It is customary to eat dairy food on Shavuot for a number of reasons. One reason is that Shavuot is linked to the Exodus from Egypt, and it is written, “From the misery of Egypt to a country flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8-17).
American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” With this in mind, I realize I owe you an apology: I sent you off into the mixology underground without at least giving you some basics with which to help you navigate the waters. Today, I rectify that mistake and present to you with 10 important and short lessons that will help you go from amateur… to slightly better than amateur.
Unfortunately, this week’s article starts without a quote. It would seem none of my favorite sources for drinking quotes (Hemingway, Sinatra, and Franklin) were aware of the health benefits of the occasional cocktail. Alternatively, they were drinking regardless of the health benefits which I feel is the more likely option. Most people can agree that binge drinking and drinking too often are bad for you. There are innumerable studies looking at the correlation between binge-drinking and cognitive impairment or binge-drinking and liver disease. There are, however, more recent studies that admit that in small amounts there are some benefits to the occasional cocktail.
Food has been an integral part of Jewish culture for thousands of years. Year after year, we read many Biblical stories about food, such as the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, and of Jacob and Esau and the lentil stew. While the Torah provides specific guidance on the laws of kashrut, it does not include instructions on what it means to eat “healthy.” We are left to ask ourselves — what does a healthy diet look like?
Gabriel Geller, well-known wine consultant for Royal Wines, recently offered to answer any questions we had about wine, as a fun change from the traditional wine columns he writes for us around this time of year. We enjoyed hearing his off-the-cuff responses and we hope you will enjoy the top four questions and answers we picked in honor of the season.
Passover is a universal holiday for Jews, which has been celebrated for thousands of years. While the order of the seder is the same for most Jewish communities, the symbolic foods served on the holiday tend to be made differently for each group. In many Ashkenazi (Eastern European) communities, for instance, charoset was traditionally, made from apples, wine, cinnamon, and walnuts; in Sephardic communities, dates and other dried fruits are combined with fragrant spices and then puréed into a paste.
This is such a huge crowd pleaser, I can no longer even consider making Shavuot desserts without first putting together my easy Oreo cheesecake. The cake always looks great as well, particularly if you use low-fat cream cheese as I do; full fat cheesecakes sometimes crack or dip in the middle. With this simple recipe, you are not as likely to have an issue, and the dessert is so creamy you won’t miss the missing fat. But, if you’re feeling particularly decadent, add a dollop of real whipped cream while serving.
Twenty-five years ago, I came to the United States from Bangkok to get an MBA, and within a couple of years I was keeping kosher. Since then, I helped set up weekly kiddushes for several years, made a large Thai meal as a fundraiser for Chabad of Seattle, and fried bananas for a Chanukah party at the Young Israel of Elkins Park outside Philadelphia. Frequently, I’m asked about Thai cuisine and where to get kosher Thai ingredients.
Cookbook author Paula Shoyer has been busy the last few weeks working on Pesach recipes for TV shows as well as magazine and newspaper articles. We caught up with her the week her beautiful Pesach pies appeared in the Washington Post.
Kol HaBirah: What recipes will you make at home this Pesach?
With Passover fast approaching, award-winning executive chef Nir Elkayam of the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel has created mouthwatering recipes for the holiday.
“The greatest challenge of Passover is creating tasty recipes despite the restrictions of the holiday,” said executive chef Nir Elkayam. “These recipes reflect the holiday spirit and prove that Passover food doesn’t need to taste as if its lacking.”
“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.” Ernest Hemingway once again brings us the perfect quote to start of our discussion of libations. Indeed, given its antioxidant effects cited in several research articles, many of us could use more wine in our lives. If only Mr. Hemingway had been Jewish, he may have gotten his wish.
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