The GUILTY PLEASURES Collection
Originally Published July 12, 2001
My Guilty Pleasures
Frymer admits he loves potato pancakes like mama used to make
Hey, if you're Jewish,
all pleasures are guilty
By MURRY FRYMER
I've been asked by my editors to list my guilty pleasures.
Easy. I'm Jewish. All my pleasures produce guilt.
My mother told me never to whistle in the house because the gods would get me for that. And never be too happy because to feel happy was to prompt sadness. It was better to be sad and then maybe I would be owed some happiness to balance things out.
So, I suppose, all pleasure comes fraught with danger.
But, in mulling this topic, I must say that I retain a few pleasures that I might be more ashamed of than others. I could list watching that "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" game show and pretending that I am superior in intelligence to the goofs that constantly take home the prizes. But who isn't more intelligent? (I must admit I have flubbed the $500 question on occasions, a question that was designed to be answered by a platypus.)
And speaking of Regis Philbin (was I?), I must say that I find Kathy Lee Gifford cute. I also find Frank Gifford cute in a dirty-old-man sort of way. I like Clint Eastwood movies, as corny as they may be, and I laugh at Henny Youngman jokes no matter how many times I have heard them and everyone has heard them at least a thousand times. I still watch "Beverly Hills 90210," or whatever that zip is, and I watch Mexican soap operas because of the incredibly beautiful and zaftig actresses. No, I do not speak Spanish, which, I suppose, helps.
But for the guiltiest pleasure, there is ONE. Potato Pancakes!!!
Listen, friends, I have high cholesterol and other stomach maladies which indicate that the one cardinal rule in my life should be: "Thou shalt not eat potato pancakes."
Means nothing. I cannot see a crispy, oily potato pancake without leaping at it and devouring it. Barb, who happens to make great potato pancakes, probably would like to see that kind of desire in other areas of our home life.
Barb is a health nut and she knows just how bad potato pancakes are for me. But when I have been very, very good, or she is feeling guilty for treating me badly, she may go to the stove and make potato pancakes. When she does, and she knows she shouldn't, it is important that she make LOTS of potato pancakes. The first dozen is a mere taste test. I warm up with the second dozen. From then on it is pure madness. I go wild, helpless to control my lust.
Of course, some time later, exhausted and bursting with fat, I begin to repent. I pray to God and promise never to do it again. I weep before my wife, though first I thank her for her warmth, kindness and beauty.
I should point out here, in case the older generation is listening (Barb is of the younger and younger and younger generation) that my mother also made great potato pancakes. She would load them on my dish and just as I was about to crunch into the first one, she would utter her famous: "Eat the meat first" order. It was a terrible tease.
Potato pancakes must be made by hand -- by hands that love you. It is best they be ground up by one of those hand grinders. At least that is the way Mom did it. Never, never order potato pancakes in a restaurant. They come to you huge and heavy and ugly.
No, potato pancakes must be made at home by somebody who knows how! And they must be eaten hot, as fast as you can get to them. A little apple sauce helps (not sour cream). It helps you eat more.
I can tell you more about potato pancakes but merely writing this much has made me terribly hungry. I will whisper sweet nothings in Barb's ear. I will promise that trip to Italy (where this topic would not be translatable.)
Anyway, potato pancakes are the greatest pleasure I know and, yes, they will probably be the death of me, so how guilty can I get?
©2000 by Murry Frymer. Frymer caricature ©2000 by Jim Hummel. The illustration is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA.
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