Friday, April 3, 2009

You're sending ME Shopping?!!!

I may have mentioned once or twice that I believe that God has a sense of humor. It's been directed towards me a good few times. Today was one of those times.

Just this week I had a post up on my feelings about using European ethnic tags to identify various groups of Jews here in the US. Ironic that I had the following conversation today just this week. My daughter, overhearing the conversation and having read my post, was in stitches.

A friend sent me an email that the son of another friend was engaged. This group of friends has on many occasions joined together to buy one engagement or wedding gift. The email asked if I'd like to participate in the engagement gift. I called the friend and asked how much we were all chipping in and said, sure I'd join. I also asked if she would like me to send her a check now or could it wait until after Pesach. She then informed me that everyone else was going to be sending their checks to me. Now I don't mind having to buy the gift, but I had just done so for the last occasion we grouped together for and couldn't understand why it was my "turn" again.

My friend began her answer this way: Listen, friend Q is going to have enough trouble with making the wedding with this new mechutanista. Let's make sure that the gift we buy is not going to be a problem for her. The girl's mother is very, verrrrrrrry Hungarian.

Sigh. For this group I'm the token Hungarian, despite any protests I might make. And yes, unfortunately, I have a very good inkling of what my friend means, as it impinges on buying a gift, by the girl's mother is Hungarian. I so wish I didn't. Now it well could be that this mother will turn out to be just plain-Jane American. But that Hungarian "code word" has come attached to her, and the others in our group have turned to me to make sure that no social faux pas is committed. I believe the idea is "It takes one to know one."

Might as well put it in now, as some commenter is sure to ask: an appropriate engagement or wedding gift for that "Hungarian" among you is Czechoslovakian heavy, hand-cut crystal (24% lead crystal is a good sign) in one of four forms: a tall wine decanter with stopper, a footed fruit bowl, a basket with a high arched handle, a large vase. If the price of those items makes you gulp you can get away with a smaller, liquor-sized decanter. Silver, carved and with plenty of detail work, is also appropriate, but only if you've robbed a bank lately. For china you can't go wrong with anything Rosenthal in a footed cake platter or vase. Strange, but my acquaintances who all identify with other ethnicities all seem to have items like these. I wonder if they are hiding a Hungarian somewhere in their past?


Dave said...

Just as a note, while serving in lead crystal is safe, liquids and foods should not be stored in lead crystal for any significant length of time, because the lead will leach into the liquid.

Anonymous-safer that way said...

Out of curiosity, do you serve your wine for Pesach seder in a crystal bottle or in the bottles it comes in?

Rissa said...

As one undeclared Hunky to another, I can commiserate. I'm not Hungarian enough for some of my family and I'm too Hungarian for some of those who aren't. I'm supposed to be the expert in this area based on I don't know what. I was born in LA! Is someone really saying that only Hungarians buy crystal or silver or china?!! The industry would go broke if that was true.

And don't tell me you haven't heard the mirror comments or been asked how many mirrors you have in your house. So only Hungarians are supporting the mirror industry? Same goes for chandeliers.

ProfK said...

I've done it both ways. The decanter is just plain a pain in the neck to clean after the seder so it depends on how much strength I'm going to have to wrestle with cleaning it out after the seder is over.