Archive for the 'Eco-Kashrut' Category

A Kosher Chicken in Every Pot – Part 1

 

Wise Organic Pastures – The Processing Plant

This Article is Cross-Posted on KosherEye.com

Our Bubbie and “grand” Bubbies may have known how to make a famous roast chicken and of course, chicken soup, but certainly did not face the same chicken challenges that the kosher shopper faces today. Most chicken is no longer raised in the back yard! The consumer is now faced with numerous choices in quality, type and price.

Chicken has become a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Kosher chicken is no exception, but is somewhat more complicated. There has been extraordinary growth in kosher poultry sales in the last few decades. Along with observant Jews, many non-Jews and Jews who don’t necessarily adhere to kosher laws now purchase kosher poultry. Why? There is a perception that kosher certification adds a layer of clarity and transparency to poultry purchases. In addition to the FDA and government regulatory agencies, the processing plant must adhere to the specifications of a supervising kosher agency and rabbinical authority. Many consumers welcome this extra layer of inspection.

Is the new humane kosher label humane enough? Or too humane?

Fran Hawthorne is the author of The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting, and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism (Beacon Press. 2010), which discusses the new kosher hekhsher and many other issues. Thanks, Fran, for sharing your thoughts!

Jews like me, who care about animal welfare, could always feel a little smug about our dining habits — even if (also like me) we arent vegetarian. Pigs are particularly intelligent animals? Well, we dont eat them. Shrimp-farming destroys delicate swamps in Thailand? We dont eat shrimp, either. And the meat we do eat is killed according to the laws of kashrut, which everyone knows is a more humane method than other types of slaughter. (Isnt it?)

The Bane & Blessing of Food Allergies

I eat in a pretty healthy manner. I cook most of my own meals, and even when I eat out or at other people’s homes I’m careful what and how much I eat. [I also keep kosher, so I guess by definition I think a lot about what I eat or don't eat, but it's rote by now--I've been doing it most of my life.]

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a host of food intolerances/allergies (still not sure which they are yet, still working on that part) and in addition to making sure I eat healthily, I also have to make sure I don’t eat things that make me sick.

Postville, Procter & Gamble, And The Problem With Pareve Margarine

The raid on the kosher meat-processing plant in Postville, Iowa, threw us a bone in the shape of a vigorous new debateon whether it is fitting and proper to designate as “kosher” products made without regard for animal welfare, fair wages,and the environment. To these I would add human health. What does it mean to approve the manufacture and distribution of products that are known to compromise the health of those who consume them? Is there a distinction to be made between contaminantsthat do their work quickly, like salmonella, and those whose destructive effects are slow and cumulative, like trans fats?

A Tale of Two Covenants: Rainbow Day, Shmita, and the Gulf

The iridescent colors reflected off an oil slick are like a twisted and distorted rainbow.

This coming Monday, May 10th, is also the 27th of Iyyarthe date when Noahs family and the animals left the ark and received the rainbow covenant.

There is a special correlation between this weeks Torah portion and the rainbow covenant of Noahs time. And there is a foreboding contrast between the rainbow covenant and whats happened in the Gulf of Mexico. The tension between these dynamic relationships in many ways defines the predicament of our time.

Maimonides meets Christ: Portland Tuv Ha’Aretz visits St. Andrew Lutheran Church

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On April 18, my co-steering committee member Sylvia Frankel and I were invited to speak to the congregation of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Beaverton, Oregon, a nearby city most famous for being the home of Nike. It was an opportunity to address the congregation for one of a series of learning and study sessions; this one was called Food and Spirituality from a Jewish Perspective.

About 25 people attended, including Lead Pastor Mark Brocker and Associate Pastor Robyn Hartwig, and members of the St. Andrew Green Team, a group of congregants who work on sustainability issues within the St. Andrew community.

New Podcast Episode with Wilderness Torah’s Julie Wolk

Listen to our new PODCAST, Episode 5 by clicking here!

Co-Founder Julie Wolk sits down with me on the latest Hazon Podcast. Listen to what Wilderness Torah is doing to revitalize the American Jewish Community. Also, don’t forget you can subscribe on iTunes by searching “Hazon”.

Also, don’t forget that it is Earth Day this week, so check out all the options going on in your area. For a good listing, check this website out

They have a map where you can choose where you live and find out what is going on near you!

New Podcast – RideCast Special

Happy Rider

Check out this new special Ride Edition Podcast! If you haven’t heard, Hazon is allocating funds raised from the Bay Area Ride a bit differently than past rides. It’s pretty exciting and really putting the power in the hands (or cycles) of Ride participants, who will get to decide where to allocate the funds they raise.
Also, if you didn’t hear about last year’s NY Ride engagement story, Marc tells us what he was thinking the day he proposed on the Ride.

Check it all out by clicking here!

Yid.Dish: Cashew Chicken & Snow Peas

Cashew Chicken & Snow Peas

I am lucky enough to live in Eugene, Oregon. I’ve got it pretty good here – great weather, great outdoors, great Jewish community, great abundance of local organic food. But Chinese food? Not so much here in Eugene.

As a Bay Area transplant, I crave Chinese food. I often feel like I literally NEED it. After months searching for something that would quench my Chinese food tastebuds – and realizing that to keep my version of kosher (which is eco-kosher: less about what is and what is not treyf and more about eating only meat that is ideally organic and pasture-raised – and if not, is absolutely free-range, never given hormones or antibiotics, and was humanely slaughtered) – I came to the conclusion that I’d have to make it myself. For both taste and my personal kashrut reasons. Which is some kind of a life lesson right there, I’m sure.

I stumbled upon a recipe for Cashew Chicken from the inimitable Martha Stewart and decided to give it a whirl – and my own flair. And to tell the truth, it is delicious and happily graces our Friday night Shabbat table pretty often.

What Kind of a Jewish Deli is This?

Thanks so much to Emunah Hauser for this heads up.  Emunah is a host at Saul’s Restaurant and Deli, which has been organizing the Referendum on the Deli Menu, which will be held on Tuesday in Berkeley, CA.  Check out Saul’s blog Sustainability Adventures of a 100+ seat Diner.

Sauls Restaurant and Deli

Can the Jewish Deli be sustainable? Can a retro cuisine be part of the avant- garde?

Local, organic VS. the externalized costs of cheap, industrial food and . . . collective memory and food traditions?

Deli is at a crossroads. In New York, only a handful delis remain from hundreds. Across the country, beloved Delis continue to disappear. Popular expectations of “real” Deli conflict with today’s economic realities. And these expectations conflict with environmental sustainability.

Nigel Savage on DIY Food Values

Be sure to check out this article written by Nigel Savage, Hazon’s founder and executive director, published in Sh’ma this month. The piece is a good summary of the lay of the land of the Jewish Food Movement and is sure to give folks some “food for thought.”

KOL Foods is Hiring!

Okay, so the job market is pretty lousy right now, but I got this job posting via email and though I’d pass it along.

KolFoods

Sales and Operations Manager

KOL Foods, LLC puts kosher meat and ethics on the same plate so consumers can feel good about the meat they eat. KOL Foods sources and sells grass-fed, non-industrial, healthy lamb and beef and pastured poultry directly to individuals. Since its foundation in 2007, the interest in KOL Foods’ products has grown rapidly, and, consequently, they are now available in the East Coast and the Midwest primarily through our website. As demand is increasing KOL Foods is seeking to expand in the Eastern United States and, in the near future, nationwide.

KOL Foods is unique as it operates differently from industrial kosher meat businesses. As a values-based business, our mission is to produce food that is in harmony with nature, neighbors and tradition – all the way from farm to fork.   For further information on KOL Foods, please go to:  www.kolfoods.com .

New Year – New Jewish Cuisine

New Years

What is Jewish food? Avoiding shellfish and pork and never eating meat with dairy? Hummus? Kreplach? Whatever your Bubbe used to make?

What makes a cuisine Jewish?  Other East Asian cultures have vegetarian diets, which by default wouldn’t be mixing meat with dairy.  Hummus is wildly popular throughout the Middle East. And are kreplach so very different than Italian tortellini?

So what is Jewish food?  It’s like what is asking what your comfort food is.  Probably whatever your family makes.  If you have an Eastern European background, brisket, matzoh ball soup and knishes may be the norm.  A Sephardic background may involve more Mediterranean dishes.

But can this identification with food change?  When I was in college, my comfort food was Macaroni and Cheese out of a box.  As an adult, my go-to comfort dish is sautéed mushrooms and kale.  So yes, I’m a believer that people can change.  So can what we think of as Jewish cuisine change?

Kosher “Organic Batter Blaster” vicariously attends the Hazon food conference

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My dear friends The Wandering Jew and David Levy over at Jewschool, sick with envy that they couldn’t attend the Hazon Food Conference this year, produced this tongue-in-cheek video to vicariously participate nonetheless. Please enjoy their playful snark as we consider how the hell this product fits into the eco-kashrut movement.