phynedyning

Something “WONDERFUL” is about to happen

In General Information on May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

One more thing to take care of before lighting these candles!

Something WONDERFUL has come to Phyne Dyning.

PD readers would not believe the kinds of email guesses the Phyne Dyner received about the pending, “WONDERFUL”.  Some were amusing, some sounded hopeful, and just a few (thankfully) were mean-spirited.

None were correct.

So, what is “WONDERFUL” at Phyne Dyning?

The Phyne Dyner is about half way through preparing a printed collection of Shabbat recipes that can be cooked in one pot.

The working title is, “Arukhat Shabbat in One Pot:  A year’s worth of economical, delicious, and easily prepared Shabbat dinners for the home chef.

“Arukhat Shabbat” is Hebrew for “Shabbat (Sabbath) Meal”.  In Jewish homes, the Friday evening meal is festive and often highlights the food week.  The simple evening meal of the workweek gives way to the best foods the family can afford.  The table is set with linen, the “good” dishes are brought out, and the preparations very much resemble those for when an honored guest visits for supper.

The honored guest is (you guessed it)…Shabbat!  Beginning at sundown on Friday night, the world changes.  The troubles of the week a put away with our working tools and we lighten our hearts in an environment where there is peace, freedom from want, kinship with all, and only the bright future of the now exists.  The chequebook is put away, the bills go in a drawer (out of sight), and we do not fret about the petty grievances, politics, or the daily news.

What’s that I hear?  “Oh joy, he’s written a cookbook just like the other million or so foodies.  Let loose the pigeons!”

Right.  The cookbook is not the “WONDERFUL” about which I have been teasing readers for nearly a month.

Sure, the cookbook will have around fifty one-pot meals that are sufficiently elegant for the Shabbat table, are fairly easy to prepare, use ingredients available almost anywhere, and will not break the family food budget.

No, these are not “casseroles” or fifty variations of cholent.  The meals range from robust to light and healthy.

That is still not “WONDERFUL”.

The spiral-bound format is “nice”, because it lies flat on a nearby work surface without using a milk jug and a bag of flour to hold it down.  That is “nice”, not “WONDERFUL”.

Sure, there are meat, fish, and vegetarian offerings.  There will be color photography; some of the prepared dishes and others from the Phyne Dyner’s time in Israel.

And no, you do not have to be Jewish to enjoy these meals.  They lend themselves to any meal of celebration.  They fit anyone’s table.  I could have just as easily worked with the concept as “Phyne Dyning’s One-Pot Meals”.

So, what is “WONDERFUL” about this?

Tzedakah!

Before we welcome the Shabbat, it is customary to give to charity.  Most Jewish homes have a special box where a folded bill or a few coins are dropped before we release ourselves from the bondage of the prior week.  The box is emptied periodically and the money is given to charitable causes or directly to the needy.  Whenever possible, the identity of the recipient is kept unknown, to protect their dignity and our own identity as the giver is obscured so our giving does not become a matter of personal pride or vanity.

What is the connection?

The book will be gently priced so that each book sale will generate eighteen dollars to go to charity.  The Phyne Dyner is only passing on the bare production costs to purchasers.  Because those costs may vary between production runs, the total price of the cookbook may vary.  What is certain, is that eighteen dollars for every book sold will go to charity.

What charity?

The Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund at Des Moines’ Temple B’nai Jeshurun.

Monies from this fund help alleviate sufferings of Jews and non-Jews at home and far away.  It may help pay for a neighbor’s medicines or groceries, make a car payment so the owner keeps his/her car (and his/her job!), buy a coat for a cold child, buy a fan for an overheated elder, or cross oceans to help after a natural disaster.  The money has been used to pay a medical bill that hung over a family like a cloud.  Many times recipients of the funds have no idea who came to their aid.  Sometimes, the fund never knows the names of the recipients.

Recently, like many families, the fund itself has fallen on more difficult financial times.  The need for emergency funds for people in need has seldom been greater.  Recently, the rabbi made a passionate plea for donations.

If the sale is one book, or one thousand books, it will have helped to alleviate someone’s suffering somewhere.

The cookbook is currently in production.  No orders are being accepted at this time.  Phyne Dyning will not contact subscribers to solicit sales of the book.  There will be no fanfare pointing to Phyne Dyning as the source of the donated funds.  There will not be one of those little “thermometers” informing readers how much further we need to go to get “X” dollars.  There is no deadline to meet because, just like the tzedakah box, the resulting funds are quietly and regularly given to the fund.

This is not about raising a set amount of money for a charity.  Just selling one book will make a difference, somewhere.

When the book is offered (the release date looks to be May or June) there will be ample notifications here at the Phyne Dyning blog, or on our Facebook page.

Why this?

The world does not seem to be as cold or angry when you experience it with a full stomach.  Food is the prototypical way peace is made between people.  I have seen people nearly bent on violence become calm and reasonable once they have been given food.

I believe every personal undertaking should have some component that is a vehicle to make the world a better place.  That responsibility extends to my meager efforts with Phyne Dyning.  Every week something “WONDERFUL” happens…Shabbat.

I am glad you are here to share in my efforts and to make our world a better place…so something “WONDERFUL” can make its way to someone who can use just a little bit of caring and financial help.

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  1. I’m republishing the original announcement so I can give readers and update on this project.

    The layout is 100% complete, photography is 80% complete, and my collection and working up of recipes is 60% complete. I’m a little behind schedule, but I anticipate that the project will be completed (pre final edits) by mid-June. Final editing will take a couple of more weeks beyond that.

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