Baby It’s Cold Outside

When I was a kid growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts (when winters were really cold and the snowdrifts were over my head), we had a summer cottage on a very small lake about 15 minutes from home. In the winter, we’d bundle up, get our skates and drive out to the lake and go ice skating.

After the cold got to be too much, we’d sit on shore, rosy cheeked, and sip hot cocoa from an old fashioned thermos.

Funny how it’s the little things that make the most indelible memories.

So with the temperatures hovering in the high 20s and with Shabbat kiddush outside, I decided to try the grown-up version of hot cocoa- sipping soup. There’s nothing like hot soup to take the chill off on a cold winter day. And that’s what we did at our second kiddush of 2022 as we welcomed our second candidate and her family to Shomrei.

As you all know, we would not in “normal” times be having kiddush in 20 degree weather. But we are determined not only to feed our congregants but also to keep them safe.

Shomrei members and guests have rallied and gathered around the kiddush table.

But the problem remains of how to provide something hot in addition to beverages and keep that food hot. I turned to the one place that seems to have all the answers – even if sometimes those answers are not correct: the Internet and the search engine Google. The beauty and curse of Google – and as a librarian I am often skeptical of the one size fits all search for answers – is that much of the information is based on someone’s experience.

Through the magic of the Internet – and indeed it sometimes seems like magic – a world of experience with a problem is laid out before the questioner.

Question: how to you keep hot soup hot outside? Answer: use a cooler and working with the science that helps a cooler keep cold things cold or hot things hot, there was the answer. So take one ordinary cooler, line it with foil, prewarm with pitchers of hot water and let it sit. Add a layer of towels to displace the cold air if there’s room to further insulate the container.

After heating the soup, we placed the cups of sippable butternut squash and tomato roasted red pepper soup in the cooler  to keep warm (this must be an oxymoron). The soup was a hit; not one cup was left.

Look for more creative solutions to outdoor kiddushes . If you have an idea to enhance our outdoor experience, email me with suggestions. (email hidden; JavaScript is required)

Thank you to kiddush helpers Karen Altman, Miriam Haimes, Beryl Hiller, Carol Katzman, Nick Levitin, and to Toby Stein for preparation of the cookies and fruit and clean up.

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