Monday, April 30, 2012

On the Practical

Many years ago I posted about the fact that our high school students ought to be getting some practical education in addition to the academics they are taught.  Unfortunately, nothing much has changed.

Back when I was a young girl one called a repair person to the house only when things were uniquely broken or had a truly major problem.  The regular repairs and maintenance were handled by the "man" of the house and yes, sometimes by the "woman" as well.  You didn't call a plumber to change the washer in a faucet or to install a new handle on a toilet.  You didn't call an electrician to install a regular lighting fixture in the house, and certainly not to remove the cover of covered fixtures and change a lightbulb.  "Small" painting jobs in the house, such as a closet or a kitchen ceiling, were handled by a home's residents.  You needed your carpets cleaned?  You cleaned them yourself--and don't ask what this required back before many of today's labor saving devices.  If you blew a fuse, you went to the fusebox and replaced the fuse. 

Today, there are far fewer husbands and wives with the knowledge, training or desire to take care of these small jobs.  Everything, but everything requires a specialist.  You need to replace the Shabbos clock in the dining room?  Call the electrician and he'll take care of everything, including handing you a whopper of a bill when he is done. The faucets on your kitchen sink need replacing?  Why bother going to Home Depot or the like and then have to put in the work to take out the old faucet and put in the new--after all, that's what plumbers are for.

And when that specialist can't make it for a few days?  Well, so what.  Better to do without then to do it yourself.

I was so lucky that my husband fell into the category of do-it-yourself-er.  Home repair is not his field of business, but that doesn't mean that he does not take pride in being able to take care of what must be taken care of in HIS home.

Just out of curiousity I asked my students how many of them knew where the breaker box was or where the water main was in their homes.  The percentage was so small as to be insignificant.  Then again, this is the same age group which doesn't know how to change a tire or put oil in their cars.  A lot of them don't know how to check the level of oil in their cars, or even what to do if their battery overheats.  As they said to me, "that's what the car help groups are for." 

Some of these small things can represent a lot of money laid out, and it shouldn't be.  Two of my dining room chairs had a loose arm on them.  My husband got the correct glue, clamped the arms, and the next day the chairs were as good as new.  He then lightly reglazed the arms where the clamps had rested. A neighbor had a similar problem.  She, however, called the local handyman to come and fix the chairs.  She had three loose arms.  The handyman came one day and glued and clamped the chairs.  He came the next day and removed the clamps and "tested" the arms.  He did not refinish the arms.  His charge for this work?  $285. 

A local hardware store rents a floor stripping machine, including the liquid stripper, for $50 a day.  The same machine also has an attachment that will apply floor sealer, at a cost of about $20 a gallon. Even with having to move things around to get to the floor, a four room apartment can be done in a few days maximum.  A young couple I know hired someone to strip the floors of the apartment they would be moving into.  It was completely empty when they had the work done.  And the cost for this smallish 4 room apartment was $700 for the labor and an additional cost of $160 for the supplies.

Lots of reasons to know how to do things yourself, and money is surely one of them.  Pride of accomplishment is another.  Yes, one way in which those "good old days" was clearly better, or at least the inhabitants of those good old days were.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Breakfast or Dinner?

Next Sunday our local Bikur Cholim will be holding its annual Breakfast.  It should be noted that it doesn't also hold a dinner--this is the "meal" for the year.  Frankly, I'm thrilled that Bikur Cholim chooses to do it this way.  I can find many good reasons for holding a breakfast instead of a dinner, and they follow, in no particular order.

1.   It is easier and simpler for most people to attend a breakfast given on a Sunday than to attend a dinner, usually given on a weekday night, although in the winter occasionally given  also on a Sunday evening.  During the week most people work, and rushing home from work, getting ready and then traveling to a dinner adds unnecessary pressure to the work week.  Because dinner organizers take into consideration that people are working, dinners start fairly late in the evening, thus ending quite late.  Again, having a dinner last until midnight or after is hard on working people.  Many people may leave the dinner early so they can be home at a reasonable time, thus missing some of the planned and paid for speeches and entertainment, and yes, part of the meal as well.

2.   Dinners are usually fleishigs and breakfasts are usually milchigs.  The cost to the organization is much higher for a fleishigs meal than for a milchigs meal; thus, the price charged for dinners is usually a great deal more than for breakfasts, without an organization's really making more money for itself. 

3.   Evening dinners usually have some kind of smorgasbord or passed appetizers first, followed by a served, full-course dinner.  Breakfasts are usually strictly smorgasbord-style, and everyone serves themselves.  Again, a savings in personnel needed to be hired and for amount and type of food presented.  Dinners usually have some kind of alcohol presented, whether an open bar or wines on the tables.  Breakfasts don't have alcohol--again a savings in meal costs.

4.   Because it's a breakfast, and the costs are less, organizations usually charge less for their breakfasts than they would for a dinner.  Chances are that more people will then be able to come to a breakfast, bringing in more money to an organization.

5.   All those "tchatchkes" that seem to be required for a dinner aren't there for a breakfast--items like centerpieces, and bands and specially printed bentchers etc.. Again, a savings in basic costs for the organization.

6.   Because breakfasts are more informal, people who may not be able to stay for the entire breakfast because of other committments will nevertheless come for even a short period of time, and they are paying the full "entry" fee.  Most people will not do this for a dinner.  Again, more money coming in for the organization.

7.   By the time a dinner gets to its speakers and main program, lots of people are ready to leave for home because it's late or have already left.  Most people on a Sunday morning stay for whatever program there is because the meal hasn't been shlepped out and they aren't falling asleep in their soup bowls.

8.   Both dinners and breakfasts have other fundraising items attached to these meals in addition to the basic charge for the meal.  There may be raffles or items for sale (and most of these are donated to the organization, so it doesn't need to cover the cost for these items by raising the price of the meal).  There may be additional fundraising tickets on the tables for people to fill out.  There may be an outright asking by the organization for people to please give more than just the charge for the meal.  When a dinner is already costing you $300-600 per couple, the impetus to buy more and/or give more may not be there.  If a breakfast is "only" costing you $100 per couple or even less, there will be more "extra" giving or "extra" purchasing, and for the most part this is pure profit to the organization.

9.  Breakfasts are more informal than dinners are.  There is no reason to be dressed to the nines or to worry about having the right clothes to wear--it's pretty much come as you are on a Sunday morning.  Breakfasts usually don't have formal seating--take your friends and sit where you'd like (and pretty much like everyone at your table).  People seem to be more relaxed at a breakfast, and relaxed people think better of the organization than people who can't wait to get away from the table and go home.

10.   Organizations that hold meals during the year also have other straight fundraising appeals as well.  For many people the amount given for this extra fundraising is very small.  The rationale is that they paid $300-600 already to the organization and that's all that they budget for giving to this particular place.  People who are paying "only" $100 or thereabouts for a breakfast are more likely to give more to an organization during the other parts of the year.  And that "straight" giving is mostly pure profit to the organization, unlike the meals.

So there you have it--some reasons as to why I prefer breakfasts to dinners, and why breakfasts are more cost effective for organizations than dinners are.

Friday, April 20, 2012

If You Live Long Enough

Yes, observance practices are not identical to what they may have been many decades ago as more and more 'strictness' is added in (I'm being nice today and not calling some of those practices by names they deserve more than 'strictness').  But some things that I occasionally overhear leave me truly scratching my head.  What caught my attention this time was an overheard conversation between two youngish women about freezers.

What can you possibly say about freezers that has anything to do with religious observance, you are asking yourself.  Allow me to tell you. There was an after Pesach sale on some items in the store I was in that represented an incredible buy.  Two women were picking out items and speaking to each other.  One said to the other,"Aren't you going to buy some of these for the freezer?"  The other one shook her head ruefully and answered: "I can't. My milchigs freezer is full."  The first woman looked puzzled (as did I) and asked: "You have a separate freezer just for milchigs?"  The second woman got a serious look on her face. "Of course I do.  You can't put milchigs and fleishigs into the same freezer. If one should leak on the other you would be far-treifing all the food in the freezer. Don't tell me, you don't freeze them separately?"  The first woman answered,"Of course I use the same freezer for both."  The second woman shook her head. "You really need to think about that. I know you want to have the highest level of kashrus that you can."

The women moved on and I was left with a whole bunch of questions I would have liked to ask Ms. Separate Freezers.  Does she also have a separate freezer for Pareve items?  And even more importantly, does she have separate milchig and fleishig refrigerators?  After all, if frozen milchig and fleishig items could leak on each other, rendering them as treif, how much more so the problem is in a refrigerator.

I understand perfectly the rationale for preferring separate sinks for milchigs and fleishigs, but freezers?  And if this is the new standard that someone is going to be pushing, can completely separate kitchens for milchigs, fleishigs and pareve be far behind?  When I mentioned this to a friend she said--tongue in cheek--that she can see someone pushing this also.  After all, kosher caterers must have completely separate kitchens for preparing milchigs and fleishigs, not just sections of one kitchen that are so designated.  If the caterers have to meet the proper standards for kashrus, why should it be any different for the rest of us?

Just how far are things going to go before someone says enough is enough?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yom Hashoah

I have written over the years of this blog about Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It still puzzles me that there are still quasi-halachic arguments against having this particular day of remembrance.  Yes, this day is for we Jews to take a moment to contemplate the horrors that were the Holocaust.  And perhaps even more importantly, it is a day for the world to remember that for all the touted sophistication and education that the world claims to possess today, it is still only a short while ago that the lurking barbarity and viciousness of the Nazis and their supporters unleashed the Holocaust.  Mankind may be capable of doing much good but is also capable of the basest evil, and the only way to guard against that evil's rising up again is to remember that it happened and to pledge again that it shall not occur now or in the future.

Strange how even as an adult I can feel the loss of things I never got to experience.  I still miss never having had the soft hand of a grandmother to comfort me and encourage me to go on.  I miss never having heard my grandfathers as they chanted certain niggunim, even though my parents passed on those niggunim to me.  I love my mother dearly, as I did my father a"h, but the child within me still cries for the grandparents and aunts and uncles whose absence was sorely felt, taken from me by the evildoers of the Holocaust.

So yes, today is a day to remember the Holocaust, to let the pain out, to say to the world "This happened, it happened to me and to mine, and yes, you and yours were responsible."  Chas v'shalom that we should ever come to the point where people forget that there was a Holocaust, for in that type of forgetfulness lie the seeds of future evil doing.  Let us remember that "those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" c"v. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vinegar, Honey and Frustration

There's that old saying that people are quite fond of--"You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."  Sure, there is some truth to the saying.  Being nice when speaking to someone , using "honey," mostly gets you better results than being "vinegary."  But that's only mostly, and not always.  You see, there's another saying that also is relevant--"The squeaky wheel gets the grease."  Sometimes you just have to make yourself heard, and loudly, or you are not going to get any results.

There seems to be one area where the second saying has more application, and this is when trying to reach a doctor or medical professional.  Oh, the people who answer the phones in the office or at the service are "sweet" enough, telling you that they will give the message to the doctor or other practitioner.  What they fail, on a regular basis, to tell you is that message may be delivered in this century, or maybe not.  And the doctor may answer you in this century, or maybe not.

All I needed was a really simple "yes" or "no" answer to a question.  Yes, I made that clear on the message machine and with the person who eventually answered the phone.  No, sigh, I didn't get that simple answer in a timely fashion.  And yes, I was as sweet as sugar as I called, and called, and called.  When push and shove finally were about to collide I called back and in a honey-laden voice informed the receptionist that if I didn't get the answer I needed immediately, the $279 expense I was going to be incurring because of lack of that answer would be sent to them for payment, since it was their fault that the expense occurred.  And should they cavil at paying that expense, I would be more than happy to speak with my attorney, presenting her with the black and white record of how I tried to get an answer and the doctor refused to give me one.

Time from that call to when the doctor called back and gave me the answer?  About 45 seconds.  Honey?  Sometimes squeaking is what is needed.  Also please keep in mind that honey may work with flies, but, as I discovered when speaking to someone yesterday, termites and cockroaches have an affinity for vinegar.  You have to know what type of "insect" you are dealing with, and act accordingly.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

No Complaints

Yes, Pesach is a hard yom tov to prepare for.  I don't care how little or how much you do by way of cleaning, but this is a yom tov that tends to bring company with it, and company means cooking, and cooking means shopping and preparing and cleaning up.  For most people their kitchens are not as convenient to work in as those kitchens are the rest of the year, with items being stored wherever a place can be found, and that's not always in the kitchen itself.  And then, as was the case this year, when yom tov and Shabbos are interwoven, there isn't the "leisure" to cook on yom tov itself--everything needs to be completely prepared before yom tov starts.

I miss Pesach.  I'm sitting at my desk with plenty of cook aheads in the fridge so there's no preparing a meal for tonight.  And it is quiet in the house...a bit too quiet.  There are going to be no leisurely communal meals and sitting at the table to catch up on what has been going on in everyone's lives. There are going to be no helping hands running up and down the stairs so I don't have to.  There are going to be no gabfests while lounging around on the couch.  There won't be the multiple voices in the chorus of "gutten yom tov's" that accompany the comings and goings to shul.  The dining room table looks strangely bare, decked only in a tablecloth without dishes set for a meal.  Where books should be stacked on the coffee table there is only plain wood. 

Yes, I worked hard and long to bring in Pesach, but I have no complaints. The yom tov was truly joyously celebrated, and memories were added that will last a lifetime.  And yes, being gathered together and being able to talk to each other face to face was worth all the effort.  I heard someone say today "Thank God that Pesach is finally over."  I'm going to amend that statement to one that pleases me more--"Thank God for Pesach."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eruv Tavshilin

Just a reminder that if you are planning on cooking on yom tov for Shabbos, you need to make an eruv tavshilin before yom tov starts.

The Life Cycle of Pots

I am, for a change, cooking for yom tov again, and it's either due to the smell of onions or some other environmental factor, but I spent a moment pondering just how many times in one week certain pots and mixing bowls are going to have been used for Pesach.  And that led me to wonder just how many uses any individual pot or bowl can have before they begin to wear down and wear out.

I have one pot, purchased by my aunt in 1946, that has been used for every Pesach since then.  I'm finally having to give in and admit that while the outside still is perfectly fine, the inside has worn away in too many places to be a really good cooking pot any more. Why is it still in my house and being used?  Pure sentimentality.  When that pot comes out of storage it shouts "Pesach is here!" 

Am I getting rid of it this year?  Nope.  I finally figured out how to justify finding storage space for it.  It will work fine for boiling eggs in their shells, and heaven only knows enough of those are cooked for Pesach to justify keeping it.

Besides, you should have seen the smile on my mom's face when the pot appeared.  And yes, that pot triggered some great conversations between us about how things were when my family first arrived in the US, and about how different things are now then they were then.

Go figure--a pot as a sentimental journey starter.

Have a gutten yom tov all.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Europe? Who Cares

A couple of postings on Orthonomics, dealing with someone's strange idea of how women should prepare themselves to become better shidduch "material," brought out a comment that the writer must be Hungarian, because this is a very Hungarian suggestion that was made. Yes, I admit I saw red. When, when, when are we once and for all going to rid ourselves of our horrible habit of using European ethnicity as a character indicator?! Surely at this point in time in the US, those ethnic labels should be seen as non-relevant--so why are they still used?
If a woman is well-dressed or even flashily dressed, then she must be Hungarian. If she cares about fashionable clothing then she must be Hungarian. If that woman flaunts herself in public, she must be Hungarian. If she is not dressed sedately or in a "truly" tsniusdik fashion, she must be Hungarian. If she has bone china in her home or sterling silver, she must be Hungarian. If she has real lead crystal in her home, she must be Hungarian. If there are any mirrors on the wall of her home, she must be Hungarian. If there is a "fancy" crystal chandelier in her home, she must be Hungarian. Excuse me, but have we all lost our collective minds? Given that Jews lived in every country of Europe pre-WWII, and pretty much do so now, are we seriously putting forth as fact that "only" Hungarians valued and value "the finer things in life"? That only Hungarians are style conscious? That only Hungarians owned and own the aforementioned items?

I'm not planning on writing a whole encyclopedia here, but a bit of basic history about that pre-war Europe clearly needs to be stated. The eastern and the western parts of European Jewry didn't much like each other, for a variety of reasons. The easterners thought the west was traveling too far from what Yiddishkeit should be. The easterners thought the westerners were far too interested in the culture of the countries they resided in. The westerners thought the easterners were uncultured, backwards and uneducated.

Now let's place Hungary and also Romania into the midst of this east-west "war." Most people today would place Romania for sure and also Hungary into the eastern European division of the continent. But that would not be totally accurate, particularly as regards pre-WWII Jewish antagonism. First, today Hungary is considered the mid point between Western and Eastern Europe. Historically, Hungary spent centuries entangled with the Austrian Empire; indeed, a lot of history of the region is about the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This would put Hungary in the western camp as regards culture and habits. Romania, or at least certain of its provinces, as well spent a lot of time annexed to Hungary and to Austria, and those provinces fell into the western camp as far as culture and habits. Indeed, for many people in these provinces there is a real confusion as to whether or not they are Hungarian or Romanian. Those who resided in these areas during the 1900s might as well be called Romangarians or Hungromanians.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the other countries of Western Europe were fashion conscious, enjoyed the use of color, appreciated fine furnishings and household accoutrements. They appreciated the fine arts and literature and "cultural" offerings in general. Far before eastern Europe would do so, mandatory public education was instituted. The inventions and discoveries coming out of western Europe would wend their way eastward and hit Hungary and parts of Romania before they ever got near to the rest of eastern Europe. In short, Hungary had more western habits than it had eastern habits. So what? Amazingly, we don't go around calling anyone who is fashionable in Klal French or English or Italian or Swiss. Why not? Because the closest physical country to many of those eastern European countries was Hungary/Romania. Those countries' inhabitants may not have known many or any French people, but they likely did know some Hungarians. And so the libel was born.

If someone is sincerely interested in their past history and wants to do an ancestral chart, then fine, knowing the countries that those ancestors came from is relevant. . . but it's not relevant for anything else, and it's more than past time that we stopped pretending that it is.

And no, it is not only the Jews of Hungarian/Romanian descent that come in for some of this ethnic character blasting.  In many cases calling someone a "real Yeki" is not meant as a compliment.  In Yiddish there is a phrase used to indicate something of an iffy nature kashruth-wise--"Poilishe Pareve"--and no, it too is not meant as a compliment.  I asked my mom, whose Yiddish was born and bred in Europe, if there are such phrases for other countries in Europe, and indeed there are.

I checked the calendar and it is 2012.  And yet, the old European "trash talk" is still alive and well.  Time, more than time, to ditch it.  Amazing how contrite we are on Yom Kippur, how sincerely we confess to our sins "ve'dibbur peh," and yet how quickly we revert back to badmouthing members of Klal based on ethnic connections.

We just read in the Haggadah about Klal's being freed from slavery.  It is time for that Klal to free itself from its enslavement to ethnic slurs as well.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chag Kasher V'Sameach

For obvious reasons I won't be posting tomorrow, so I'd like now to wish you and your families a chag kasher v'sameach.  May the days of Pesach find you making wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.  Yes, this yom tov is a lot of work, but put that into perspective, and enjoy the fruit of your labors.  And may we be zocheh once again next year to be wishing each other a gutten Pesach

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Yet Another Shortage

Today it was reported that the two countries in Asia which are the world's suppliers of vanilla pods have had a severe reduction in the crop.  They cannot afford to absorb any losses, so prices for basic product are going to go up.  What this means is that products which contain vanilla are going to cost more, and vanilla will be scarcer in our stores and markets.  There is an estimate that vanilla ice cream, for instance, may see price hikes of 10 to 20 percent.  You can also expect to see those price hikes in commercial bakery goods and in the manufactured baked goods sold in stores--cookies, snack foods etc..  You will also see it in the vanilla available for sale for baking/cooking purposes.  Vanilla is also used as a flavor enhancer in many products where we may not be aware that there is any vanilla, products like ready-made drinks and sodas, cake mixes etc..

Oh joy, yet something else that is going to cost more.

About that Lulav

Some people hold on to their lulavim until erev Pesach and then burn them with the chometz, as it is more "correct" than throwing something a brochah was made on into the garbage.  If you are one of those people, it would be a good idea to put that lulav in an obvious place where you won't forget it about it, and maybe put a reminder on Friday's to-do list.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For 'Shroom Lovers

ProfK’s Mushroom Sautee in Wine Sauce

Note: Not everyone uses mushrooms on Pesach, or some only use canned mushrooms. If you do use mushrooms, this is a change of pace way to use them.

1 pound of fresh mushrooms (Note: portabella if you use them or can find them)
If only canned are available, then one pound equivalent, drained well.

1 large onion
2 Tablespoons oil or spray oil to cover bottom of frying pan
1-1/2 cups sweet red wine

1. Clean mushrooms thoroughly. Cut off bottom part of stems but leave stems attached. Slice about ¼” in thickness.

2. Dice onion in small pieces.

3. Add onion and oil to a frying pan. Sauté over medium low heat only until onions have begun softening.

4. Add in mushrooms, stir, and continue to sauté for 5 minutes more. Mushrooms will have begun to release liquid.

5. Add in wine and cook until mushrooms and onions are soft and liquid in pan has reduced by half.

6. Place in a container and put in refrigerator.

Note: This can be served hot or cold, as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Variation : Chop the onions and mushrooms the same size. Add both at the same time to the pan. Cook as above. Use this to fill blintzes leaves to make mushroom crepes, or add in chopped cooked chicken to equal the amount of mushroom/onion mixture and fill blintzes leaves for a main-dish chicken/mushroom crepe. (Note: a good way to use up the cooked chicken from chicken soup if your family doesn’t like to eat it plain.) Reserve a few spoons of the cooked mushroom mixture to pour over the tops of the crepes.

This mixture can also be used to add to omelets or make as a frittata by mixing the beaten eggs together with the mushroom mixture, placing in a baking pan, and baking at 350 in the oven just until egg mixture is set.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Not About Pesach

Not a Pesach posting, not a shidduch posting, not a money posting--consider it an English teacher posting.  Sometimes a play on words just gets your attention and you have to smile.

John,  in his fourth year as a UCLA Freshman, sat in his US

Government class. The professor asked John if he knew what
Roe vs. Wade was about.

John pondered the question; then, finally, said, "That was the decision
George Washington had to make before he crossed the Delaware."

The Weather Did It

I was in and out of supermarkets and fruit and vegetable stores all of last week and this week as well.  One thing I noticed right away was that none of the markets had any fresh horseradish roots on display.  This is kind of strange as they are always out by two weeks before Pesach.  I asked the produce managers when they would be getting the roots, and the answer was "IF we get them it won't be until a few days before the holiday."  IF?  Apparently the unprecedented warm winter temperatures we had this year have affected the horseradish crop.  Producers are first selling any product to the manufacturers of jarred horseradish.  After that, the consumer will--hopefully--get some. 

And then there is is--without long spells of cold, the bite of the horseradish root is reduced.  I've got male members of my family who look forward to the tear-producing aroma of freshly grated horseradish root.  It just might not be there this year.

My suggestion?  If you find that horseradish root now, grab it--you might not get a chance again.

In Der Heim

Thanks to JS for making a suggestion over at Orthonomics about my running some postings based on my mom's memories of In Der Heim.  As my comment over there stated, my mom listens to what people say was the case In Der Heim and shakes her head, saying "No, it was not like that at all."

Mom will be with me over Pesach and I'm going to make a point of asking for specific information on the topic.  In addition, I have hours and hours of tapes I made of she and I having just this kind of conversation.  Stay tuned for after Pesach.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Pre-Pesach Weirdness

Every erev Pesach there go around some truly strange reports of what various rabbanim and others have decided can and can't be used for Pesach or that require kashering.

I spoke with a friend this morning so we could say a gutten yom tov leisurely instead of in a rush next week.  She is having a mixed bag of company for the sedorim, including one of her aunts and uncles.  And thereby came the weird tale.

This aunt and uncle are not youngsters and for many years both have had partial and/or full dentures.  They never had any concerns about their dentures pre-Pesach before, but the Rav of the shul they are now davening in told them they are going to have to "kasher" their dentures for Pesach.  He added that having a separate set would really be better, but if they couldn't do that, they would need to super clean the dentures, pour boiling water over them (obviously hagolah wouldn't work) and then leave them unused for 24-hours before Pesach.

Frankly, I thought she was giving me Purim Torah just a little bit late or perhaps this was an April Fools Day joke.  Unfortunately, she was quite serious.  I asked her if this aunt and uncle were really going to do this, as it would mean basically not eating for 24-hours.  She said no, they went to a "higher" authority who said that brushing the teeth well was all that was needed.

I was pretty certain that I had learned that plastic couldn't be kashered for Pesach, so those teeth wouldn't be kasherable if you held that they had to be.  But please, false teeth need to be kashered?!  Let's get real here.  If we are now going to mix kashruth into teeth, there are way more problems than just Pesach.  Would this same rabbi also pasken that people need to have two sets of dentures, one for fleishigs and one for milchigs?  Because if he is worried about the kashruth of dentures for Pesach, shouldn't he first be worried about their being treif? (For that matter, our mouths in total are treif.)

And yes, in other years there have been stories about other dental appliances, such as braces and spacers, which some rabbanim have outright assered for Pesach and which some rabbanim require to be "kashered" for Pesach.

Going to put this one into my mental file, along with others like the rabbi who paskened that raw potatoes in their peels had to be either purchased from a shomer shabbos vendor or had to have a hechsher for Pesach.