Recipe, Please

By Basya Fried

“Hi, Chaya. Can I—” I begin.

“I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you back. What do you need?” my sister says curtly, clearly exasperated. In the background I can hear a wailing baby, the clanging of pots and pans and water running in the sink.

“Gotta go,” she says, and abruptly hangs up the phone.

I sigh. Will I ever get that recipe for brisket? It’s Wednesday and I want to start preparing for Shabbos. My in-laws are coming together with another couple for Shabbos lunch. I need to make a shopping list, and I can’t do that if I don’t know which ingredients to buy.

I text my mother: “Hi, Mommy. Sorry to bother you at work, but can I get that brisket recipe the family has been raving about since Sukkos?”
“Sure,” she responds.
I wait ever so patiently but nothing follows.
“?” I text back.
My phone rings. It’s my mother.

“Hi, sweetheart, I’m kinda busy here but let me just tell you quickly. It’s super-easy, not even a recipe. You take the brisket and add some onions, soy sauce and a little Worcestershire sauce. Um, you can also add some red wine if you like. Wait, hold on a sec—” She covers the mouthpiece but I can hear her muffled voice anyway. “Yes, a 2016 Acura. It needs an oil change.” A second later she’s back to me. “I was in the middle of making an appointment to bring in the car after work. What was it you needed again?” she asks sincerely, because even though my mother is a full-time employee, she is also a full-time supermom.

“The recipe for the brisket,” I say hopefully.

“Oh, yeah. Just onions, garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, salt and pepper. That’s all. Oh, and olive oil. Wait a second.” I’ve lost her again. “Yes, Mike will be coming into the office later. Do you need a copy? Okay, I’ll put it on your desk. Thanks, Chaim.”
She’s back. “I have to go, Basya. I’ll call you later. Love you!” And with that she hangs up the phone.

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