Even after spending an hour or an hour and a half cleaning up after our Seder meal last evening, our kitchen was still a mess. There is only so much our dishwasher can hold, so the sink was full of dishes and the china, which I had washed by hand, was still not put away.
The women in the house did most of the cooking, so that left it up to Uncle Slappy and myself to do most of the cleaning and putting away. I guess that's fair, though truth be told if it were up to me and Slaps, we wouldn't have had anyone over, maybe we'd have had a pizza and watched the BBC's "The World at War" for the 39th time. But I digress.
In any event, this morning, Slappy and I tackled the remainder of the dishes. After emptying the dishwasher and putting away the china, we tackled what was left in the sink, finally draining it of the soapy water that had filled it since last evening.
As the water slurped down the drain, Slappy pulled out a full, sodden bay leaf. The leaf had somehow survived an hour at 350-degrees and Aunt Louise looking for just another little schtickle of white meat. It had survived over night in the water and palmolive dishwashing liquid mix and it looked none the worse for wear.
Slappy held the bay leaf like Hemingway posing with a giant marlin. "You want I should save this," he asked the assembled. "It looks good as new."
Next he brought the leaf to his ample and educated schnozz. He inhaled deeply. "Fresh, it still smells. There's no reason we couldn't blot it dry and use it again." Slappy was now off and running like a Kenyan miler. "When I was a boy," he lied, "my mother would use a bay leaf for ten or twenty chickens."
The assembled, me, my wife and Aunt Sylvie knew better than to intervene.
"That's the trouble with you kids today. That's the trouble with America. It's a disposable society. The bones of the chicken we don't even use again for soup. And who ever heard of a one-and-done bay leaf" he asked wagging the foliage in my face.
Uncle Slappy had gotten his way.
"Why don't you sit down, Uncle Slappy," I told him. "I'll finish up in here."
He shuffled out of the kitchen. The bay leaf safe inside the pocket of his cardigan.