who's in the kitchen

Jerry’s week in Israel, with graddaughter Lia Rose


I am getting my article in later than usual this week (and it’s usually pretty late!). You see, my husband Jerry was visiting Israel, to see his marred son, married daughter and six grandchildren. I didn’t want to complete my article until he was buckled into his seat and ready for takeoff on his way back to New York. You never know what you might miss, especially with Jerry in an airport, alone.

Leading up to Jerry’s departure last Tuesday, boxes were arriving daily. Each grandchild gets to pick out a bunch of gifts. The adults add on clothes for the kids and some things for themselves as well. One such thing was a pound cylinder container of activated carbon charcoal powder. What, you’ve never heard of it? Well, neither did I, until it arrived on my doorstep.

At that point there were literally dozens of items I had to cram into the suitcase Jerry was taking. 

I told his daughter that the container was big and bulky. She said not to worry, just transfer it into a Ziplock plastic bag. Simple, you may think. Well let me tell you otherwise. I removed the lid and a huge black puff of smoke enveloped my hair and face. At first I panicked because it was also in my mouth and nostrils. Thankfully it seems that, among dozens of uses, it can be made into a paste to whiten your teeth, massaged onto your face as a beauty regiment and it can be ingested as well. Long story short: By the time I transferred the charcoal powder to the bag, my counters, cabinet doors and floor were black. Oh, and so was I.

Somehow I crammed everything into the suitcase and it was just about the allowed 50 pounds; Jerry crammed his stuff into a carry-on.

I drove him to the airport and awaited his call, that he was he checked in with no issues.

He called, and of course there was a story. I aways remind him that security agents don’t care what he answers, they just want to check out his body language, to see if he’s nervous etc.

Here is what transpired this time.

“Mr. Joszef, what will you be doing in Israel?” Asked the agent. Jerry responded, “I’m visiting my children and grandchildren.” “What are their names?” he was asked. Jerry replied, “My daughter has Yisroel, Shaya and Alexader. My son has Nadav, um, sigh, oh I can’t believe I forgot her name. That’s crazy. The youngest is Noa, but I can’t remember my granddaughter’s name. I feel awful,” Jerry said. “Don’t worry, just take your suitcase and check it in.” “No,” Jerry cried, “I have to remember her name, it’s just not right.” The agent, anxious to get to the next person on line, waved Jerry off and told him it was fine.

While checking in his suitcase, he lamented, “I feel so awful, how could I have forgotten my only granddaughter’s name?” The agent checking in his bag, assured him that it was fine and that he shouldn’t worry. Just then, he remembered her name. “It’s Lia Rose,” he shouted, grinning ear to ear. So very “Jerry like,” he ran back to the first agent, who was busy with another passenger, and gleefully shouted “Lia Rose, my granddaughter’s name is Lia Rose, I remembered!”

As he relayed this story to me, before he took off, I tried to explain to him that they didn’t know how many grandchildren he had, nor did they care. “Why didn’t you just make up a name?” He said he would never lie like that. Sigh … and he hadn’t even boarded the plane yet.

Once he got to his daughter, the fun began. The grandkids adore Papa Jerry, and he spends every waking minute playing with them. Aside from the gifts the kids picked out, he surprised them with talking Star Wars masks. Or he thought he surprised them. The kids have carte blanche to his Amazon account, so they knew exactly what was coming! 

The masks were a hit and the three older boys, along with Jerry, called themselves the The 4 Musketeers. Jerry taught them how to walk like Frankenstein, mumble loudly and scare each other. They all got really good at it — too much so, actually.

Jerry’s daughter told him there would be a fashion shoot in her apartment on Sunday morning. Not really knowing what she meant by a fashion shoot, he forgot about it. He woke up, and still with ear plugs in his ears, and his eye mask on, though on top of his head, he entered the living room in a t-shirt and shorts to scare the kids. He was mumbling loudly and staggering around Frankensteinesque. Much to his surprise, he was the one who was scared. There were women posing for a fashion shoot, and music blaring. His daughter screamed, “Dad, didn’t you hear the music and remember we were having a fashion shoot?” He responded, “I didn’t even know what you meant by a fashion shoot, and I didn’t hear the music because I forgot to take out my ear plugs.” There’s one instance, where you hope, first impressions don’t count.

The rest of his visit was non-stop fun with his kids and grandkids.I spoke to him before he boarded his flight back to New York. He assured me there were no Jerry moments. This time, when asked to name his grandkids he started to rattle them off. After two, the agent said that was fine. Jerry said, “No, this time I’m prepared,” and he proudly recited all six names. When asked if he had any weapons, he replied, “Only my mind.”

Safe travels, Jerry, and pleasant dreams of The 4 Musketeers.

Taking about Musketeers.… Check out this week’s recipe — Three Musketeer Mississippi Mud — online at TheJewishStar.com

Three Musketeer Mississippi Mud Cake

Credit: Call Me PMc Recipes


1 cup butter, at room temperature

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups granulated sugar

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 (10.5 ounce bag) miniature marshmallows

6 regular size 3 Musketeer candy bars, chopped in large chunks

Chocolate Frosting


1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

4 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F

Line a 15x10x1-inch sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray.

Microwave 1 cup butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir to combine and allow to cool.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Combine eggs and vanilla with cooled chocolate. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until combined and smooth. Pour onto prepared sheet pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and spread marshmallows evenly over brownie layer. Return to oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes to toast marshmallows. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with 3 Musketeer candy bars.

Make Chocolate Frosting: Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until butter is melted and mixture thickens slightly. Add confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, whisking to combine. Add vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour over slightly cooled cake.