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Two Pony PSAs

A couple of things have been bothering me recently. They're not serious or life-threatening (believe me; I know from serious and life-threatening, and these are neither), but they niggle. And there are times when one just has to get the niggles off one's chest. Most of my f-list are with-it enough not to need these, but I just gotta say it.

First off:

Jewish holidays begin at sundown the night before, because the Jewish ceremonial day runs from sundown to sundown. Most gentiles these days are pretty good at being aware of Hanukkah, Passover, and at least some of the High Holy Days. And I appreciate that.

However.

Scheduling a concert at which (specific) you expect me to be present on the day of Erev Pesach (which begins at sundown on April 19 this year) is Not Cool. When I e-mail you to alert you to this, it is even Less Cool to say "oh, no, that doesn't conflict with Passover. Passover begins on the 20th!" Here's a hint: If your calendar says, on the 20th, "Passover begins today," it is not the value of "today" that you assume it is. That is a goyische calendar. If your calendar makes no mention of sundown, then you cannot assume that your calendar is telling you the whole truth. Look it up -- this takes all of two seconds to Google. By 2008, Judaism should not be so exotic a concept that this should come as news to you.

Especially if you know enough about Judaism to have wished me "Good Yuntiff" at Passover last year.

Next:

I know it sucks, but it's a fact of life. There are foods that people will not eat. There are foods that people are allergic to. And vegetarians exist. It is reasonable to assume, in this day and age, in a major city such as New York or Chicago, that a good proportion of the guests at your gathering will come with some of these little food caveats.

Obviously, you can't cater to everyone's food issues, but perhaps it's not so unreasonable to make sure that you avoid the major, most well-known ones. Lots of people are vegetarians. Many people won't eat pork for various reasons, and shellfish are a major, well-known food allergy. These shouldn't be too difficult to deal with.

So then why, specific otherwise-very-nice couple, do you host an elegant gathering in New York and serve lovely, tempting, fresh from the stove hors d'oeurves . . . none of which are vegetarian, half of which feature either shrimp, ham, or both, and all the while, your feature presentation is an assemble-it-yourself Thai appetizer featuring dried shrimp and a shrimp-based sauce that completes the dish?

I know that you like cooking Southeast Asian food, and that you're proud of your ability to do so. But really, is chicken satay that hard to do? There are so many lovely vegetarian foods to be found in Southeast Asia -- why go for precisely the ones that set off the most common food issues? (Although your duck hot pockets were very tasty.)


In summation: Think about the world, dudes and dudettes, for just a moment before you act.

That is all.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
arwensommer
Jan. 12th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
See, I learned something today. More than one thing, actually:

1. Yewish observances start the day BEFORE at sundown <-- I did not know this.
2. "Good Yuntiff" is the appropriate greeting for Passover <-- I did not know this either.
3. Shell fish is a common food allergy <-- I always thought peanuts was #1 :)

So... in conclusion? Many thanks! I love learning new things.
frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
1. Yewish observances start the day BEFORE at sundown <-- I did not know this.

See, this is why comparative religion should be taught in schools. I am not entirely certain when Muslim holidays begin, and I feel that's something I ought to know. I think it's even more imperative in a country like America, which is religiously more heterogeneous than the Netherlands.

2. "Good Yuntiff" is the appropriate greeting for Passover <-- I did not know this either.

Even sneakier: "Good Yuntiff" actually just means "Happy holiday" in Yiddish. So it's a good all-purpose greeting for your Jewish friends for most holidays.

3. Shell fish is a common food allergy <-- I always thought peanuts was #1 :)

Peanuts are still probably #1, and I think that most people are aware of the existence of peanut allergies. But shellfish is also a pretty common allergy, and one might think it would be good practice to avoid serving so much shrimp to a mixed gathering.
arwensommer
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
See, this is why comparative religion should be taught in schools. I am not entirely certain when Muslim holidays begin, and I feel that's something I ought to know. I think it's even more imperative in a country like America, which is religiously more heterogeneous than the Netherlands.

See, I was -taught- comparative religion. I know the basics of the five major world religions... But I didn't know -that-. And I'm not entirely sure if you're more heterogeneous than we are... We may only have three viable Christian options, but other than that? Especially in the bigger cities out west, it's diversity galore...

Even sneakier: "Good Yuntiff" actually just means "Happy holiday" in Yiddish. So it's a good all-purpose greeting for your Jewish friends for most holidays.

... And now for pronunciation? :-D
frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
That is the pronunciation! It's a Yiddish corruption of "yom tov," which is "holiday" in Hebrew.
arwensommer
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
Ahhh! Ok... See, my cousin's in-laws are all Jewish. So I'm just expecting the greeting to be in Yiddish... So what's "good" in Yiddish then? (Hey, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right :) )
frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Gut Yuntiff! "Gut" as in the German.
arwensommer
Jan. 12th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Excellent, thank you! :)

*is feeling all fluffy for being more culturally aware now!*
elliska
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Even if I did not know that Jewish holidays began at sun down, I hope I would know enough to not question my Jewish friends when they told me I was intruding on their holiday. I mean, you should know better than me, right?

Yeah, and foods...this vegetarian feels your angst. At all the functions of the Major Networking Company I work for, the lunch menu is always ham sandwiches--no other choice, just ham sandwiches. Everytime for the last 4 years worth of meetings. And they didn't catch on when I started bringing my own food. They didn't even catch on when the Hindu, Muslim and Jewish person on our team did the same. Clueless!

No, you didn't touch a nerve here at all...
frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
The thing that made me go "bzuh?" was that this person knew enough about Jewish holidays to wish me "Good Yuntiff," but didn't know how to read his own calendar. Sigh.

When I host a nibblies party (which admittedly isn't very often because it's a lot of work), I always make sure that there are a variety of foods -- veggies and curry dip, chips, crackers, cheeses, drinks both alcoholic and non, and very occasionally something involving fish (my canape of slices of bagel with bits of cream cheese and lox on), but there should be so much else to eat that no one should be deprived.

no other choice, just ham sandwiches.

Wow. That's an entirely different level of dumb. This is one of the reasons that I do not wish to live south of the Mason-Dixon line. There's ham in everything.
jelazakazone
Jan. 12th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
The food thing seems to me to be made of just pure dumb. I almost never host anything where I provide all the food (for starters), but I assume that everyone is vegetarian unless told otherwise. Everyone (mostly) eats vegetarian food; chances are much better that everyone will have a happy tummy if vegetarian options are available.

*ponders* Maybe your hosts didn't really care if people were actually fed; maybe they just wanted to show off their cooking:(

frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Vegetarian food for parties is easy and cheap, most people like at least some veggies, you can get creative with dip . . . what's not to like?

maybe they just wanted to show off their cooking:(

I think that might be the true reason. I am told that this couple is very proud of their mad Southeast Asian cooking skillz, and I think they use parties as an opportunity to show it off. But why they never learned more chicken or veggie dishes is beyond me.
jelazakazone
Jan. 12th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
why they never learned more chicken or veggie dishes is beyond me.

Especially given how expensive shrimp and that other stuff is (I forget the specifics -- lack of sleep:P).

I also don't get people who host big parties (read: more than five people) and do all the cooking themselves. Maybe I'm just lazier than your average Jane:)

frenchpony
Jan. 12th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC)
Dried shrimp, which is what's used in a lot of Asian cooking, is pretty cheap if you go to an Asian market.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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