Archive for the 'Kosher' Category

Pareve Peach Pie

This entry is also posted on Dr. Sukol’s blog, Your Health is on Your Plate.

About a year ago, a friend of mine got interested in the raw food movement.  Raw foodists prefer their food, as advertised, raw.  Uncooked.  She said it changed her life.  OK, lots of people say stuff like that.  But I have to admit that I see the difference – she is more relaxed, and brimming with beauty and energy.  Four kids?  No problem!

New Web Site Hosts Updated List of Veg-Friendly Kosher Restaurants in the NYC Area

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

Last year, I blogged about a list of vegan, vegetarian, and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the New York City area that have kosher certification. Cathy Resler, organizer of the NYC Jewish Veg*ns MeetUp group, has created a Web site featuring an updated version of her list. It’s now quite easy to navigate through the myriad options by alphabetical, geographic, or cuisine-based sorting.

As I mentioned in my previous post, “If you’re looking for a kosher establishment with plentiful vegetarian and vegan options, there’s no need to check both vegan and kosher restaurant guides when you can check only one list.”

Eating Kosher and Veggie Across South America: The Good, The Bland and The Ugly

This entry is cross-posted at marriedwithbackpacks.com

It’s now been seven weeks backpacking through this meat-lovers paradise, tough going for a pair of Jews spoiled by home cooking and New York’s great vegetarian restaurants. Vegetarian cuisine in Peru and Bolivia is, like their economies, ‘developing.’ We were pleasantly surprised at the number of vegetarian restaurants in Lima, Arequipa and Cusco. In many of them we had a set menu consisting of a soup, a main, tea and possibly desert for $1.50-$5. Now it could be that South American vegetarian cuisine is relatively immature, or did the Spaniards run off with all the Inca’s seasoning as well as their gold… because all most all of our Andean meals were quite bland. The vegetables or grain soups would have been enlivened by adding almost anything. The mains usually consisted of rice, eggs and glisteningly oily fried vegetables. Most of the vegetarian restaurants rely heavily on eggs and cheese, so if you are travelling vegan, it might end up being the rice and oily vegetables for meal after meal. If you risk eating at a non-vegetarian restaurant, the vegetarian menu usually consists of pizza and spaghetti. I should mention that it wasn’t all bad news, we did enjoy a veggie version of a traditional Arequipa dish (at a restaurant called Lakshmivan), a large pepper stuffed with vegetables, tofu and chillies, as well as scrumptious burritos at the Hearts Café in Ollantaytambo.

When it comes to snacks there is more to get excited about.

Kosher Veganarchy in the U.K.!

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

Last month, the Redwood Wholefood Company, a vegan food manufacturer in Britain, issued a press release announcing “one of the first times that a UK manufacturer of vegetarian and vegan products has undergone the kosher certification process.” Celebrity animal rights advocate Heather Mills, who owns Redwood, said, “Achieving kosher certification is an endorsement of the care and attention we give to the sourcing of ingredients and to the manufacturing of our products.”

Perhaps a press release should be taken with a grain of kosher salt. While it is commendable that Redwood has reached out to clientele seeking a hechsher, kosher-certified vegan food is likely not a total anomaly in England. The press release highlights the rarity of kosher certification for companies that chiefly focus on vegetarian and vegan foods, but surely there must be a fair number of kosher foods that are vegan in the U.K. I took the below photo last year to show off the kosher section of a London supermarket, and I’m guessing that at the very least, the matzos that my friend was holding were both hechsher-bearing and vegan!

A Kosher Chicken in Every Pot – Part 2

Wise Organic Pastures – The Poultry Farm

This Article is Cross-Posted on KosherEye.com

Now it’s on to the Farm – a 50-mile drive from the plant.

As city dwellers, we did not know what to expect at the “chicken” farm. Wise Organic Poultry contracts with farmers willing to raise chickens to its high specifications – combining humane methods, proper feed, and ample space. To visit one such farm, we traveled to a picturesque well–maintained farm, owned by a grower in the Susquehanna Valley of Central Pennsylvania.

Argan Oil: From Morocco to Israel

Jacob Levenfeld, who has spent extensive time in the Negev, writes about Orly Sharir’s project to grow argan oil in Israel’s desert. Orly, a supplier of herbs and spices for Negev Nectars in the United States, writes more on the subject on the Negev Nectars blog.

Isn’t it frustrating when you eat something delicious but you can’t quite put your finger on that little ingredient that pulls everything together? In Moroccan cuisine, that extra spice could just be a little-known delicacy known as argan oil. Used in all sorts of food recipes, lotions, and creams, this reddish oil is derived from argan tree nuts native to Morocco. Lately, though, a small number of farms in Israel’s Negev desert have also forayed into argan production.

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.

At Vegans’ Weddings: Beef or Tofu?

“I know it’s your day, but it’s not all about you…Why have a wedding if you’re going to be like that [serve only vegetarian options]?  Just print a bumper sticker.”

Did this article that concluded with this choice comment in today’s NY Times Sunday Styles section annoy others as much as it annoyed me?  Of course weddings should reflect one’s values, so if you’re kosher, or vegan, or vegetarian, why wouldn’t you serve kosher, vegan, or vegetarian food?  As the vegan Kathleen Mink quoted in the article said, it was  a “no brainer” to have a vegan menu at her and her husband’s wedding.  But another vegan pastry chef served meat at her wedding because she was afraid celebrity chefs like Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud would think she and her husband “were crazy” if they didn’t serve meat. 

My Interview About Judaism and Vegetarianism on Our Hen House’s Podcast

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

My interview from earlier this month was featured on Our Hen House‘s podcast this weekend. We talked about Torah teachings about compassion for animals, how well Judaism and vegetarianism mesh together, kosher slaughter, the new Jewish food movement, and vegan versions of traditional Jewish foods.

Chief Rabbinate to Revoke Hechsher of Meat From Shackled-and-Hoisted Animals Because of Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim

Cross-posted to heebnvegan

A couple of months ago, I noted that the office of Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger in Israel had released an encouraging statement that seemed to mark the end of Israel’s imports of meat from animals killed by shackling and hoisting in South America. (The cruel slaughter method is no longer used in Israel or the U.S.) I was, however, skeptical because a similar forward-looking statement in 2008 was never enforced. This time around, it looks like the Chief Rabbinate’s plan will be enacted.

On June 18, Haaretz reported that “by 2011 the Chief Rabbinate will no longer certify [as kosher] meat from slaughterhouses that use shackle-and-hoist – a controversial method employed in almost all South American kosher slaughterhouses, which provide 80 percent of all the meat imported into Israel.” This is a major step forward, both because it means action will be taken within the next half-year and because business considerations (e.g., the fact that an overwhelming majority of Israel’s imported meat comes from the slaughterhouses in question) will not be allowed to determine what’s right.

The Power of Reading

In November of last year I read a story by a Holocaust survivor describing how, even though they were starving, she and other Jewish prisoners refused an offering of snails from the Nazis. The reason? Snails are not kosher.

I sat back and my heart sank.  I’d never really thought about what I ate, food meant nothing to me but a few moments of taste. I felt guilty and I wanted to change. I still wanted to eat good food of course, but now I wanted my choices to matter and I felt deeply that I had no excuses.

Parmesan Cheese Now Available From Sugar River Cheese Co.

Sugar River Cheese, a kosher cheese company, has just announced that they now have parmesan cheese!  It took over two years to develop this cheese, with the characteristic flavor and  texture that makes parmesan so unique.

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.