Caffeinated musings on my place within Judaism, feminism and community. Pontification on political and social topics. Definitely not decaf.

01 September 2006

Null and Void...and Chocolate

Apologies to Step Ima for adding this to her comments and then posting it here. After I finished putting it down, thought I’d share it.

With wedding number #2, B"H nothing went wrong. (Aside from the minor b'dekin in: don't have one. Oops…didn’t know.)

  • Va'ad had no problem with the food; the menu was great.
  • The bentschers had no typos
  • My red dress was fabulous and my gold shoes were great. I could even dance in spite of having foot surgery less than three weeks before.
  • Oh, and there was even a wonderfully handsome groom.

However, wedding #1 had a massive crisis.

Not the outdoor reception a rain. Glad we had the tent. OK, that wasn't the biggie.

No, it was our ketubah. I had my heart set on working with a big name ketubah artist from back east. We were getting married on the opposite coast.

I wanted a particular style in the shape of a Sephardi amulet ringed with quotes from Shir ha Shirim.

Problem #1: we (I - since ex didn't care and didn't chip in a cent) obviously weren't spending enough because the design was whittled down and down. Can't spring for real gold, ok, I'll give you some gold poster paint. Can't do the full illumination 'cause it's not in your budget, ok, I'll throw in a couple of flowers.

Problem #2: But wait, it's Thursday before the Sunday wedding. The ketubah should be waiting, tucked in a safe place. Frantic call (first of many) to the artist. Um, he's just finishing it and we'll have it on time – he’ll FedEx'd overnight. Not to worry.


Friday – all day – nothing. Not a knock on the door from the FedEx guy. Just lots of calls to the artist.

That evening I sulked and stressed through the "rehearsal" dinner. No Shabbat dinner for my ex's family. An Orthodox wedding was bad enough for them. Notice a pattern here. I should have re-enacted that scene from "The Graduate" and gone off to find my Dustin Hoffman.

Saturday. Let's just say that the parents spent all day on the phone calling FedEx and after Shabbat dealing with the artist.

From him we got a minor apology. He marked the ketubah for Saturday delivery but Fed Ex listed it for Monday. Um. The wedding's on Sunday.

We went up the chain of command at FedEx and volunteered to pay for a first class ticket (really!) if they could find it and put it on a plane. They couldn't. This one manager understood the importance as she got a Papal blessing from Rome for her wedding and promised to move heaven and earth to get it to us. To no avail.

Saturday night my sister and I went to the art supply store. We bought a big piece of poster board, some handmade marbled paper and a length of ribbon. We then photocopied the practice text we had and made a do-it-yourself-ketubah.

There were many phone calls later that night to our rabbi (who was driving 200 miles the next day to perform the wedding in my parents’ city), the artist (who really blew off that he caused such tsuris) and FedEx.

Sunday the wedding arrived.

Our rabbi brought a backup, paper fill-in-the-blank ketubah, which he ultimately used. We taped this over the decorated version my sister and I made. The whole thing was hideous and made for an interesting story – years later.

The ketubah arrived, as promised, Monday afternoon.

Now the pièce de resistance. We provided the artist with our Hebrew names, family names etc. Our rav proofed the photocopy, made corrections and we sent it off to the artist in plenty of time.
When we finally saw the finished product (nice but not what I'd imagined), my name, in big blue letters, was WRONG! I was listed as XX bat XX ha'mishphacha XX.

No Mr. Big Deal Artist. Read the photocopy. My name is XX bat XX ha Kohen.

It’s not that I was waiting for my portion from the Kohen Gadol, but there's something about having the right name on a legal document. Especially one that was to have been framed and hung prominently in our home.

Too bad when I was fighting for the divorce I couldn't have pulled out the faulty ketubah and said "See, this contract is void - it's got the wrong name."

So, when DH and I began considering our ketubah, it was a big deal. We worked with a LOCAL (AMAZING...can't say enough positive about this person) artist and spent an ungodly fortune (worth every single cent and which included free marriage counseling from the artist..."Now, you got to choose the color on that part, it's time to share. Let him pick the color on this part.")

When we went to pick it up before the wedding, we were so blown away we both were speechless and teary. It's our most prized (physical) possession and it sums up all that is beautiful and positive in our marriage.

Oh, and the other ketubah? It's still in the original FedEx container in the basement. What does one do with an unused, slightly wrong, illuminated document?

In case you’re wondering…and back on a food related note, this was our wedding luncheon menu. All the recipes came from my cookbooks are were all things I made regularly. I’d wanted to cater it myself. DH said he wouldn’t go through with the wedding if I did. Wise man.

  • Roasted vegetables (peppers, eggplant, etc.)
  • Various cheeses (including a decent kosher brie)
  • Couscous salad with toasted walnuts and dried cranberries
  • Green salad with balsamic vinaigrette
  • Breads (rustic rosemary, potato, sesame…)
  • Roasted salmon with romesco sauce (from the gotta-have NY Times Passover Cookbook by Linda Amster)
  • Basil-ricotta tart (from the amazing Cucina Fresca by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman)
  • And a tower of little chocolate cherry cakes from Gourmet Magazine. Recipe follows…

Little Chocolate Cherry Cakes Gourmet February 1996 Makes 6 little cakes. (Oh, and you can make this parve without compromising too much on the taste)

½ cup (2½ ounces) dried sour cherries (or dried apricots or candied orange or candied ginger)
¼ cup eau-de-vie de framboise or other raspberry liqueur (I use kosher brandy)
3 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
confectioners' sugar for sifting over cakes
Preheat oven to 350°F. and generously butter six ½ cup muffin tins.

In a small saucepan simmer cherries in liqueur, stirring, until all liquid is evaporated and let cool.
In a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk in granulated sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add flour and salt, stirring until just combined, and fold in cherries.

Divide batter among muffin tins and bake in middle of oven about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Turn cakes out onto a rack and cool. Cakes keep at room temperature in an airtight container 4 days.

Cut out a 1¼” paper heart and center on a cake. Sift confectioners' sugar over cake and carefully remove heart. Sift sugar over remaining cakes in same manner. Most importantly...enjoy!


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