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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

In Trader Joe’s grocery store I found a bag of four bagels for five dollars. As I was turning them over in my hand a young man asked me if I was finding everything okay. I told him I was trying to figure out why theses bagels were so expensive. He informed me they were both Gluten and GMO free. I dropped them like they were evil and asked him if they had any gluten loaded bagels with a touch of GMO?  He gave me a horrified look and walked me over to the sane people bagels much like he was making the walk of shame.

I don’t remember why, but he started telling me about this diet he was on called the blood diet. I was about to ask him if he was a vampire but he seemed to think I actually cared and went on to explain how you eat food according to your blood type.

I know people breathe, I had the same stunned silent reaction. I am here to tell you there is indeed such a thing as the blood diet. Because I value your readership I went ahead and looked it up. Dr. Peter D’Adamo is the creator of a diet where you eat very specific foods according to your blood type. This diet will make you feel better, give you energy and enrich your life. As an added bonus it proves that not all doctors graduated at the top or even middle of the class. Right Dr D?

This ‘diet’ takes no other factors into consideration, just blood type. For example, All you 3 million Americans who suffer from Celiac disease you may want to check your blood type before you try the blood diet. If you happen to have blood type ‘A’ you will probably have a very painful death as type A blood type dictates you can only eat wheat and other grain related products. 

To add insult to injury your exercise will also depend on blood type. So while you blood type A celiacs will be cramping massively due to your gluten heavy diet at least you will be in agony while attempting the downward dog from the reverse warrior position.

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We wandered the dessert for forty years!  We literally, with whips to our backs built the Pyramids.  We sacrificed our lives on Masada rather than being forced to live under a system that went against our covenant with God.  We cannot eat bacon.  Our homeland is surrounded by people who would just as soon drive us into the sea rather than acknowledge our right to exist.  Our male children are circumcised…Whaa, back the truck up!  We cannot eat bacon?  Why? Why can’t we eat bacon?

I’ll tell you why, because we are Jewish, because we follow kashrut the Jewish law that deals with what we can and cannot eat.  Kashrut comes from Kaf-Shin-Reish meaning fit, proper or correct.  Food that meets the criteria is considered Kosher.  Bacon my friends, is not kosher!

So what exactly is Kosher?  According to the Torah (first five books of the bible which in a broad sense covers the entire body of Jewish teachings) land animals that have cloven hooves and chew their cud may be eaten. If the animal does not have these two qualities it is forbidden.  Pigs, badgers, monkeys, camels, rats and rabbits are out.  Cows, deer, goats, bison are in.

If they live in the sea you can eat it if it has fins and scales. Fish and mermaids are in. Catfish and shellfish are out.  Do you know what catfish and shellfish eat?  They eat the kosher fish’s poop!  So you tell me, which would you rather?

If they are birds:  Birds of prey and scavengers are out. Chickens, ducks and Turkey are in.  However some Jews tend to avoid turkey because,( and I don’t understand this at all but) at the time of the giving of the Torah we didn’t know about turkeys.  I would have thought God would have had all this figured out.

Of the winged swarming things (winged insects) there are a few that are allowed, however the Sages are not sure which ones they are so just to be safe we’ve outlawed them all, thank God.  However there was that time on my bicycle…

Rodents, reptiles, amphibians and insects? We don’t eat them.

Just because the animal is part of the ‘in’ crowd does not automatically make it kosher.  That would be far too easy.  The food in question cannot have died of natural causes, or killed by another animal. which means we must murder the animal.  Further, the animal must be free of disease or flaws in the organs at the time of slaughter. I know this may surprise you, but it doesn’t end there either.

The slaughter must be done according to a Jewish ritual of shechitah and the one who performs the ritual is the schochet.  This is not be confused with a schlemiel and a schamozzel  (a schlemiel is the guy who spills the soup, the schamozzel is the guy who the soup is spilled on). According to the Torah the soul lies in the blood.  Therefore all the blood must be drained from the animal at the time of slaughter.

Just because an animal meets all the above criteria does not mean all of the animal is kosher, for example we do not eat the back end of animals, which means I don’t have ever worry about eating a cows ass.  Think about it.  Nor do we mix meat and dairy products.  Heck we don’t even mix the dishes, meat gets one set, dairy gets the other. I couldn’t possibly make this stuff up. Not only that, Really good Jews have seperate dishwashers!

The above is by no means a comprehensive lesson in the laws of Kashrut. If you are truly interested you can always ask Google

The question, when starting this post was why do we keep kosher?  There are many theories, but when push comes to shove there is only one reason why we keep kosher.  The most common theory is health.  There are health benefits, the fact that the animal must be clean and healthy at the time of slaughter or how about the idea that scientists are finding that eating meat and dairy together often interferes with digestion. But health is not the reason.  

There are economic and environmental theories, for example the amount of food a pig consumes is disproportional to its value as a food source.  The camel is/was much more useful as a beast of burden, (it can carry a lot of stuff) than it was as a food source.   Good reasons, but not the reason.

The reason is much simpler.  Jews keep kosher is because the Torah tells us too.  Except for the draining of the blood the reasons of Kashrut are not explained.  We keep kosher because that is our covenant with God and we don’t question God.

I am not a very religious person.  I can’t even tell you I believe in God. But I am Jewish and proud of being Jewish and I am trying to understand my heritage/history because I believe it to be important.  For me the number one reason to keep kosher, or at least to understand kosher is simple because a Jew who observes (or at least understands and recognizes) the laws of kashrut cannot eat a meal without being reminded of the fact that he or she is a Jew.

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We went to the Cracker Barrel for dinner.  If you have been to one Cracker Barrel you have been to all the Cracker Barrels because they are all the same.  We went there for breakfast over the weekend and decided to go again for dinner.

Walking into the restaurant the greeter asked me how my day was going and thanked me for coming to the Cracker Barrel.  The person who arranges for your seating asked me how my day was going and thanked me for coming to the Cracker Barrel.  The person who then seated me thanked me for coming to the Cracker Barrel. 

Our waitress took our order.  I ordered a hamburger steak with two country veggie sides.  We had a big discussion at what constituted a veggie, because I didn’t think fried apples should be classified as a vegetable.  I learned that it was ‘country vegetables’ which it seems are different from city vegetables.  That aside, I ordered the fried apples and the steak fries for my sides, and the meal came with some kind of rolls.  My wife ordered the country fried steak and she choose green beans and the fried apples as a side, but then changed the green beans to corn.

A manager came by and asked us how everything was going.  Some other staff member came by and asked how things were going and would I like a refill on my soda.  Then another manager came out with our rolls and assured us that our meal was coming right out, and of course wanted to know if we were doing okay.

At this point I made the comment to my wife that I was really getting sick and tired of people asking me if everything was okay.  

Our food came, our waitress did not bring the food, they have separate people for that.  I’m not sure how there are so many people out of work!  Cracker Barrel must have hired half the town.  Anyway, my wife’s plate not only had the country fried steak but had both green beans and corn along with the fried apples.

My meal also arrived with the fried apples and corn, I didn’t order corn but it looked good so I was happy with the mistake.  Our Waitress brought the bill and of course asked if everything was to our liking.  Seeing as we both had a mouthful of food we nodded ‘yes’.  I like the fact that they bring the bill first, that way I don’t have to wait for it when I want to leave.  We briefly looked over the bill to make sure they didn’t charge us for the extra side dish.  They didn’t.  A moment later somebody else showed up with my steak fries, and of course wanted to know if everything was okay.  Grrr!

Another manager showed up at the table and asked us if we were enjoying the meal and if everything was to our satisfaction.  I wanted to tell him everything was wonderful except for the fact that we were being constantly interrupted by staff people asking us if everything was okay.  But I kept my mouth shut.   My wife explained about all the food we got and the extra sides.  We made sure he knew we were not upset.  He said he would look into it, (not that we cared if he did or didn’t). 

Our waitress came back to refill our drinks, and of course wanted to know if everything was okay.  My wife made mention about the extra sides.  The waitress apologized and said she probably put the order in wrong.  We assured her that she didn’t because she had read it back to us and that we did get everything we ordered plus some.  Even after we assured her that all was good she apologized again, and hoped that our meal was to our satisfaction. 

I went to pay the bill.  All three cashiers were busy at the moment, but there was another employee standing there who asked me how my meal was, and wanted to make sure everything was okay.  He also assured me that a cashier would be free in just a moment and he would direct me to the cashier when one became available.  This stumped me a little bit,  I wear glasses but I’m not blind, certainly even a moron like myself would be able to figure out when a cashier was free.  But this guy did stay with me and tried to make small talk, all I really wanted was for him to go away.  Then two, count ’em, two cashiers opened up at the same time.  I took it upon myself to choose which one to go too and was heading to the closest one but I was wrong.  The man ushered me to the furthest one, so I took the extra half step not a big deal.  As he led me to the cashier he thanked me for choosing Cracker Barrel.   The cashier then asked me how I liked the hamburger steak and hoped everything was okay!  I was honestly amazed that I rejected all the witty sarcastic remarks that I could have made.  Instead I just thanked her very much and paid the bill and headed for the door.

I was so close.  I had my hand on the door and was heading outside.  But I wasn’t fast enough.  From behind I heard a voice talking to me.  I turned my head, an employee was opening the door for me and once again he hopped I had a pleasant dining experience and thanked me for choosing Cracker Barrel.  

I’m thinking the next time we go back and they constantly ask me if everything is okay I’m going to reply that no, everything is not okay.  I have Crohn’s disease so in about half an hour my stomach is going to hurt.   Also I work very hard at my job and I don’t get paid nearly enough.  I’m going to tell them that we heat our house using oil and I’m really worried about oil prices. I might throw in the fact that we have six cats and a husky and they are all getting up there in age and it seems like we are taking somebody to the vet every other week. And… and, well you did ask!

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The Waffle Shop is a very trendy breakfast/lunch restaurant here in State College. The food is always good and there is always a line to get inside. My wife and I decided to take Friday off work and thought what the heck, let’s go to the Waffle Shop after all the french fries are to die for. Due to the lines to get in and the noisy atmosphere the last time we dinned there was about a year ago.

As predicted, there was a line but it wasn’t too long. The first change we noticed was that they had installed a large flat screen TV over the cash so those waiting in line would have something to watch. Naturally the only thing that was showing on the TV was one long commercial for the Waffle Shop. I thought this odd seeing as we have never seen the commercial on TV and we were already in the restaurant, so what exactly was the point?

So we waited, and watched the annoying loop of the smiling chef flippin’ eggs, but really it was okay, we had fun watching the people. Finally the hostess who was standing about halfway into the restaurant pointed at us and then pointed to a table, ah yes, nothing in the world beats that personalized level of service. The table was set for one and I figured they are busy I’m sure they will get me flatware and some napkins, not a problem. We ordered our food and waited. I started to get a little annoyed as they seated us next to a wall that was about waist-high, it was more like a solid partition. There was not enough room for a person to pass by the back of my chair and the wall yet both wait staff and patrons alike managed to do just that and the wall was unforgiving. I can’t tell you how many time the back of my chair was bumped. Of course the way the tables were scattered there was no alternative route to the back of the restaurant, the kitchen and the front of the restaurant I must say it was an absolutely brilliant design.

When our food came the first thing that was apparent was the change in french fries. No longer did they serve steak fries now they serve wimpy little fries, to the credit of our waitress she did go to the kitchen to check if anything could be done and of course nothing could be done. She asked us if there was anything else she could get for us. Seeing as I don’t enjoy eating coleslaw with my fingers I asked for some flatware. I do enjoy a good fork now and again.

The Philly Cheese steak I ordered was a far cry from a PHILLY cheese steak but non the less it was very good. The hoagie that my wife ordered was also very good, except for the fries I really have no complaints against the food.

Too add to our dining experience a large party needed to be seated in an already crowded restaurant, but where do you seat a large group of people in an already crowded restaurant? No problem, not for the able staff at the Waffle Shop. One manager and a waitress lifted the empty table that was on our left and proceeded to lift it OVER OUR HEADS to the point where I had to duck so I didn’t get hit in the head by one of the steel legs, Lucky for me I was forced to duck as now I was able to cover my food with my head and shoulders to protect my food from anything that might fall from the underside of the table that was being transported OVER my head while we ate!

Trying to keep on a positive note I figured, “hey, at least I have the next topic for my blog” So you know what Waffle Shop? You can keep your fancy flat screen TV set, your lines, your pay by cash or check only, you can even keep your trendy preppy patrons and your crappy wimpy assed french fries. As for me? I’m going back to Denny’s where they don’t lift tables over your head while you eat.

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