My most memorable Purim is a scary scene. Me with about 60 quarts of soup and 24 pounds of challah dough, crying like a baby at 2AM.
Let me explain.
When we moved to Monsey 5 years ago I really wanted to make a splash that first Purim. The community had been so warm and welcoming and I really wanted to show my appreciation, by making all 60 families (or most of them) mishloach manot. Since I didn't grow up in a family that made mishloach manot, or much of anything in the kitchen, when I first got married I frantically attempted to pull something together, at the last minute, only after my husband reminded me Purim was tomorrow. So I borrowed a page from my friend Anita's book and bought every purple food I could find left on the supermarket shelf, threw it all in a bag, and attached a card wishing everyone a "Grape Purim." Boy was I ever proud of myself. No really, I was proud.
A couple years later we move to Monsey and almost every neighbor stopped by with cupcakes or invited us over for a Shabbos meal. It was the warmest non-stop welcome wagon in the history of mankind. Now here is where you remark "but Jamie, you haven't spoken to all of mankind" and here is where I say "but it really felt like that, do you have to take me oh-so-literally?!"
So back to the warm and fuzzy welcome wagon. By the time Purim rolled around I felt like I had yet to repay all those lovely neighbors of mine. Brainstorm...show them all I care with a special homemade shalach munis aka mishloach manot. That year Purim fell out on Erev Shabbos so I went all certifiable with my theme and decided that each sweetheart of a neighbor deserved a fresh baked challah roll (kneaded that 24 pounds of dough BY HAND!) a quart of chicken soup (used ALL the pots in my kitchen) and then' cause I didn't want to make things too hard (really 'cause I ran out of steam) I threw in one of those cute small bottles of Kedem grape juice (I was hoping they would have a grape Purim, even if I now knew better not to write it on the card).
Well, I forgot I was supposed to hear Megillah reading, I forgot I had 3 small kids almost 3, almost 2 and 5 months, and I forgot that certain things should not be tried at home, under pressure, the night of Purim. Hubby calmly talked me off that ledge, I don't believe I slept, everyone got their challah and soup and stuff but I promised myself, actually Hubby made me promise the family...never ever again.
So now I started a new custom. Since I don't always get to deliver cookies or cupcakes as much as I plan to, or invite the new family over for a shabbos meal, as much as I want to, I use Purim as the opportunity to bring them something special. "Them" of course being that new family on the block or those neighbors I haven't had a chance to get to know as well. I go down that list and make only 20-30 mishloach manot that can be prepped in advance, stored in my cold garage and that don't require all 5 of my burners. Go pick up the latest JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller magazine for my Tri Colored Hummus and Spiced Pita Chips shalach manos. Look, if I run out of time and can't make the crisps I can always just give them the bag of pitas and I still think I'll make some new friends. To print your own Purim Cards click here.
What's your favorite or not so favorite Purim memory? This is an equal opportunity call for comments.