Monday, October 24, 2005


The inimitable Bane reminded me of how much I love pistachio nuts.

Tasty damn things. Addictive. In my personal Nut Pantheon, they are right up there with the godly Cashew. The one thing that keeps me from eating them 24/7 is the fact that, with those shells, you have to work at eating Mass Quantities of pistachios....and I am a lazy bastard when it comes to Unnecessary Snack Food.

But I’m in trouble now.

Last Saturday, I discovered that some enterprising corporate genius has thought to market hulled pistachios in a giant economy-size resealable pouch. Gaaahhh.

The discovery took place at Shabbat (Sabbath) services, where She Who Must Be Obeyed and I are regular attendees. The routine every Saturday morning is pretty much the same:
  • Birkot ha-Shachar (morning blessings).
  • P’sukei d’zimra (psalms).
  • Shacharit – the morning service proper, which includes Bar’khu (the Call to Worship); recitation of the Sh’ma (the declaration of the Unity and Uniqueness of God); and the Amidah (the standing prayer that is the key element of all Jewish worship services).
  • The Torah service, in which one or more Torah scrolls are taken out and the appropriate selection (from the Five Books of Moses, AKA the Pentateuch) chanted.
  • Haftarah – the chanting of a selection from the Prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, et alia) that complements the day’s Torah reading.
  • Musaf – the “Additional Service,” essentially a second version of the Amidah that recalls the sacrificial cult of the old Temple days. Musaf is tacked on to the end of the service on Shabbat, Biblical festivals, the High Holidays, and new moons.

  • But there’s another Weekly Ritual as well.

    At some point during the proceedings – usually during the Haftarah reading or immediately following – a small group of congregants quietly slips out of the sanctuary and heads off to the kitchen. It is there that we observe the Solemn Ceremony of the Sabbath Kiddush Club. In the recesses of the Dairy Kitchen, a locker is opened, bottles of Spirituous Liquors are taken out, shots poured, a blessing recited – and everyone enjoys a bit of schnapps. Baptists, we’re not.

    Sometimes, as an accompaniment to our Shots of Strong Drink, we have dried fruit or nuts. And that is when I made my happy discovery. Someone had brought a huge sack of hulled pistachios. Hulled! No shells! You could eat the sumbitches by the handful! As an adjunct to my Wee Dram of J&B (“Jewish Booze”), those pistachios were dead solid perfect.

    Ahh, the Kiddush Club. We may have our Nutty and Bizarre Rituals – what religion does not? – but you just gotta love a Religious Institution that knows how to party.

    Now I am going to have to track down the source of those Damned Pistachios...for I have looked upon them and tasted them, and they are very good.

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