We were at the Megabool supermarket on Friday and wanted to get some meat to grill on skewers for our weekend barbecue ritual. There was some beef cut in chunks and we asked if it would make good shishlik (kebab here always means ground meat), and were told no.  The butcher then showed us a piece of meat wrapped in plastic that would be “the very best” on the barbecue, and took Sarah behind the counter to show her the poster showing the different parts of the cow and that this part (cut #15, if you’re wondering) was recommended for barbecuing. We asked for half a kilo, but he said that since it was shrink-wrapped, we’d have to take the whole thing.  Okay, we’ll freeze half, we decide.

The whole conversation unfolded with him speaking very simple Hebrew and us speaking even simpler Hebrew: a combination of illiteracy and shyness had backed us into a corner.

When he cut open the shrink wrap, we realized we were buying filet.  While he cut it into steaks, he made small talk and asked where we were from, and welcomed us to Israel. When he finished wrapping it up, he came out from behind the counter and shook our hands. Our first thought was what a nice butcher to welcome us with a handshake. How sweet!

When we got to the checkout we realized why he had been so friendly: we had just spent $75 on meat, and were probably his best customers of the day. Well, as long as we have such nice food, we should have someone over.  We called Sarah’s friend and collaborator Osnat and had her family over.  It was without doubt the best meat we have ever cooked and it’s nice to have people to share it with when we’re so far from home. Suddenly, overspending turns into a very nice evening.

Noah played with Osnat’s kids and is fluent. FLUENT!  It’s really amazing when your child learns things you could never have taught him yourself.

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