Friday, May 31, 2013

Victory over Boker Zugi

We have won a major victory in the aliyah process.

Israel is famous for its breakfasts.  Ask any tourist and they will rave over the wide variety of salads, breads, and spreads that restaurants and hotels offer.

When we first started visiting Israel after our daughters came on aliyah, we were also enthralled with the Israeli breakfast menus at the local restaurants.  They have something called "boker zugi" which is a breakfast for two - eggs, bread, and a selection of salads and spreads.  Sounds yum.  IS yum. The first thirty times.

Then you begin to realize that you don't, um, actually like the salads and spreads.  That cat food tuna (NO, I shall NEVER get used to it or learn to like it), the white stuff that is not sour cream nor is it cream cheese, the other spreads that defy explanation.   

OK, that's Part I of the story.

Part II is that we came on aliyah and began a lovely tradition of Fridays at the Mall.  [Sidebar: We love Fridays because, unlike Sundays in America, which are days of doing nothing with no defined purpose or structure (which we still kinda miss theoretically), Fridays are days of doing things to get ready for Shabbat.  The whole day, and actually from Thursday on, you are thinking about Shabbat, knowing it's coming, feeling that sense of relaxation, albeit being busy with preparations.  We love it. Shabbat has never felt so....Shabbat-y, and yes that is a word I just made it up, so there.]

So...back to the story.  Every Friday morning we go to the mall for breakfast.  So, every Friday morning we were stuck with the boker zugi.  Not fun.  Got to hate it.  Never ate the spreads.  Laughed when they were put on the table - in fact, the spreads themselves started to sneer at us when they were brought, "Oh, fine, we know you have no interest in us, and we don't even care."

But, being olim (or maybe being us) we were passive about this.  I started ordering the yogurt/granola breakfast and my husband just got the boker "ishi" (personal breakfast) and didn't eat the salads.  Then.......

We got brave (well, he did).  This took almost 1.5 years of eating breakfasts we didn't like.  Do not mock us. OK, mock us.

So my brave, heroic husband asked the waiter, "Can't I just order and omelet and bread and coffee?"  The waiter seemed nonplussed.  "'s going to be more expensive!"  Most Israelis (ref my earlier blog about the Listerine purchase) cannot believe you would possibly spend more money than they think you should.  For example, if you order a big coffee instead of the tiny coffee that comes with the breakfast, they warn you, "That's going to cost you AN EXTRA 5 SHEKEL, MISTER!" after which you must sign a form in triplicate agreeing to the extra charge. And have it notarized.  By the Prime Minister.

But, in the end, victory was ours.  My husband received the breakfast he actually wanted. 

I think the waiter had to have extensive psychotherapy.  He had a weird eye twitch by the time we left.



  1. I don't mean to disrespect the people who work at these cafes, but they don't always...act smart? You should see what happens when 3 people who all want to pay their own part of the bill show up. Heads explode. (Sometimes we make it easy for them and all order the same thing, but it doesn't always work. They mess it up anyway.)

  2. Can't stop laughing. Oh, and I am pretty sure that שבתי is a word :)

  3. I remember the first time I asked for an extra egg. First, the waiter needed to get a approval from the manager ("I don't know if we can do that!"). Next I needed to sign the form in triplicate ("You do realize that this will cost an extra 5 shekel, correct?"). And finally, I needed to affirm that I fully understood the consequences of my request ("... but that will be a LOT more food... are you sure?")