGA-proof. Otherwise, I’ll be filling my Cornish pasties with lox.
* Pronounced ‘buy-gul’ by East Londoners (myself included) to the horror of my Bristolian husband and the rest of the world over. This deliciously chewy, popular bread roll is made by boiling and then baking a yeast-based dough. Traditional accompaniments include smoked salmon and cream cheese, chopped or shmaltz herring, and egg and onion. I particularly like to accessorise mine with some gefilte fish (boiled fish balls) and ‘new greens’ (a type of pickled cucumber).