who's in the kitchen

It’s not too precious for Jerry, if Amazon’s got it


My husband Jerry is into ordering things online. Most things, he doesn’t know he needs, until he actually sees them. Over the last few years, he started collecting miniature figurines. First there were the philosophers, then characters from Shakespeare, movies, books, fairy tales, etc. Although he’s a tax attorney and partner in the firm, you wouldn’t know it by walking into his office (that is, if you can actually walk into his office). No. It’s not small, it’s actually very spacious, but every inch is basically covered. 

Among the scenes created by figurines is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Jerry is anti- totalitarian, so he loved that book. Another scene is an ant hill, with inch long plastic ants circling the hill, which reflects the industrial revolution of the service industry.  

There are figurines of the Wizard of Oz, a favorite childhood movie of his. He fancies himself as the scarecrow, which I found odd, because he is one of the most intelligent people I know. He is scatterbrained, though, so maybe he identifies with the scarecrow losing his stuffing all the time.

Pinocchio has a place in the office as well. Jerry views himself as the little boy who didn’t want to grow up. It’s his inner child. What I found out recently was that he views his partner Rick and me as Jiminy Cricket — Rick in the office and me everywhere else — attempting to develop Jerry’s adult conscience (thus far with dismal results). Now I’m wondering if I might be the Witch in the Wizard of Oz. I’m not happy every time one of Jerry’s new mail orders arrive.

Aside from the character scenes in his office, there have been countless deliveries over the years of items I found ridiculous. Dozens of harmonicas, to give out to kids who are visiting their parents in the office. Let me tell you, kids beg to get into Jerry’s office. A few have actually asked for play dates with him. There were shipments of wooden duck call whistles. Seriously! I didn’t ask what that was for — I wanted to reduce the risk of my killing him.

There were the large T-Rex replicas that are activated by noise or motion and snap their mouths open and shut, ridiculous colored shirts that were too good of a deal to pass on (they were a great deal, because no one wanted them!). There were screeching flying monkeys, clowns, and more than I care to remember. 

But last week, there was the delivery that takes the cake. 

I was with my daughter, Jordana, and I asked her to look something up on my Amazon account, so she logged in for me and said, “There must be a mistake, looks like someone ordered tumbleweed. Not just one but two orders.” First thing that came to mind was that someone had hacked our account, but then I remembered that Jerry received a letter from Amazon asking if he had applied for another card and when he said no, they told him it might be fraudulent. That would explain this order of tumbleweed. And then I got this sickening feeling, that maybe it was Jerry. (Can you imagine that I was hoping someone had hacked into out account, just so that I would not have to have a husband who ordered tumbleweed!)

Later that night, when he came home, I relayed the story and held my breath, hoping against hope that he didn’t order it. But alas, that wasn’t to be. My husband placed two orders for tumbleweed. Why? Why not! It was an amazing deal. It was the extra large one that normally sells for six times the price. This was a steal. And I didn’t have to worry. It was for his office.

I’ll spare you the rest of that conversation. 

Then, two days later, he gets a notice that the seller actually had a problem with the tumbleweed and had to cancel the order. It was as if the Giants had lost JPP for the season.

So be on the lookout for good quality tumbleweed, it’ll make a good cushion for him to sleep on in the garage … if those orders don’t cease!

Bet you would never have thought, that I would have a recipe for anything tumbleweed. Well just so happens I have a great one!

This one’s for you Jerry Joszef!

Jr’s Texas Tumbleweed 

Courtesy of Paula Dean, 2008


1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup beer

Peanut oil for frying

I large Vidallia onion

Ice water

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix the seasoning. This can be kept in an airtight container for months

When adding seasoning, add to taste. Do not use all of it!


In a bowl mix flour, baking soda, beer and some House Seasoning. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oil in deep fryer to 350F

Slice 3/4-inch to 1-inch off the top of the onion. Peel off the skin. Cut a base out of the bottom, but leave the root intact. Slice the onion in half then into quarters, then into eighths.

Continue until you have cut the onion 16 times. Slicing the onion in this way creates “petals”. Do not cut all the way down to the bottom. This will keep the “flower” together.

Spread the “petals” of the onion apart. Soak the onion in ice water to help separate the Petals.

Dip the onion in the beer batter. Separate the petals and get the batter between them.

Fry the onion right side up in the oil for 10 minutes, or until lit turns golden brown. Remove the onion with a large spider ( Asian name for a wire mesh basket with a long handle) from the fryer and let drain on a sheet tray lined with paper towels.

Judy Joszef is a columnist for The Jewish Star.