What Does “Love Is Sweet But It’s Nicer To Have Bread With It" Mean?
Di libeh is zis, mit broit iz zi besser.
Our culture is up to its eyeballs in age-old debates, arguments over which we would not hesitate to go to the mattresses:
- The Beatles vs. The Stones
- Superman vs. The Hulk (shout out to Ben for this reference!)
- Deep dish vs. Thin crust
- Soup as a snack vs. Soup as a meal
But perhaps the most contentious quarrel has been over the question,”Who loves carbs more, Italians or Jews?” Now obviously I’m biased, so I’m not going to enter the fray… but I have prepared a brief list for your consideration.
Top 7 Reasons Why There Is No Contest: Jews Love Their Carbs More Than Anyone
- We’ll go a lifetime without bacon but can’t be without bread for more than a week in the spring. And even then we have to fill the void by shmearing butter onto glorified cardboard.
- Speaking of which, one of our most revered feats was surviving 40 years in the desert without the yeasty fix. So revered in fact that we made the commemoration of our endurance into a big-time holiday. (But not so revered that we’d be willing to go without for longer than a week. Come to think of it, for all we know Moses and the Israelites were only in the desert for a fortnight but it felt like 40 years in the absence of bread. That’s love.)
- Challah bread is the honored guest at Shabbat dinner (one of the most important observances for Jews), and the climactic blessing is said over the infant-sized, luscious loaf. She’s made with a hen house worth of eggs, dressed up in braids for the occasion, and tastefully covered with a linen napkin prior to the big reveal, so as not to entice eager onlookers.
- The majority of Italian entrees may involve pasta, but we make noodles into a dessert.
- Rye bread is the ultimate unifier and transcends all cultures and religions. Precarious meetings of heads of state should be held at Katz Deli.
- The Torah (the book that Jews interpret and reinterpret and debate on end, the study of which being one of the most sacred and important undertakings) states clearly: “If there is no flour, there is no Torah. If there is no Torah, there is no flour.” (Pirkei Avot 3:17) Metaphor, shmetaphor; this is one part of the Torah most Jews choose to take literally.
Well, I think that settles it. For Jews, everything is better with bread, even love … so much so that even the most accomplished Balaboosta will tolerate a few crumbs between the sheets.
Rachel is home from college and she and her mother, Diane, are catching up while setting the table for shabbat dinner. …
Diane: “Rachel, darling, you’re glowing! I haven’t seen you this happy since before you broke up with that klafte of a girl, Alison!”
Rachel: “Ma! You really have to let that go!” [breaking into a smile] “Besides, I met someone!!!!”
Diane: “Oh Rachel! Mazel, my love! I knew it! What did I tell you? Do I know my daughter or what? What am I saying?? Nu, zog shoyn! What is she like?? What do her parents do?? Oh G-d, she’s not another shiksa is she?? As long as I live, I’ll never understand why—”
Rachel: “Ma! Relax! You didn’t blink an eye when I told you I’m a lesbian but you make a federal case if I date someone who isn’t Jewish?! Too much, Ma! Well, you’ll be happy to know her name’s Shoshana and, yes, she’s a nice Jewish girl.”
Diane: “Oh Rachel!!!Oh Rachel, I’m kvelling!! Quick, hand me a napkin. I’m getting all verklempt!!”
Rachel: “Your mascara’s fine, Ma. Anyway, I am so happy. She’s beautiful and has such an amazing heart and she’s so good to me and, oh, I really think I’m falling for her! But Ma, there is something I have to tell you about Shoshana.”
Diane: “I should sit down. I’m sitting down. Oy vey, OK, I’m ready.”
Rachel: “Ma, stop, please, stop fanning yourself, you’re being so dramatic. It’s no big deal. It’s just that Shoshana follows a strict Paleo diet.”
Diane: “A diet?! Who doesn’t! Does it work? What—”
Rachel: “It’s not a weight-loss diet; it’s more like a health philosophy. And, well, I’ve been reading some of the books she has around and it really makes sense to me.”
Diane: “Oh. Dear. G-d. Rachel, look at me. Are there meetings? Does she wear sneakers?? She hasn’t asked you to drink anything, has she?!?”
Rachel: “MA! This is not a cult! It’s a new thing. It’s like being vegetarian or vegan. Celebrities follow it.”
Diane: “Celebrities? Really?”
Rachel: “Yes, mother. Big ones too, like Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Biel.”
Diane: “Ooh! She’s married to my Justin Timberlake! Maybe I could do Paleo!”
Rachel: “The thing is, Ma ... it’s based on evolutionary medicine and the fact that people are fundamentally unchanged since before the dawn of agriculture, and the belief is that the healthiest way to eat is to eat only what the cavemen did.”
Diane: “That’s it? You nearly gave me a heart attack because this amazing, beautiful, loving woman you think you might be falling for eats like Fred Flintstone?? Vos makht iz mir oys?”
Rachel: “Think about it, Ma: hunting and gathering. Not sowing and plowing; no grains.”
Diane: “Grains?! Like carbs!?! I’m sitting down again.”
Rachel: “Ma, you said it yourself, who cares about some diet? I could love this woman!”
Diane: “Love is sweet but it’s nicer to have bread with it. Besides, what are you going to say the blessing over, a head of lettuce?”
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