The Mighty Zed
Seriously Eastcoast

Night of the Drunken Hessians
24 December 2007

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Washington crosses the Delaware, 25 December 1776

Cinco de Mayo, move over. You have competition.

Tonight we observed that newly traditional American festival---The Night of the Drunken Hessians. Two hundred thirty-one years ago, the Hessian mercenaries hired by Britain had the parties to end all parties. The next morning the Revolutionary forces under General George Washington crossed the Delaware River, attacked the drunken Hessians and won the Battle of Trenton.

Though not the turning point of the war, the victory over the Hessians gave the American cause a big boost in morale. By solstice 1776, America had hit the skids. The Brits had occupied New York and were feasting at the fleshpots of Manhattan. Washington's troops had retreated to the west bank of the Delaware. Months later, the Brits were to occupy the capital, Philadelphia. Washington was to retreat to Valley Forge, when King of Prussia was a tavern, not a mall.

Enough history. Let's get to the food. We feasted at the Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant. My companion started with mushroom tofu soup followed by two spring rolls and a main course of bamboo and dark Chinese mushrooms. Everything was wonderful, she said. Steamed Buddha's delight without sauce for me. Bland is beautiful.

We speculated on what the Hessians ate that night. No doubt meat and lots of wine and beer. As for Washington's forces, we figured that steamed vegetables and tofu was all they could afford.

The waiter walked by and my companion requested chopsticks. I showed my patriotism by demanding a knife. Of course, a really true patriot would carry a gun. But you can't cut vegetables with a gun.

Downstairs were several families. The men wore kipahs. There was a Muslim family, whose tiny daughter wore a lovely orange dress with gold embroidery. Upstairs were two women talking about infections and operations, a young Black man eating alone, and two Asian men.

As we toasted George Washington, we were disturbed by a procession of children going to the restroom. A young mother threatened to take her daughter home. A father told Kayla to behave herself. Gilad's mother had a British Empire accent. I wonder if she understood the significance of the night.

The owner, Peter, walked by, and greeted a table of patrons with "Shalom." He knew why business was booming that night

L'hitra-ot, George Washington. Your birthday is two months away.




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