3/31/15

Religious Dieting . . .


I am a Reform Jew (don't really worry about what that means - beyond the context of this post) so that means that I don't "have" to (there is no gun to anyone's head) follow a Kashrut diet. That being said if there is one thing I'm "known" for it is going to extremes so I CHOOSE to follow a modified Kashrut diet year-round. 

What does that mean? I'm glad you asked . . . 
  1. No pork, shellfish, or other "forbidden" animals (think of birds that don't fly, fish that don't swim, etc.) ever. 
  2. No milk (dairy) or meat (flesh of even allowed animals) at the same time.
  3. No grape products that aren't made by Jews/ (Sorry, Welch's . . . we rock Kedem (and Tom Ford, bring back the Concorde (jet vs. grape)) in the Amore home)
  4. No half-ass cheats like turkey bacon. 
Pretty simple, frankly. And - sure - there are exceptions (I still (occasionally) eat tacos with cheese and I ate ham (in cheese potatoes) at Special Lady Friend's sister's rehearsal dinner last April) but you get used to them and life is still pretty full (stop laughing, crazy bacon-obsessors). 

But here is the point . . . it is about making a conscious decision to make small sacrifices and to honor rules that are bigger, and older than me (like respecting my elders and hazing frat members). But there is a week or so out of the year - Pesach (aka Passover if you prefer your blog posts in English) where the nine or ten rules (of which I observe about three) - where all Jews have to really up our game . . . sorta. 

You see there is "Kosher" and then there is "Kosher for Passover" where additional foods are taken off the proverbial table. If you are an observant Ashkenazi Jew you can't eat and chametz. If you are a observant Sephardic Jew you can't eat chametz or kitniyot

I, of course, chose to go "whole hog" (see what I did there - I brought a pig in to a discussion of Kosher eating) . . . I am, as a convert, neither Sephardic nor Ashkenazi (my actual lineage would make me an Ashkenazi, for the record). I am, as a Reform Jew, a very atypical Reform Jew. So - I just avoid allllllll the foods. 

It is fine. It is a week out of my life and we'll enjoy a nice, hot cheese pizza at sundown on Saturday, April 11th. Want to know the BEST part? There are lots of parts of "Kosher for Passover" foods that are DELICIOUS. Wanna' bet?
  • Maybe you've heard of a lil' something we call the coconut macaroon
  • Perhaps you've enjoyed the gefilte fish (don't dismiss it . . . the jarred stuff is an "acquired" taste but you can make your own that is down-right splendid). 
  • And who could forget the soup so good and iconic and amazing they sell it year-round at some of the world's finest Jewish eateries. That's right - matzah ball soup is Kosher for Passover. 
  • Which brings me to the most controversial of ALL the Passover foods . . . MATZO itself. 
Yes, yes . . . "bread" (a very liberal application of the word) that spends less than eighteen minutes going from separate ingredients to the oven is not, on its surface, all that appetizing BUT . . . think of the applications!

Moisten and crumble them and use them in lieu of granola. Put them in eggs with cheese and salsa. Make nachos with them. Put an approved jelly (no peanut butter for us "extremists" on them and crunch, crunch, crunch. Heck - use it in downright COOOL-ih-nairy dishes.

Bring on Passover. I'm READY!