The art of candy
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The art of candy

The Frazzled Housewife. With everything that has been going on, I am going to concentrate on getting back to my roots. Why did I start writing this column?

My main goal was to try to make people laugh — either at me or with me. I have been very touched by the outpouring of support (and the bagels and croissants) for Husband #1. We appreciate your prayers and good wishes. That being said, I would like to focus this week’s column on one of my favorite topics — food.

You know you are getting old when you come home from megillah reading and there aren’t bags upon bags of shalach manot waiting for your children. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, on the holiday of Purim, part of the celebration is giving gifts of food to at least two people. I always thought that there had to be at least two foods that required different blessings, but over the years, that ruling has been questionable. Consult your local rabbi because I don’t have a clear answer. In any event, for me, and for others I am sure, Purim was the holiday of candy, candy, and more candy. The Jewish Halloween, if you will.

There were always the clever parents who had a themed shalach manot. That was always very impressive to me. I tried to do that a few times — not very successfully I am sure. One year, I gave out sticky candy and a toothbrush. That was probably the most original. But every year, when my nest was full, the rule was that every bag we got went on the kitchen table, and at the end of the day, we went through them. It was always very heartwarming when the kitchen table was spilling over with bags.

For all of you young parents out there, cherish these memories. Time goes so fast and before you know it, your table is empty, and you are wondering why you don’t have any friends… (Not talking about me this time. We were very blessed with some special deliveries this year.)

Going through the bags had a very unique system. There were five piles. One pile was for the actual bags that had no identifying stickers on them, so I could reuse them the following year. (That is what happens when you marry a guy from Monsey. Or at least that is what happened to me.) Then there was the pile of stuff that could be used for school snacks (because I never followed the “healthy snack” rule). Followed by the pile of stuff that my kids didn’t like but I did, followed by the pile of stuff the kids couldn’t take to school but went in our snack drawer. The final pile was the stuff that no one liked, but Husband #1 would bring to the office — trail mixes, weird flavored juices, anything barbecue flavored, and the like.

I always loved when the boys would take their piles and divide amongst themselves, deciding who was getting what. It was so adorable, and for the most part, their sharing with each other was just priceless for me to watch. Again, young parents, treasure these moments — even the moments when they’re totally hopped up on sugar and not listening to a thing you say, getting sticky candy fingerprints all over the place and not going to sleep on time. It’s all good, I promise.

Fortunately, my kids and I have different tastes in candy. And forget about Husband #1. He only likes plain Hershey’s chocolate. That is it. Not a nut, no caramel, forget about peanut butter, just plain. Even a Hershey’s kiss is pushing it because it isn’t shaped like a rectangle. He is no fun at all when it comes to food, but that is OK. Less for him and more for his big wife. The boys enjoyed all kinds of Laffy Taffies, fruit by the foot, any chocolate that is shaped like something sports-related — baseballs, footballs, basketballs, and so on. I only really had to fight for the stuff I liked with Son #2, but because he has such a big heart, he usually let me win.

This year, even with no kids home, we still got a fair amount of nosh. I waited for Dil #1 to come for Shabbos so I had someone to go through everything with. She is very good about humoring me with activities like that. We had an entertaining time sorting through the goods, though there was not one cholov yisroel product among the rations. Bad for Dil #1, but good for Mil #1…hee hee hee.

And for some reason, not one Snickers. Who had all of the Snickers? Other than that, it was a lovely Purim, even with all of the real-life stuff going on.

Looking forward to next year and a Purim filled with true joy, Megillah Man laining all across the land, and lots of chocolate with caramel nutty goodness.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is grateful to report that scan #1 was stable. Next scan is in three weeks. Keep those good thoughts coming for Husband #1 and all of those people who need those good thoughts as well…

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