Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baba Luba's stamp of approval.

We went to visit Baba Luba this weekend.

Before we came, R asked her if she'd like us to bring some honey cake. "Just a piece," she said. But I can't make "just a piece" of honey cake, so I made two small loaves instead.

Now here's a funny story about Baba Luba. When R first told her that he was dating me, she certainly had her doubts. To be honest, she was flat out displeased. That's not the funny part, but I don't blame her. Here's the thing about Luba: She's a melodramatic woman by nature. She's very deadpan and she tries to hide her smiles with scowls. She's over 90 years old, but she's still sharp as a Mach 4 razor. Nothing gets by her. She's very difficult to understand sometimes because she speaks about 4 languages fluently and has a mish-mashed accent. Anyway, I understand the desire to preserve the culture, to see your grandchildren marry your friends' grandchildren. I'm just glad that she's since changed her tune.

The first time that I met Luba, I felt that I needed to bring some sort of gift to her. So I made mandelbrot (like Jewish biscotti) from her own recipe. When I offered it to her she seemed sincerely impressed, and took a bite. As she was chewing, R made a joke to her and as she breathed in to laugh, she started to choke. As she choked, she pointed and me and whispered loudly to R in her thick Polish accent, "The shiksa! She tried to kill me!"

Things have changed quite a bit since then, and I've won her over. She asks R about me pretty often now, and she gives me a kiss on the cheek and a hug when she sees me. She loves it when I ask her for help with recipes. Still, I was worried when I brought the honey cake to her because Luba isn't afraid to be honest and I wasn't sure if she would approve of my small variations. But, as the photographic evidence shows, she was quite pleased.

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