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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Cracker Barrel Old Country Chanukah

Cracker Barrel Old Country Chanukah

(Not sponsored or affiliated with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. or CBRL Group)

Conceived by Brian Feldman

Orlando Jewish Theater at Cracker Barrel #260, Orlando FL


Art is where you find it, and you’ll find Chanukah where the Midori is. Maybe you call it that 8 pronged candle stick a “Menorah,” but the harassed shift manger of the Cracker Barrel thought differently and rather than burden him with facts he didn’t need, we just smiled. Cracker Barrel might seem an awkward place to celebrate one of the least significant holidays of the Jewish cannon, but the Orlando Jewish Theater (formerly the Feldman Dynamic) stepped up to the challenge. They spread out a Hanukkah table cloth, lit an iPhone “Midori”, and we all sat down to a trans-fat packed feast of catfish, poached eggs, and Skillet themed stir fry.

This was the second night of Chanukah, and the second visit to a Cracker Barrel for the Old Country Chanukah. The Feldman’s kept a low profile, rumor had it that the previous night had not gone well. There is a rule prohibiting unauthorized photography inside Country Themed gift shops in Orange County, and the Sheriffs were reportedly called. Fortunately, no guns were drawn.

Our meal met or exceeded all Interstate Highway dining standards, and while nothing on the menu was specifically Jewish the Chicken and Dumplings seem potentially kosher. I opted for the Country Boy breakfast, but passed on the bacon in deference to the spirit of the holiday. A discussion on the suitability of eating catfish arose – while catfish have scales at some point in their life, they lose them later and thus have been declared Tref. Someone ordered it anyway. It’s looked pretty yummy.

This Cracker Barrel seemed more relaxed about cameras; the waitress took a group shot and the manager let us take another outside. Down in the tourist district the attitude leans more toward “They must be from a distant country, with ways different from out own.” As the meal wound down and the topic of whose cell phone had more cool features petered out, we had a quick spin of the dreidl, ate our Gelt for dessert, and did a little shopping in the gift shop. I considered the “Cat In The Bag” gag gift and some of those cool holographic cardboard eye glasses that make every point of light a smiling snowman.

Was this art, or just a cheap way to knock off some year end holiday obligations? A little of both, and at this busy time of year, saving a few hours while communing with your multi cultural acquaintances is so much nicer than a drunken football game with your brother in law and his wacko politic. Mazel Tov!

To learn more about the Orlando Jewish Theater, please visit http://twitter.com/OrlandoJewish

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