I had a hot flash at work the other day. I wasn’t doing anything stressful or out of the ordinary either, just typing an email when I felt my toes tingle with warmth. Then the heat pulsated through my body with every heartbeat, a fervent drumbeat that grew as it rose up my legs and billowed in my gut. Next it burst into my chest, fanned out to my shoulders, and climbed my neck before enveloping my head and face. Even my eyes felt warm from the optic nerve to my lashes and for about 30 seconds I was burning up, scanning my arms for any skin discoloration, of which there was none, and then the flash ended—abruptly. All at once like brain freeze that builds and builds and just when I thought it was gonna cause permanent damage POOF it retreated, leaving no trace but the memory of its temporary existence and the fear that I may have entered menopause.
My therapist sister-in-law said that hot flashes can sometimes be the sign of a mental breakdown or panic attack. I guess she had hot flashes once in a Walgreens and she was crying in the middle of the of the hand sanitizer aisle thinking fuck I can’t deal with this right now.
I may have panicked too, but before I could realize what was happening it was over. And all i had to show for it was a sweaty back and a damp seat. I stood up and walked to the bathroom thinking the circulation of blood would do me some good.
It had been six days since Jonathan and I returned from our two-week trip to Israel. We had the most amazing time with the rest of the Honeymoon Israel San Francisco group (woot woot San Frantastic 4 Feb ‘17) and I was probably still on some sort of emotional I-feel-closer-to-Judaism high. But the plunge back into our daily grind was more intense than I’d prepared for. And in addition to the challenge of jet lag, I was back to work in a job that I was beginning to transition out of.
I guess I was excited at the prospect of new opportunities, and yet overwhelmed and terrified of the unknown.
Jonathan’s sister had a beautiful baby boy towards the end of our trip so he immediately flew to DC for the bris. I was recovering from a cold and my body had been jolted around like an arcade ping-pong ball on some 92-hour over the counter med-bender. We had two wedding parties to plan—in San Diego and DC—and the wrecking ball was in motion on a total renovation we’d been planning for our condo. Suffice it to say, I—like my sister-in-law at Wallgreens—couldn’t deal with the pressure of everything coming at me all at once; and sometimes our bodies just need to let us know.
Kubeh Soup near Jerusalem’s Machne Yehuda Market
The irony is that the last time I felt my entire body get warm like this, was just a week prior when I was still in Israel. We’d spent the day at Yad Vashem with our group, and had the evening to ourselves. A bunch of us walked through the food stalls of the famous Machne Yehuda Market, and bought some goodies at Marzipan Bakery.
Our new friends Elad and Elya, a young Israeli couple from Tel Aviv, said we should try the kubeh soup if we can. “It’s a traditional Arabic soup,” he said, “sort of like a matzo ball soup only there’s meat inside the balls!”
I made some comment about how I love meaty balls and everyone forced a chuckle at my immature joke and then we moved on to our search.
Kubeh soup is indeed like matzo ball soup in the sense that it’s served with a giant dumpling, but that’s about all it has in common with my favorite course of the Passover seder. Kubeh soup is bright in both color and flavor. It’s often a shocking canary yellow thanks to the turmeric they use in the soup’s base, and it’s got a subtle tartness from all the lemon they squeeze in there too. The balls are dense (cue giggle), there’s ground meat inside them, and the vegetables cooked in the broth are usually zucchini and carrots, but sometimes you’ll find beets, spinach and tomatoes in there as well.
Our guide told us that Morduch is a great restaurant on Agripas Street (corner of HaArmonim Street) and so we went.
In addition to the kubeh soup we had a series of pickled vegetables and dips with pita. This in itself was a full meal and so delicious. The hummus, babganoush, tomato and eggplants, etc. Pickled radish and beets were all fantastic.
Since the pita bread is as good as it is in Israel, we ordered a side of hummus with ground beef.
We ordered what they called cigars, which are what you’d expect as far as shape. Kind of like eggrolls only smaller in diameter. These fried cigar-shaped pastry was filled with ground beef and served with a dollop of hummus drizzled in olive oil.
We got some lamb kebabs as well, which was ground lamb on skewers. The meat was tender and charred around the edges.
Since everyone was throwing out ideas, I went for a side dish of their meatballs. Served in a slightly sweet tomato based sauce, these reminded me of Swedish meatballs only with a kick.
But it was the yellow Hamusta kubeh soup that stole the show. The warm lemony soup filled our bodies with joy as we slurped it down between bites of the dense Arabic dumpling filled with ground beef. The soup base is mild and tart with zucchini, onion, celery and did I mention lemon?
The heartiness of the soup, coupled with the beers we were throwing back and I was getting meat sweats sort of like the hot flashes I had in the office the other day.
I’m happy to report the hot flashes have stopped—except for when I enjoy a bowl of kubeh soup!