Remembering Ben

Last Thursday night and Friday was Ben’s first Yahrzeit; the anniversary of his death on the Hebrew calendar. The kids and I got together with his sisters and their spouses on Friday morning to visit his grave and remember him. We haven’t gotten the official gravestone yet, and I don’t know if we’ll have another ceremony with more of the extended family when that’s ready.

Afterwards, we went out to lunch. Finding a place I can eat is always a challenge, since so much American food contains wheat, corn, and potatoes. Since the only kosher restaurants near me are a pizza place and a bagel shop, that pretty much means I never eat out. But the cemetery is in Queens with a much broader range of kosher restaurants. We found this Uzbekistani place that was EXCELLENT!

I’d never eaten Uzbekistani cuisine before, and I was pleasantly surprised with the available options. There wasn’t any corn in the entire restaurant, nor was there any hidden wheat or potatoes. The only wheat was incredibly obvious and easy to avoid, in the form of vegetables or meat surrounded by huge pieces of dough. I’m not sure if they were baked or fried, but I’m told they were delicious. Many of the dishes contained potatoes, but that was all clearly listed on the menu.

I got the one soup that was potato-free: chickpeas in a bone broth, with onions and big chunks of lamb. We all shared a large Israeli salad, though I declined the french fries and various dough-coated appetizers the rest of the table shared. The main course was various rice dishes with vegetables and big chunks of beef or lamb, plus I ordered a lamb kebab for myself.

I only eat out once or twice a year, so I don’t worry about minor avoids such as spices or chickpeas. I think I ate some tomatoes and cucumbers too. I don’t normally eat lamb very often because of its expense, so it felt very nourishing to eat so much of it at a meal. The hot soup was especially comforting after being outside at the cemetery for so long, and I think that was more important than avoiding a few “avoid” legumes. It wasn’t even a full portion of beans.

All in all, it was an emotionally exhausting day, but full of love.

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