the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

 *The Yiddish word for “rib steak” is “shepsene riplekh.”
“maykhl” means “a tasty food dish.”
“Ess vi ein faygl” means to “eat like a bird.”
“JSG” means that one has the Jewish Seltzer gene
“leftovuerz” means “leftovers.”

A dear friend sent me a wonderful piece which she found on the web.  Shown below is the Yiddish version of the
frustrating dinner tale.

Remember when eating out was a relaxing experience?
Someone else cooked for you, served you and cleaned up after you.  All you had to do was chew (“kayen”), swallow (“shlingen”) and pay the bill (“der khezhbn”).  No longer, though.  Today, you feel like a laboratory rat (“shtshur”) who has to struggle through a maze every time it wants a chunk of cheese (“kez”).

“Good evening (“a gut ovnt”), the maitre d’ said.
“Table for ‘fir’ (four)?”
“Yes, ‘a dank’ (thank you).”

“Smoking section (“smouking opteylung”), or non- smoking (“nit smouking”) section?”


“Would you prefer to dine indoors (“ineveynik”), or outdoors (“in droysn”) this evening?”

“I guess indoors would be good.”

“Very well, sir,” he said.  Would you like to be seated in the main dining room, the enclosed patio (“enklosed patio”), or our lovely solarium?”

“Uh, let me see…uh…”

“I can give you a table with a lovely view in our solarium.”

“I think the solarium would be lovely.”

We followed him there…”Danken got” (Thank God), it’s not near the bathroom!

“Now, would you prefer a view overlooking the golf course (“golf kurz”), the sunset (“zun-untergang”) on the lake or the majestic mountains (“berg”) to the West?”

“Whatever you recommend,” I said.

Let HIM make a decision for a change, I thought.

He sat us by the window (der fentster”) facing the golf course, lake or mountains.  I couldn’t tell which because of the darkness (“dos finsternish”) outside.

“Zetst sikh avek zayt azoy gut.” (Sit down, please.)

Then, a young man, better dressed and better looking (“sheyn”) than any of his, presented himself at our table…”

“Good evening (“guten ovent”).  “Ikh heys” (My name is) Paul, and I’ll be your waiter (“kelner”) this evening.
Would you like a few minutes before I take your order?”

“No,” I said.  “I’m just a meat-and-potatoes guy, so I’ll have the filet mignon and a baked potato.”

“Oh, thank God you’re not a “pesca-pescatarian”— someone that only eats “fish that eat other fish.”
FYI:  Karol Markowicz (New York Post) explained that it’s a fictional food group invented as a gag on the show,
‘Silicon Valley.’”

“Soup (“zup”) or salad (“salat”)?”


“We have a “grikhisher salat” (Greek salad), mixed- green salad, hearts of palm, or a very fine endive salad with baby shrimp (“beibi shrimp”).

“Just a mixed-green salad, okay?”

“Whatever you say, sir.  Salad dressing (“salat sous”)?”

I didn’t want to make another decision (“bashlus”).

“Whatever you’re got will be fine.”

“We have Creamy Italian, Blue Cheese, Vinaigrette, Thousand Island, Honey Dijon and Ranch.”

“Just bring me one.  Surprise me.”

“Creamy Italian is our house specialty.  Would that be all right, sir?


 I was curt.  I was done with civility.

“And for your baked potato?”

I knew what was coming!

“I just want a baked potato dry, you understand (“farshteyn”)?  I don’t want anything (“abi vos”) on it.”

“No butter (“puter”)?  No sour cream (“smetene”)?”


“No chives (“tsheyvz”)?  No bacon chips (“beykon tships”)?”

“No!  Don’t you understand English?  I don’t want anything on it.  Just bring me a baked potato and a steak (“bifsteyk”).”

“Would you prefer the six, eight, or 12-ounce steak, sir?”

“Whatever (“vas a khiluk”).”

“Would you like that rare (“roy”), medium rare, medium well, well done (“fabrent”), or somewhere in the “miten” (middle)?   Or, if you prefer, we can butterfly it for you?”

“Paulie Boy,” I said, “you are really starting to get me steamed.”

“Which brings up the vegetables, sir.  Would you like steamed broccoli, creamed corn, cauliflower (“kalifyor”),
tomatoes (“tomaten”), spinach (“shpinat”), or peas (“arbus”)?

That did it!  I threw my napkin to the floor, stood up, put my face right in his arrogant kisser and screamed,

When I sat down, I saw the very concerned maitre d’ rush to the table.  He apologized for my discomfort and offered to buy me a drink.  Whatever I wanted.

“I’m fine.  Just bring me a glass of water (“glaz vaser”).”

“Yes, sir, right away,” he said.

“Would you prefer sparkling water (“gazirte vaser”), Jewish champagne (AKA “seltzer”), Pellegrino, an energy drink, egg cream with Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup, Manishevitz blackberry wine, club soda with a wedge of lime,  Dr. Brown’s celery soda, chip ice…….?”
MARJORIE WOLFE’S favorite waiter joke:
A waiter walks out of the kitchen carrying a steak.
A second waiter says to him, “Moishe, what’s your thumb doing in the meat?”  Moshe replies “What, you want I should drop it AGAIN?”


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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