This is one of those things that I have no idea if you’ll find as funny as I do. Not even if you were there. But my neighborhood is dotted with little Kosher shops (and they get bigger… they all inevitably expand or move to larger storefronts) and at one certain one, the cashiers are all Caribbean accented ladies who smile at you a lot and hand back your credit card the second after they swipe it. They trust you, you see. This isn’t the funny part, even to me.
The thing is, they know more about Kosher products than you and I ever will. Even if you’re Jewish and Kosher. This afternoon, I went there because I needed a cake. I know, I never buy cakes, but I have no kitchen and it’s hard to come up with one without paying someone else to bake it. And I’m going away for the weekend and must bring my hosts a cake. Believe me, I know you are currently thinking of the Seinfeld episode with the babka, and I did, in fact, get them a babka. This is because I can’t make babka and I don’t want them to say something along the lines of, “mmmmm, these rugelach are WAY better than the ones you make… try to bring these from now on, would you?” Actually, my cousin is British and extremely polite and would never say such a thing, especially if she thought it. She is one of those people who make you want to live the lifestyle of an observant Jew simply because of the way the sabbath goes on. You see, there’s always a lot of food and preparation, every single week, and so five seconds into any conversation, any day of the week, they will say, “do you want to come for shabbos?” Because there’s always enough for you, a room, food, etc. and it’s taken for granted that guests won’t be a burden but rather enhance the host’s life. I think this is kind of the way the South is portrayed in Gone With the Wind, except I won’t be staying for several months or years. But it’s like that. So I’ve had Mammy pack up my trunks to have shabbos in Atlanta. And by Atlanta I mean Bergen County, New Jersey.
Anyway! So I was there and the Caribbean ladies are all in one row, that’s the way it works. The one next to my smiling cashier was on the phone with a customer and it went like this, “A choc-o-late chip challah? I’ll check but what kind do you want? Zomick’s? Bagel Citee? Zadie’s? Oh never mind Zadie’s, there’s no choc-o-late chip. Rita! See if we have a choc-o-late chip, any kind. Oh pull-apart is all we have, she says. You know, pull apart [slight impatience]. Pull-apart challah!” It was kind of awesome the way she had to explain to the Jewish customer what a pull-apart challah was. It almost made me believe that Kingston was actually Bagel City, mon.
Maybe you had to be there. And by there I mean the Upper West Side of the Caribbean.