For the small but budding wine community of Israel (and many local revelers), The Israel Wine Festival at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is the pinnacle event of the year. Friends and celebrities — close to 10,000 of them — mingle outside between the museum’s buildings and trees. Wines from around the country were poured, as guests munch on locally made cheeses from places like Jacob’s Dairy.
The festival, which started on Monday and ends tonight, is in its eighth year and was started by owners of two Jerusalem wine shops, by Avi Ben and Smulik Shahar. The winery lineup consists of 40 Israeli wineries. This year’s newcomers included: Bazelet ha’Golan, Kitron, Ella Valley, Katlav, Gva’ot, Har Bracha, Chillag and others. More established wineries like Carmel and Golan Heights were there as well, as was Tishbi Winery and Binyamina Winery. And some of the boutique Israeli wineries like Tzuba Winery, Odem Mountain Winery and Yatir Winery also made appearances.
Our daily need for food means that people who need to lose weight have a hard time, as we cannot simply withdraw from food’s siren song, unlike the non-essential addictions for cigarettes or alcohol. The most interesting research for me has been the work of Brian Wansink and his colleagues at Cornell, who’ve studied how and why we keep on eating “mindlessly.” I was fascinated by the description of their clever experiments in his 2006 book, “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” including the study in which unsuspecting participants eat soup from bowls engineered to automatically refill until the researchers called it quits — the soup eaters did not, as they saw there was still liquid in their bowls! Another experiment involved inviting college students for a free movie and handing them buckets of popcorn, the students gorged themselves on the snack, even though it was three days old. What they might have rejected otherwise as stale and unpalatable, was consumed uncomplainingly, because they were distracted by the movie and because they had been ingrained to eat at the cinema. Dr. Wansink taught his readership how easy it is to be fooled into over-eating by our circumstances.
Thanks to my boyfriend Matt, I am now completely addicted to the Food Network. Matt and I often spend time glued to the television, brainstorming what we might create on “Chopped” with a certain mystery basket of ingredients. We get excited about what Canadian chef Chuck Hughes whips up on his day off. We even try and guess which celebrity chefs might be hitting the bottle a little too often.
A few weeks ago, I set out to put my newly gained food knowledge to good use and planned to make something special for Shabbat dinner. I prefer to keep my apartment’s kitchen meat-free (it makes keeping kosher much easier, especially in a small space) and admittedly, I was getting a little tired of trying to come up with new recipes using fake meat, which often didn’t suit a fancier Shabbat meal. I thought about some options and tilapia popped in to my head. There was just one problem: I had zero experience cooking fish that hadn’t come from a can or frozen in a box.
On Monday morning, my doorman handed me an insulated food storage bag with all of my day’s meals — plus snacks! — inside. And I didn’t have to cook (or shop for) a thing.
The food, which had been delivered by 5 a.m. (deliveries take place from 7 pm-5 am) was cooked the day before by chefs at the Kosher Fresh Diet, a recently launched arm of food delivery service The Fresh Diet.
Breakfast was an egg white omelet with smoked salmon and whole wheat toast, lunch was a tuna and mozzarella wrap, and dinner was a turkey breast scallopini with whole wheat linguine. Dessert was a (really delicious) pear walnut muffin and snack was a garlic crostini. Though there were a few problems — my breakfast toast was soggy — on the whole, the meals were tasty and fresh, and the variety of food impressive. Of course, the portions were small — not surprising for a service that aims to help people lose weight.
A popular pig product is generating heavy treyf-ic on Twitter.
For reasons JCarrot has not yet determined, one of today’s trending topics on the social media site is #ReplaceMovieNamesWithBacon. The game is fairly self-explanatory: Twitter users suggest new names for well-known movies, having switched one of the key words with “bacon.” Some sample tweets: “No Bacon for Old Men” (not bad, at least as medical advice), “Gone With the Bacon” and “There Will Be Bacon.” Harry Potter movies seem to be an especially popular source of inspiration, with suggestions including “Harry Potter and the Half-Bacon Prince,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Bacon” and more.
We tried mixing this trend with Jewish themed movies and here’s what we came up with:
Fiddler on the Bacon
The Bacon Commandments
Kissing Jessica Bacon
Meet the Bacon
You Don’t Mess With the Bacon
Why this particular topic has lit up the Twittersphere, we can only guess. But we look forward to the day when kosher-food movies become their own trending topic. We’ve already got some ideas: “Lox, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “All the President’s Manischewitz” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Challahs.”
While some high school juniors choose to spend their summers working at summer camps, attending college programs to boost their résumés, or simply hanging out to relax after a hectic and stressful year of hard work, I decided that I wanted to try something uniquely different from anything I had ever done. After a couple of plans fell through, a friend of mine (also named Andrew) and I chose to volunteer on a farm in Israel. Through the program WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), we found Kibbutz Hokuk near the Sea of Galilee.
With hindsight, I guess one might say that I romanticized the idea quite a bit of working the land of Israel on a Kibbutz. However, it really did end up being a learning experience I will never forget. Prior to my experience in Israel, I had done some farming in Vermont, which I really enjoyed, but never anything like the journey I was about to embark on. In addition, I have really tried to eat consciously — whether that means eating locally or choosing to avoid eating meat on a regular basis — so, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to try something new and accomplish my goals of truly involving myself in the process of how food reaches my plate. Sounds like this would be a perfect fit for my summer, right? Wel … let’s just say it was a worthwhile experience that ended up being far more difficult than I expected.
New York has its fair share of iconic Jewish delicatessens — there’s Katz’s, Carnegie, and even the new, hipper Mile End in Brooklyn — but there’s only one kosher deli that stands up to the others: The 2nd Avenue Deli.
The deli — which was on Second Avenue and 10th Street from 1954 to 2006 and reopened in 2007 in Murray Hill — is known for its decadently delicious food — like towering pastrami sandwiches, the Instant Heart Attack (where deli meat is sandwiched by two potato pancakes), and fried chicken skins (a.k.a. gribenes). It’s also famous for its colorful waitstaff, who do their fair share of kibbitzing.
This week, the deli opens a second location on the Upper East Side. We spoke to owner Jeremy Lebewohl, 29, about his “new baby,” his family business and his brother’s surprising appearance in Penthouse magazine.
The debate whether to boycott Israeli products at the Park Slope Food Co-op continues. [WNYC].
A recipe for pickled tongue? Ah, it would make your bubbe proud. [Serious Eats]
A chef-turned-rabbinical student struggles with eating food on Shabbat that was prepared in advance, which doesn’t compare in taste as food just made. [Tablet]
Since Zabar’s is Zabar’s, most customers don’t blink at paying $16.95 a pound for lobster salad.
But Doug MacCash, a dining columnist with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, noticed a minor inconsistency with a container of takeout lobster salad he picked up during a New York City trip with his family last month.
The problem? The role of lobster in Zabar’s lobster salad was played by crayfish.
“Lobster salad on a bagel; why not?” he wrote in a report on the alleged lobster fraud last week (we can think of several reasons why not, but that’s for another time). “It was delicious, but the pink/orange tails seemed small and somehow familiar from New Orleans cuisine. Then I read the label. The lobster salad ingredients were: wild freshwater crayfish, mayonnaise, celery, salt and sugar.
The oldest bialy store in Brooklyn, and perhaps all of New York City, will soon close its doors.
The long-lived Coney Island Bialys and Bagels, which has been in operation since 1920, is calling it quits. Proprietor and baker Steven Ross said his 91-year old company was a victim of the economic downturn and the changing demographics of his shop’s neighborhood.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Ross, 51. “It’s been four generations, including my son.”
Ross’s bialy bakery is located on Coney Island Avenue in an area once teeming with Jews. he has watched their number diminished in the area as Asian, Russian, and Middle Eastern residents have moved in. Traditional customers, such as husbands coming in Sundays to pick up bagels, cream cheese and juice for their families, have vanished.
Last August, my husband and I chose to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary by going to Costa Rica. It was our first vacation with an ecological focus, as recommended by old friends who have more refined tastes and more stringent religious commitments. We were delighted to have our girls accompany us. It was a vigorous vacation with hiking, snorkeling in Puerto Viejo (newly discovered by surfers) and daily yoga sessions. My husband was able to decompress faster — and remain relaxed longer — than on any other trip and my review of our stay at the Samasati Nature Retreat posted on TripAdvisor has been read by enough viewers to garner me a free Shutterfly photo album (which, alas, I was too late to redeem). This was a great way to unplug from the world — no phone, no Internet, no television.
Our bungalow overlooked the mountainside and we woke each day to the sunrise (about 5 am) and the chattering of the monkeys. It was the off season in the Caribbean coast, so we had the resort mostly to ourselves. My family had de facto private sessions with the yoga teacher in the beautiful, octagonal studio.
It rained hard most days we were there but at different times of the day. In the capital city of San Jose, the streets have deep and wide gutters, up to two feet in parts. The locals, called Ticos, carry their babies everywhere, not bothering with carriages, strollers or even slings. People can even steer their bicycles, while holding up umbrellas.
Savta Zarifa is the paradigm of a fairy tale grandmother; plump, patient and never far from her kitchen. Unlike characters from Mother Goose stories, she did not bake gingerbread cookies but simmered tangy tomato dumpling soup over a kerosene stove or rolled countless grape leaves with herbs and rice. On Friday she also prepared hamin, a slow cooked stew of wheat berries and meat that permeated the house with the aroma of Shabbat and was enjoyed the following day for lunch.
As a child, I remember Shabbat lunches at my maternal grandmother’s house as boisterous affairs that always ended with lively singing and platters of cold watermelon. Aramaic and Hebrew were spoken interchangeably and every five minutes another guest walked through the door. After double kissing their guests, chairs were scuffled to accommodate them and another voice was added to the banter. These meals replicated a sense of community that once existed in her native Kurdistan before the entire Jewish population immigrated to Israel. Like a mystical shaman, she transformed a few core ingredients, tomatoes, onions, wheat… into a feeling of home. This was what her mother taught her, the knowledge not only to create but to give.
Most foods of Jewish ritual are well known to the larger Jewish community. The entire seder is focused around a series of symbolic foods that are familiar to almost all Jews. However, the foods of smaller and lesser known Jewish communities around the world are often lost as their numbers dwindle and dishes are prepared less and less.
At the core of the Bnai Israel Jewish Indian community is the Malida, both a dish and a ceremony surrounding the food, that are essential to the group of nearly 60,000 in Israel and a few thousand living in India. The dish of sweetened, moistened, parched (dried) and flattened rice is prayed over, and like offering at the temple mount and traditions of Hindus offering food at local Indian temples, is offered to God. The dish is served and celebrated during many happy occasions such as wedding henna ceremonies, engagement parties, housewarming parties and when blessings for bon voyage, safety or good health are wished upon.
A Jewish-themed Tribeca eatery that riffs on Kutsher’s, the 100-year old Catskills staple, is set to open in late October, according to reports yesterday.
Kutsher’s Tribeca, described by resort-family scion Zach Kutsher as a “modern-Jewish-food-inspired bistro”, will occupy a former bakery space, said the Tribeca Citizen, which also posted a draft of Kutsher’s gargantuan menu. The selection trends as a high-gloss mish-mash of traditional and nouvelle Semitic specialties. Varnishkes come with organic quinoa “kasha”, wild mushroom gravy, and truffle butter. Kugel – made with broccoli, Gruyere, and spinach, thank you very much — will accompany free-range roast chicken.
The magnificent Ruth Reichl talks to Ha’aretz about food writing, her new book which will take place in WWII and “why people take cookbooks to bed.”
Ruth Reichl, iconic Jewish American food critic and bestselling author has captivated readers with her frank, down-to-earth approach to cooking, and her insatiable love and enthusiasm for cuisine.
She is the author of four best-selling memoirs: “Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table”; “Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table”; “Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise”; and “For You Mom, Finally.”
Read more at Ha’aretz
What do cottage cheese and natural gas have in common?
Earlier this summer the news in Israel was dominated by “The Great Cottage Cheese Uprising,” a consumer boycott of one of the country’s favorite foods. The boycott was prompted by a 75% rise in the price of cottage cheese.
While Israelis were rebelling against the high price of cottage cheese, people in Pennsylvania and New York were waking up to the threat of gas drilling in the Marcellus shale, a geological formation located under much of Pennsylvania and New York.
I know it sounds like a stretch, but cottage cheese and natural gas have something in common. The reason that each product has triggered a revolt is that it is a symbol of a much bigger and more complex problem.
On one occasion, Michael Levy just had to say no. While he would try eating dog in China, fried millipedes was just taking it too far. This culinary experience opens the preface to “Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion,” a book about Levy’s two-year stint living in rural China while serving the Peace Corps. The 35-year-old had traveled deep into the interior of China to teach English and learn first-hand about another culture.
Last month, Levy stood before an audience at BookCourt, an independent book store in Brooklyn, where he spoke about his two-year Chinese sojourn. A history teacher at the local Saint Ann’s School, Levy opened his presentation by handing out a quiz for the audience to test how much they knew about China. The Forward caught up with Levy last week by phone to discuss “real Chinese food” vs. American Chinese food, why he was constantly compared to Karl Marx and learning to play mahjong.
The bounty of summer is upon us, and CSA (community supported agriculture) shares and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh veggies. Join the Jew and the Carrot every other Monday for CSA Unboxed, a look at an ingredient you might find in your CSA box or at your Farmers Market booth, and some interesting ideas of what to do with it.
Living in a rural town in the Berkshires, it often takes time and planning to make a trip to the local farmers’ markets, and even to the supermarket. Rather than relying on the markets for our summer vegetables, last summer my partner and I decided to try our hand at gardening.
We bought some fencing, seeds, and starter plants, dug up the earth and added manure, and got to work building the garden. That first summer we stuck to easier items to grow, like tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. This year is our second summer gardening; our garden is more bountiful than ever, and we’re experimenting more too. This year, we added all kinds of herbs, radishes, beets, and greens to the garden and we love experimenting with different kinds of homemade pesto.
Empire Kosher Poultry, the largest kosher chicken company in the country, claims “it produces a healthier, cleaner, more reliably kosher chicken than available anywhere else in America — and in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” according to JTA.
Multi-colored Carrots are coming to farmers’ markets this month! Yes, we have a soft spot for our namesake veggie.
A deli plate would be naked without a pickle, but the preserved cucumber wasn’t always so beloved. Jane Ziegelman writes that the pickle was once viewed as a stimulant and consumption was frowned upon.
The title of Mark Bittman’s Opinionator piece this week, “Can Big Food Regulate Itself? Fat Chance,” says it all.
Last month, The Dutch Animal Rights Party pushed a bill through the lower house of the Dutch Parliament that would outlaw the slaughter of animals without stunning. The law, if ratified by the upper house of parliament, will in essence make locally raised and slaughtered kosher (and halal) meat illegal. A similar law was passed in New Zealand last year, and kosher slaughter is already outlawed in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The battle over the ethicality of kosher slaughter came to the United States recently, though fortunately with a better outcome. A Washington state appellate unanimously rejected a suit that would have made a law protecting religious slaughter unconstitutional, says the JTA.
Jewish groups in Europe are strategizing ways to combat the Dutch bill. In June, United Kingdom Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks told British paper The Telegraph: “We are worried that [this type of bill] could spread. There has been a non-stop campaign by animal welfare activists to have all forms of ritual slaughter banned. It has to be fought everywhere because if it’s lost anywhere it has a potential domino effect.”