who's in the kitchen

Memorable Curaçao visit, and a dash to a plane


My last article ended with my husband Jerry and I in Miami before boarding our cruise to the Western Caribbean. The weather was beautiful and onboard we relaxed, read and ate for the first few days. 

In Curaçao, we disembarked with our dear friends Janet and Lior Hod, to tour the Jewish sights on a private tour run by a local Jewish woman who was proud of her heritage and her island.

We started the tour at the Jewish cemetery, then visited the Jewish museum and a kosher liquor factory. Lastly we visited the famous, oldest synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere (Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue, consecrated in 1732), an elegant sanctuary whose floor was simple sand (because G-d promised Abraham that his children would be like the sand of the seashore … and likely in recollection that congregants had to muffle the sounds of their footsteps and prayers when meeting in secret during the Inquisition, before fleeing to Curaçao). 

When the guide was finished, she asked if there were any questions. Jerry’s arm shot up and he asked about the decorum in the sanctuary during davening. She seemed puzzled that he would ask such an obtuse question, after all the details she had given about the synagogue built almost 300 years ago, but she responded that yes, there is a little talking, but not much. Needless to say Jerry isn’t moving to Curaçao.

The rest of the cruise was wonderful, relaxing and fattening, and the shows were great. Best of all is that we shared it with the Hods!

Our flight home was 10:38 Sunday morning. Our ship was supposed to be cleared for disembarkation by 7. I was a bit nervous, as we were getting into the Port of Miami and were flying out of Fort Lauderdale. Lior assured me it was a piece of cake. He had done it before. 

We were packed the night before and were up early. While Jerry davened in our cabin, I ran up to the cafe and had a cup of coffee and a small box of cereal. I brought a coffee back for Jerry. We took our baggage and made our way to the area designated for those who wanted to be first off the ship and carrying their own luggage. We arrived at 6:40 and patiently waiting till 7. No movement, no announcements. 7:15, still waiting. 7:30 came and went, and went, as did 7:45. Making that 10:38 flight wasn’t looking good. We still had to get off, go through customs and get an Uber. There were also 100 people already ahead of us. 

Finally we started to move at 8 am. We basically ran to customs and out of the terminal.

As soon as we got out, I reached for my phone as we ran to the Uber pick up area. Then I realized I had no phone service. Jerry’s phone wasn’t working either. There was no way to order an Uber. I began to panic. The taxi line was long and would cost a lot more, but we had no choice. We ran with our luggage and got on line. After 15 minutes it was our turn for a taxi. I looked down and then shouted to Jerry, “Where is your carry-on?” He turned white and ran to the Uber area about 5 minutes away. Meanwhile I was secretly thankful that it was his carry-on and not mine!

Once in the taxi I turned to Jerry and said, “I probably wouldn’t have had a cup of coffee this morning if I knew we wouldn’t have time to use the bathroom after we went through customs.” He responded, “I had 7 yogurts and a container of chocolate besides the coffee before you came down.” “Why, why in the world would you do that” I shouted. “Because it was in our fridge and I didn’t want to leave it here. I hate to waste food.” Silly me, for a minute there I forgot he was a Holocaust survivor’s child; of course he wouldn’t leave the food in the fridge. I was glad he didn’t finish the half bottle of salad dressing we had left!

We made it to the airport, just in time and took turns using the rest rooms, then printed out our boarding passes. We ran to get online to check our bags and as we did, again, I noticed that he didn’t have his carry-on. He ran back to get his and I ran to get online. When he returned I handed him the tags to put on the suitcases while dealt with the passports and the agent. To say Jerry was attaching the tags upside down would be giving him too much credit. I grabbed the tags and attached them to our luggage, as I heard the agent say to Jerry, “Wow, she’s quick to call you out.” Jerry wisely replied, “I’ve definitely earned it today.”

We got to the gate and I was charging the phone while Jerry watched the carry-ons. Pretty brave of me to put him in charge of the luggage, but I was drained at this point. They asked if anyone wanted to check their carry-on free of charge, and we decided to check them. Jerry boarded before me, and I waited a bit longer to charge our phones (my internet worked, it was my SIM card that had issues, it tuned out).

When I was about to board, I asked the agent if a man had checked two carry-ons at the gate. He said “yes” right away, along with “I remember, because he had just one carry-on, and then remembered he forgot the other at the seat he was sitting in, and ran back to get it. He said his wife is going to kill him.” Sigh three times, hope it’s not a chazakah now.

Once on the flight, Jerry asked me for the bag of fiber cereal he snacks on. “After 7 yogurts? Are you crazy?” I asked. But he insisted, so I handed it to him. We stated to taxi on time, but had to head back to the gates because the lavatories were out of order. Once at the gate it took the crew 45 minutes to repair them, and the 20 minutes to start taxing again. Once in the air, it was announced that we had to reach a certain a certain altitude before the bathrooms would be in service. I turned to Jerry and with an evil smile, I asked how he was enjoying his fiber cereal. 

In honor of the wonderful Jewish guide we had in Curaçao, here is an island favorite kosher recipe.

Karni Stoba (stewed beef)


2 pounds stewing beef

1 tablespoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons pareve margarine

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon Tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 tablespoon Soy sauce


Cut beef in 2 inch cubes. Place in large bowl, season with salt, pepper, chopped garlic, ¼ cup water and marinade for 3-hours. In large pot, add sugar, allow becoming dark brown. Add oil, let heat well till very hot.

Drain beef from marinade and put into hot oil. Stir from time to time. Adding a little of the marinade, till all is used. Add cumin, Tomato paste, chopped onion, chopped green pepper and soy sauce. Stir and add enough water to cover beef.

When water starts boiling, lower heat, cover pot, and simmer on low heat, till beef is tender. If necessary, add more water during cooking.