Thursday, April 21, 2005

happy birthday nina!

I'm sitting here at Camic Central, where it is Nina's birthday. I'm looking at a bunch of wonderful food that Nina is preparing for a dinner party that I, uber-flake that I am, will probably be flaking out on. Nina is showing me a birthday e-mail that she received from one of her daughters today, which was surreptitiously sent during some class and included a photo she took with her cel phone during the class. Kids these days with their crazy technologies and new dances.

If there is any doubt that Nina is more deserving than anyone of being on the canonization fast-track, consider this: she just made me some eggs. Granted, she's saintly, but saintly with an edge to her: while I was eating the eggs, she insisted on waving this herring in my face and saying "Look, look at its beady little eyes! Look!" You try eating eggs while someone is squeezing a dead fish's belly to make its eyes bulge out at you.

Laying on the counter are some lecture notes from one of Nina's classes. They look immaculately prepared, to be sure, but I keep focusing on the first line, which is: "Let me tell you about Poland." I've been long surprised that Nina hasn't used these six words as her a signature file.

Last night I was talking to Nina on the phone and, now that I don't have Internet access at home, she started reading comments from yesterday's "Comment" post to me. I must say: Nina does a pretty awesome 80-year-old Jewish man accent. Thing is, when she got to the punch line:
"Oh, it's some kind of religious reference."
"What does it say?"
"B-4, I-19, N-38..."
"Nina, that's not religious, that's Bingo!"
"Oh, they don't have bingo in Poland."

Nina just pulled out the chocolate cake that she's made for this evening. It is one of the most scrumptuous looking desserts I have ever seen in my life. Since the meal this evening apparently has some kind of Polish theme, I'm trying to convince her that she can tell her guests that there is a Polish custom that you always take a piece out of the cake before serving it. "Tell them it's supposed to appease the Spirts of Death and keep everyone healthy. Or something. They'll believe whatever as long as you say it with an authentic Old World air."


Anonymous said...

about the cake thing? it would not be a lie. in some countries, if you serve a cake untouched and untried it would be highly suspicious - like you're maybe trying to poison the people or something. maybe you were being set up. maybe the cake is poisoned. are you there? breathing?

jlp said...

Great report, Jeremy! Grand moments. Did you try the herring later in the evening?

Anonymous said...

What!? No Polish sausage??

nina said...

I have a strong aversion to eating or serving meat that has animal parts with latin names as the main ingredients. Grilled kielbasa, with mustard and a mug of Polish pilsner -- maybe. But the ratio of pilsner to sausage has to be high.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, we never did hear your age, Nina?

nina said...

Oh, I'm not shy about it. 52. Put simply -- it is truly a fantastic age. You can do everything you did twenty, thirty years earlier only you're better at it. You should all look forward to it.