Friday, November 26, 2010

Erev Shabbos #25- Short Friday

People view me as a generally 'emotional' person- when I'm happy, I'm happy, sad, sad, excited, angry- you name it, I display it. It's something I think I have to work on in my life. After all, my face is public property.

But no more of that- frantic- is the emotion I generally feel on a Friday afternoon that leads to a Short Erev Shabbos. After all- I have to have everything ready by 4:00 in the afternoon- and no, I don't cook during the week. All is done on Friday, fresh and early. Even if I have guests, most of the time I don't prepare in advance.

I do however, during each recipe on a given Friday, try to make doubles or triples- to stash up in my freezer for times of need, a friend in need, or an emergency.

Yet early Shabbosim, and the Short Friday syndrome (everything is always ready, exactly when Shabbos starts, no matter what time it is) often prevent me from doing everything.

A rebbitzen in our community once discussed a lady who was very stressed out on Erev Shabbos. The lady complained that she had no time, and couldn't manage to get everything done, so she vented her frustration on her husband and family. (I'm sure we all can relate to that.) So my rebbitzen's answer- buy some ready made and use paper and plastic. Hence the reason that she is a practical rebbitzen, and I am not.

So I try. But- sometimes the Short Friday overtakes me, and I'm found rushing from one thing to the next, ordering my family around, and generally frantically frustrating the world.

Yet I continue to hope that every week I will find the right balance- between getting everything done, and getting frantic about it- between having it all and doing what I need to do.

It's a work in progress- just like my kugels. But it'll happen eventually- with Siyata Dishmaya- help from Heaven.


Devorah said...

Here's a suggestion: try to do as much as possible before Friday. I make sure all the cooking is done on Thursday night, sometimes I even start some of my cleaning on Wednesday night in anticipation of the nerves that can come along on the short Fridays.

This way, all that's left on Friday is the rest of the cleaning up, (oops, forgot one one more food item! either eggs, matzoh balls/noodles for soup...there's almost always something!) showering and bathing for Shabbos and putting on makeup :-D! It makes erev shabbos so much more enjoyable when you start preparing in advance!

happywife said...

I used to make Shabbos this way too, until I had our first baby. It forced me to finally get organized and learn to get it all done in time, without stress.

I made up a timeline and committed to stick to it for 6 Shabbosim. After that it became ingrained, and I got used to the satisfaction and relaxed joy of being ready early, and I'll never go back to my old ways!

Here is generally my timeline, maybe it can help you.

On Tuesday I make "the plan"... I just write down my menu for the coming Shabbos meals, and how many portions I'm planning to make (whether or not guests are confirmed yet, I usually figure out roughly how many guests I want). If I'm making challah I do it Tuesday night and put it in the freezer to stay fresh.

On Wednesday I grocery shop for everything I will need to cook, with the exception of salad stuff, fresh fruit and challah (if I'm buying). In the evening I cook one or two of my menu items. Usually its something that keeps/freezes well, e.g. potatoes and a baked dessert, or a soup and a meat dish.

On Thursday evening I cook everything else on the list, except for the salads. Mind you my menus are elegant but SIMPLE... I stick to ONE meat dish, 2 side dishes MAX, 1 salad, 1 dessert and some fruit. And either a fish or a soup to start, not both. My guests really appreciate that they leave feeling satisfied, not sick from overeating. :-)

If I'm making chollent I also try to put the ingredients together in the pot on Thursday night and stick it in the fridge.

I also set the table on Thursday night. This is a big one! Usually my husband will be happy to lend a hand with this because I'm not a nagging stress case. And yes we only have one table so I just move 2 of the place settings over and put down dairy placemats for breakfast on Friday. This one step really sets the tone of peacefulness and Shabbos kedusha for all of Friday. I never skip this now that I've gotten used to doing it.

On Friday I pick up the salad ingredients, fresh fruit and challah from the store. All I have to do now is assemble the salad, cut and plate the fruit, and put my food on the heat. A quick cleanup of the dishes and a quick mop of the floor and I'm DONE! No stress! And my kitchen is clean when Shabbos comes in, so once I light candles I have really NOTHING left to do and I can relax and read to my daughter and daven.

It's awesome. I recommend you try it a few times, it can change the whole Shabbos experience, for your entire household. :-)

p.s. "I like to have everything super-fresh and therefore I cook on Friday" used to be my favourite excuse for not being organized. But I had to ditch that because my Fridays were so stressful and unpleasant for everyone in my family. If I can change, really ANYONE can.

nmf #7 said...

Devorah- As I mentioned in my post- I don't seem to be able to make doing things before Friday work for me. I find that doubling/tripling on Friday itself is basically the same.

Although I do admit that it is much better for me and my sanity, as well as my family, if I do less on Friday and we have more time to relax.

HappyWife- Wow. Do you mind if I ask- do you work (besides as a mom and wife)?
If so, how many hours?

I find that with my full time work day, I don't really have so many hours outside of my days off.

Mind if I ask what time in the day you do all the errands and cooking- in the morning, or afternoon?

happywife said...

I don't work at the moment.

Some shopping is done in the afternoon, and I phone in my produce to be delivered.

Shabbos cooking gets done once the baby is down for the night (ie, some time after 7:30pm). I usually spend no more than 1 hour on it each night.

Again, I have learned to pare down my menus to only the most basic elements.


-fish OR soup
-one meat
-one side
-one salad
-one dessert


-one (big) salad
-one chollent
-one dessert (same as night before)

My chollent recipe is no-fuss: no chopping, no browning, no thawing. All in the pot at once and that's it! 10 minutes!

I try to pick recipes that are simple to make but seem gourmet and impressive.

For example, the meat will be roasted lamb shanks with garlic and rosemary (no more effort than roast chicken) and the side will be a white bean puree (no more effort than mashed potatoes). Add some coffee, cinnamon and chili to your basic brownines (from a mix!) and voila, you have Mayan chocolate brownies! You get where I'm going with this?

This way there is still the kavod Shabbos and noone can accuse me of slacking off, when the truth is I take it pretty easy. ;-)

happywife said...

p.s. Another thing is that when I cook the freezable items (soups, meats, baked goods) I double or triple the recipe and freeze the extra.

So, almost every week, part of my Shabbos meal will come from the freezer and that's one less thing for me to cook. :-)

Why don't you try my way for a week or 2 just to see how it goes? If you give it a chance you may be thrilled with it, and if not, you can just go back to the old way. :-)

Let me know how it goes!