Archive for the 'Food History' Category

What if You Already Have Diabetes?

This entry is cross-posted at Your Health is on Your Plate.

Last summer, after my patient Mrs. Price heard me say that her blood sugar was 204, a single tear ran down her cheek as she said,  “My eldest granddaughter is getting married next year.”  A blood sugar measurement over 200 is one way to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes.  Her parents had both died in their 60’s from complications of chronically elevated high blood sugars.  Here is what I told her.

Biblical Botany: A Torah Flora Tour

In his blog Torah Flora, Dr. Jon Greenberg shares his unique insights and vast knowledge on Judaism and plants (or as he more articulately puts it, “biblical ethnobotany”). Some of us had the chance to witness that knowledge first hand today at the New York Botanical Garden, where Dr. Greenberg gave an enthusiastic group a “Torah Flora Tour.”

The goal of the tour (and blog), according to Dr. Greenberg, is to “use knowledge of plants and nature to better understand Torah and Halacha.” He cites a long-lost relationship during the biblical era between Judaism and nature, and a wish to reconstruct it.

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?

Watch Food, Inc. for free on PBS

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If you haven’t had a chance to see Food, Inc., carpe diem! PBS recently aired it on POV, television’s oldest showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV has also put the entire film on their site for free viewing for a limited time. It’s only up until April 28, so check it out today!

A Nice Kosher Whine

(originally posted on GoingKosher)

In planning our new (improved?) kosher home, we looked at everything that went into our mouths from dairy to diet soda; meat to mints, chocolate to cheese. One area I hadnt thought about until Rabbi SpiceRock brought it up was wines.

Im happy to say that Im not hung up with the thought that kosher wine is synonymous with diabetes-inducing sweetness. So the wine needs a hekshur. OK.

Uh, no theres something else. The good Rabbi offered. Its called mevushal, which just means cooked in Hebrew and

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.

Jewish Groups Fight “Food Deserts”

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Check out this great article in the L.A. Times about the Progressive Jewish Alliance organizing a tour of food deserts in Los Angeles. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Jewish community groups aim to broaden the growing local and national campaigns to attract more supermarkets to poor neighborhoods, where limited access to healthful food has been linked to obesity, diabetes and other diseases. Programs are sprouting up in Louisiana, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Read more here.

Iron Chef America Featuring the White House Garden

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Image via Food Network
So, did you all watch Iron Chef last night?  It was touted as a historical battle of super chefs, including Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, and Emeril Lagasse with White House Chef Cristeta Comerford.  Their asssignment:  to use anything from the White House Garden (and Beehives) to create dishes– locally sourced, organic, sustainable– that would wow America.  I reveled in the shots of the lush White House Garden, filmed last October during the full harvest bloom.  I marveled at the panoply of professional equipment (and sous-chefs) at the Stadium Kitchen where they held the competition. I learned some marvelous techniques, including blanching and pan-frying icicle radishes to complement scallops (which I don’t eat or serve in my kosher home) and also that professionally trained chefs also have trouble with short pastry. The finished four dishes per team were beautiful to behold.

No spoiler here: you could find out about the winning team elsewhere, such as the informative Obama Foodarama website.

Battle of The Milk Alternatives

 

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It’s sort of funny when two worlds collide unexpectedly, especially when one comes to the aid of the other. Take for example my recent search for the perfect milk alternative. I don’t dislike good ol’ cow’s milk, nor am I allergic to it. But as an observant Jew, I often find myself at odds with the fridge staple, usually after I’ve just enjoyed a delicious turkey sandwich.  I am what some would call a Fleish-a-phobe: I rarely eat meat if I can avoid it out of dread for the five hours and one minute to follow, when I will be barred from my favorite treats: ice-cream, chocolate, cheese, milk-based pie, the list goes on.

And so I’ve spent some time searching for that perfect alternative, that wondrous, dairy-free concoction that will replace milk in my cookie recipe and help me whip up the perfect pareve pumpkin pie.  Recently, my best friend and I (with both health and Halacha in mind) unofficially took it upon ourselves to taste-test every non-milk available to us, from various brands of soymilk to the less orthodox (and rarely Kosher) hemp milk, with varying results.

What is Jewish Food?

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I often get asked if there is such thing as Jewish food. After all, Jews are not the only ones to smoke meat, eat couscous or make fish into little balls. So when I was asked to put together a short description of Jewish food to sit on the tables at the upcoming HAZON conference I was excited to try and answer the question. The topic is a big one but here on one foot is a good succinct overview.

What is Jewish Food?

Win a copy of Save the Deli

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The deli has been in the spotlight these days thanks to the work of  David Sax.  You  may have read Joan Nathan’s piece in the New York Times about David’s upcoming book, Save the Deli, a call to action to revive deli culture.  Deli has been in most newspapers and on the radio now and is  the talk of the town in a way it hasn’t been since its golden years thanks to one man with a mission.

Early on for the Jew and the Carrot Leah Koenig wrote a post about David’s deli zeal during David’s journey to eat at delis around the world (which he also chronicled on his blog), and now the Jew and the Carrot is eager to announce a deli contest in the book’s honor. The winner will receive a free copy of Save the Deli.

Just leave us a comment on this post about your most memorable deli meal or experience and your name could be drawn to win a copy of his book.  Last day to leave a comment is Thursday October 22nd and the winner will be contacted the next day.

And while we’re on the subject, the Save the Deli book launch will be held this Monday at Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen.  It will be a great time with remarkable deli kitsch.

What is Jewish Eating? Win a Signed Copy of David Kraemer’s Book!

Jewish Eating and Identity Though the Ages

What does eating Jewishly mean to you?  What is Jewish food?  Does it reflect where you come from?  Where your family came from?  Dr. David Kraemer’s 2007 book Jewish Eating and Identity Through the Ages, recently published in paperback explores just those issues – and you can win a signed copy of his book!

Just leave us a comment on this post what is Jewish food for you and your name could be drawn to win a copy of his book.  Last day to leave a comment is Tuesday October 14 and the winner will be contacted the next day.

Honey by Any Other Name…

Date Honey from the Galilee

Date Honey from the Galilee

Here in the Galilee, a modest but auspicious ease in the heat is rousing us out of our summer torpor.  That and the impending preparations for Rosh Hashana – with the questions that are on everyone’s lips: who is eating where and preparing what?

Our holiday table, like most, will be graced with a plate of sliced apples, and a bowl of honey to dip them in – to remind our tongues and the pleasure centers of our brains how sweet life can and hopefully will be in the coming year. This year, however, the honey we’ll be dipping into will have a darker hue and more complex flavor than usual.

The research I’ve been doing on the origins and history of the seven species of the Land of Israel (wheat, barley, vines, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey) has changed the way I understand this last and sweetest of the seven.

Nogah Reuveni, one of the pioneering scholars of Israel’s biblical agricultural landscape, astutely observed that, of all the seven species, there is only one which is not a plant or plant product (guess which).  While today, we think of honey as what comes out of a beehive, in ancient times, it referred to any sweet syrup made out of boiled-down fruit.

D.I.Y. Et Pret A Manger

This blog is not the right place for it, but still, Roger Cohen has really gotten on my nerves over the last year or so.  His ranting about how wonderful Iran is and how great it is for the Jews there made me question my devotion to the New York Times.  His  piece “Advantage France,” in Sunday’s paper, about some of the differences between the French diet and the American diet, may have me beginning to change my mind.  I’ve only spent a few days in France, and only in Paris, but I’m guessing he’s exaggerating somewhat.  Nevertheless, the idea of Americans adopting any diet (or lifestyle, really) that required not only combining the ingredients and cooking them, but processing them to begin with (filleting the fish, making the pasta, etc) does sound beautiful and absurd.  The idea of connecting to food on a “gut” level and a geographic one far predates the terroir of which Cohen writes, at least in Jewish tradition.