web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


How To Throw A Party

Baim-081712-Invite

For my upcoming birthday, instead of waiting for my friends or my husband to make me a “surprise” party, I decided to throw one myself. I settled on a cozy and intimate evening, celebrating my birthday with professional cake decorating and fruity cocktails with my nearest and dearest. But as with every gathering I plan, things started to get out of control. At first, I just planned on inviting my sisters, my sister-in-law and a couple of friends. But how could I leave out friends I haven’t seen for a while, neighbors whom I chat with daily, and co-workers whom I spend more time with then my own husband and children? The guest list was trembling at over forty invites and my expense budget was beyond what I normally spend on a three-day yom tov. It was time for some quality-control.

First, I narrowed in on what I really wanted for my birthday, which was to celebrate the day in a meaningful fashion. I had recently finished reading the beautiful biography of Rebbetzin Kanievsky. Hafrashat challah was very important to Rebbetzin Kanievsky and she was particular to do the mitzvah not just every week, but even every day, when she would go down to a nearby bakery and take challah from there. On Thursday, she would host groups of women who would answer amein to her brocha. I was inspired to follow her example, but the few times I made challah, no one would eat it.

Thankfully, a good friend of mine, Soshie, is a culinary graduate of the Arts Institute of New York, and breads have always been her thing. Although she now works as a physician’s assistant, she was willing to give a demonstration on the proper way to make challah and how to flavor the dough with herbs, cinnamon and sugar, onions, roasted tomatoes or garlic, etc. Afterwards, we could all make the brocha together.

The decision to do specialty challot cut out the need to hire a professional cake decorator, and eliminated the need to provide a spread of food and buy chic paper goods. After all, if everyone’s hands are busy kneading dough, they can’t quite sit down and sample different salads and hoers devours. Instead, I served iced decaf coffee and tea, and just a few platters of candies and cookies.

There was this great idea in Real Simple magazine by Michelle Slatalla to reduce an overloaded guest list. You take the list of people and divide them into categories, i.e. neighbors, co-workers, friends, children’s friends, etc. If you want to invite one person from a category, everyone gets invited. To minimize hurt feelings, consider where the categories overlap, like in a Venn diagram. The concept was brilliant, but unfortunately for me, all my categories overlapped. I couldn’t figure out how to cut any group out, so instead I set the party at a time that would be most convenient for me and Soshie, but not necessarily for others. This way, I figured girls would come only if they really wanted too.

One week before the party, I made the cookies and froze them. Three days before, I went shopping. Two days before, I made sure there were sufficient clean chairs and tables in the house and confirmed the RSVPs. The day before, I cleaned the house. That afternoon, knowing my kids will never stay upstairs in their beds while there’s a party going on, I had them bathed and dressed them in their cutest pajamas and then I let them help me prepare the drinks and platters and set the table.

The party was called for seven and my guests began to arrive at 7:30. Being that it was quite a diverse group of women the challah demonstration was a great icebreaker. The demonstration was superbly done and sorely needed. Apparently, I’m not the only woman who wasn’t endowed with the gift of baking underneath the chuppah. Who knew that the need to proof yeast is only for dry yeast that may have expired and by using fresh yeast, you can save yourself ten minutes or so. It was fascinating to watch Soshie swirl the mixture with one hand as she added the wet ingredients followed by the dry. She poured, without measuring, about two thirds of the recommended amount of flour, and then let the dough rest and form together. I used those ten minutes to speak about the spiritual and unifying factors of making dough and then gave the stage back to Soshie. She continued to add flour until the dough was solid, but still slightly wet and sticky. “Know your dough,” Soshie admonished us, and indeed we were becoming quite familiar with it.

About the Author: Pnina Baim holds a B.S. in Health and Nutrition from Brooklyn College and an MS.edu from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Program. She works as a nutritionist, a certified lactation consultant, a home organizer, and in her free time writes as much as possible. She is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at amazon.com. Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at pninabaim@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “How To Throw A Party”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
FIFA president Sepp (Joseph) Blatter and PM Benjamin Netanayhu
Netanyahu Warns FIFA: Palestinian Threats Will Destroy International Sport
Latest Sections Stories

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

More Articles from Pnina Baim
Baim-051515-Garden

Gardening can be a healthy, wholesome activity for the whole family.

By signing the document, my husband and I are saying that our love and devotion to each other are so strong that we do not want the power to hurt each other.

First, sit down with your helpers and a pen and paper and break the jobs down into small parts.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/for-the-home/how-to-throw-a-party/2012/08/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: