Life & Culture

I’ve had my fill of the boasting hostesses

Hamantaschen in 15 flavours? Joy Sable doesn't want to know


We are all aware by now, of the pros and cons of Facebook.

One of its plus points is the number of groups you can join dedicated to a particular subject. In these online forums you can share thoughts and suggestions with other like-minded people from around the world.

For Jewish users, Facebook is a wonderful outlet for sharing different traditions on upcoming festivals, answering kashrut queries, and debating the merits of anything from sheitls to schnitzels.

There is, however, a nasty, albeit very subtle, undercurrent in some of these postings. In particular, there is one Facebook group which shares recipe suggestions and menu ideas.

Wonderful, you might think — and yes, I’m all for women spreading their kugel-cooking knowledge or advising on how to plait the perfect challah. (Before I am deluged with complaints about writing “women” and not “people”, I have yet to see a post from a man requesting a new recipe for cheesecake or asking how he can stop his brisket from drying out.)

What I object to are the posts telling one and all about the numerous items on their Friday-night or Shabbat lunch menus. Not only are we treated to lengthy descriptions of what will be on offer, but the posts usually end with the words, “… and I’m expecting 20 people to turn up”.

What is the point of this unnecessary boasting and what exactly are they trying to prove? Do they want an eshet chayil of the year award? Balaboosta of the decade?

Recipe sharing is great, but having to hear about what a perfect hostess Mrs X thinks herself to be is not what I want to read. I call it Shabbat shaming.

There are plenty of women out there, such as newlyweds and busy working mums who just do not have the time, knowledge or energy to create regular banquets, and reading these posts can serve to make them feel inadequate or guilty.

Then there are those who simply cannot afford to lay on a huge weekly spread and for whom entertaining is a rare luxury.

And let’s not forget the women for whom Shabbat and Yomtov are particularly difficult times, when there is an empty chair at the table as they remember loved ones no longer present to celebrate kiddush or make hamotzi.

The type of boasting about what busy hostesses some women are reaches its zenith at Pesach.

The “I’m entertaining 26 people at Seder and I’ve been up since three in the morning frying fishballs” conversation is one we’ve probably all heard before. And with Purim soon upon us, the last thing I want to read is how many hundreds of home-made hamantaschen women are making, or why their poppy-seed and chocolate mixtures are good enough to win The Great British Bake Off.

So, ladies, let’s spread a little kindness and understanding and cut back on showing off. I need my challahs to rise, not my blood pressure.


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