Mish-Mosh Of The Soul

One of the blessings of a “mixed” family heritage is that you get to eat comfort foods from more than one buffet line. Case in point: yesterday’s family confab and lunch nosh, which was held at Max’s Delicatessen in Skokie.

I knew going in that on a bitterly cold day, fighting a “bug” and trying not to cough too much, I needed lots of chicken soup, STAT. Probably with kreplach (dumplings) or matzoh balls (actually, one ginormous matzoh ball). But I’d never seen anything like the menu item under the various listings for chicken soup extras – underneath all of them, it said “Mish-Mosh Chicken Soup.” It was a lot more expensive, and my rudimentary knowledge of Yiddish told me it was a mixture or a little of everything. Good enough, and then I saw that the 1/2 soup, 1/2 sandwich option for   lox and a toasted bagel included a note: “$3.50 extra for Mish-Mosh.”

Sold. I ordered. The waitress asked “Nova, or regular?” and I knew to answer “regular” because Nova Scotia lox is more expensive. David ordered mish-mosh for his half-and-half, too. My nephew Josh chuckled “Mish-mosh, it’s brutal.”

Presently, a tremendous bowl arrived, with all kinds of stuff sticking out of it. A giant matzoh, made with dill weed. A couple of kreplach, including some broken ones. A bunch of little bitty thin, flat noodles like the kind that come in Lipton’s dried onion soup mix, but longer and curlier. A ladlefull of rice. And finally, a whole bunch of loose crumbled corned beef, that must have falled out of yet more unseen broken kreplach.

Oh, man, was it good.

The lox and bagel arrived after a few minutes’ work on the soup. It was a disappointment, with two thin strips of lox, barely enough to put on each half of toasted bagel. I’m used to sandwich places that give you FOUR strips and CAPERS, but no. And the onions were the super-hot kind, not the mild sweet kind that goes better with smoked salmon and any kind of plain or savory cream cheese (I had plain).

But the soup more than made up for this deficiency of lox. I finished most of the solid stuff out of it and didn’t leave much liquid behind, either. MMM, yummy.

After we’d all mostly finished eating, the announcement to the family was made. Somebody will be going through chemo after surgery again. This was a surprise to a couple of people, and just at that moment, all kinds of service people descended on the table offering bills, more coffee, more new pickles, and offering to box up uneaten food. Argh! Go away! But it was the most convenient place to meet the busiest subset of the family, so that’s where we were instead of at one of our homes.

So we listened, and we pondered, and we offered help and casseroles, and expressed hope and love and support. One of my sisters-in-law and I discussed doing a well-known fund-raiser walk later in the year just to have something positive to do. After reading about what’s involved (2 nights camping out in the same location, so apparently the route loops around a little) I don’t know if we’ll go for it, but it seems a reasonable training goal, if my bad foot doesn’t give out. We’ll see. 

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