I am not Jewish. How can I impress my Jewish girlfriend’s grandmother at a family gathering?
—Guess who’s coming to dinner
Dear Guess who:
In a word, Eat. My husband (who is Jewish) impressed my grandparents right off the bat with his willingness to try any and all dishes at their Shabbat table and Sunday brunch. My grandmother also tried to feed him second and third helpings, and he was a great sport. Ask your girlfriend—or better yet, call and ask her grandmother—what you can bring to dinner. If they say “Nothing,” at least bring a bottle of wine. No Manischewitz, please. A mellow merlot will be a big hit. If you’re gainfully employed, a nice bottle of Crown Royal for grandpa is a good insurance plan.
Most important, be yourself. Smile. Answer questions clearly about where you went (or go) to school, where you work, your family and, of course, how you take great care of their princess. Helpful topics when your palms start to sweat: Twins baseball, the weather, ailments and illnesses, and your own grandparents. If you really want to score points, get up and help clear dishes from the table, and even ask if you can help wash dishes. Nothing wins hearts in a Jewish family like someone willing to pitch in, in the kitchen.