This is a ridiculous piece of news: NY City Mayor Bloomberg bans cholent donations to homeless recovering addicts. Seriously.
Mike Bloomberg can ban salt, trans fats, cholent, kugel or whatever he wants, but ultimately G-d decides who’ll stay healthy and who won’t.
Of course eating the right foods without pigging-out is important (otherwise I wouldn’t post to the HJC blog).
But, cholent, challah, kugel, and other Shabbos delicacies are served on Shabbos, not every day. It’s highly unlikely that homeless people are eating this stuff on a daily basis.
On the one hand, you have a mitzvah, which helps those who are down and out, promotes goodwill, and prevents unnecessary waste; on the other hand, you have a bustling busybody who confuses salt with Satan.
Anyway, you can’t legislate poor eating habits away. What will end up happening is you’ll create a massive cholent black market. Instead of fake Louis Vuitton™ and Coach™ handbags, a creative, entrepreneurial Manhattan Chinatown sales woman will whisper, “Lady, you want cholen? Only nine dollah for you,” as you walk by, and attempt to lure you into the backroom of her shop. There, a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) will furtively stir a giant pot of cholent with kishka, whisking it quickly into containers disguised as Chinese take-out.
Listen, an unhealthy diet is a problem for many (I think the primary issue for everyone in America is portion size), but there are worse problems. If people let a Mayor or any other elected official do their menu-planning for them, then they can expect their elected officials to do their diagnosing and thinking and living for them, too.
Probably like many of you reading this blog, I’m taking a short break from Pesach (Passover) cleaning. Some tips:
White vinegar (the kind people who use apple-cider vinegar don’t use) makes a great, non-toxic cleaner, good for windows, glass, metal. So does baking soda, good for bathroom surfaces (use like Ajax).
HJC Highly Recommended: The Breslov Haggadah published by the Breslov Research Institute is wonderful. We have Haggadahs from every tradition but I admit, this is my favorite. BRI’s description: The classic Pesach Haggadah, accompanied by Rebbe Nachman’s insights and other commentary drawn from Breslov and general sources. Includes the complete story of the Exodus and a wealth of Pesach anecdotes, plus Rebbe Nachman’s teachings about Chol HaMoed, the counting of the Omer, and the holiday of Shavuot.
We’ve been using POH toothbrushes for years, based on our dentist’s recommendation. If you order them, get five or so extra to keep on hand for cleaning the seal of the refrigerator, food processor and mixers, any fine grating or air vents on kitchen electronics, also good for the grooves in electrical cords. Dip in rubbing alcohol, vinegar, bleach or plain soapy water and scrub. Use a toothpick to lift off any gook.
Start Ripening: You can buy unripe papayas as early as next week. Leave them at room temperature so they’re ripe for Pesach.
My favorite Guide to Passover, by Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz, Z”TL. This brilliant and kindly man would pick up the phone any hour of the day or night to answer questions from anyone. He passed away in 2007, but his sons carry on updating the book.
I hope to post some recipes next week. (At least, that’s the plan). We’re non gebrokts, which means no matzoh-meal or wet-matzoh recipes. I like to keep it really simple, especially concentrating on quality of ingredients. I make an effort to get the best produce, organic if possible and I plan menus around what will be ripe. When we have guests, I try to have a fruit salad or fruit punch on hand.
I also try to get more unexpected produce such as fresh coconut and other tropical fruit. I prefer to go to Manhattan’s Chinatown to buy them if I have time, the quality and the variety are outstanding. Oh, and I definitely avoid black-market fake Rolexes and Louis Vuitton luggage.
My favorite food tip: I bought an inexpensive citrus juicer several years ago (it was a Corningware, I don’t think they make them any more). It worked so well I bought another one for year-round use. I juice tons of limes, lemons and oranges, a couple of blood oranges and a red grapefruit or two, and freeze them in good-quality zip-lock bags in assorted sizes. Then I have “fresh” citrus juice on hand throughout the eight days of Pesach.
Photo of NY China Town Merchant and Woman Buying Bananas by PBase
All photos by chaya rivka unless otherwise credited.
Such a lovely wsibete! I don’t know anything about Jewish cooking. I found your wsibete when I googled bubeleh, curious if it meant sweet little boy’, cause that is what bubili’ would mean. And here I am, discovering Jewish cooking.Since I’m not Jewish and I don’t have many Jewish people in my life (I have only one Jewish friend), this never really came up, but . I really don’t like the word Shiksa. My mom’s German, and in German Schickse means something like stupid, mean girl’. I know that German and Yiddish have about 700 years of language change and different influences between them, but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable with it.That doesn’t make the wsibete any less lovely. Mazel tov for finding and spreading your happiness. (And before you think I have anything against Yiddish/Hebrew words . mazel’ made it into Dutch as mazzel’, which means getting lucky’. People in Holland Jews and gentiles alike sometimes say de mazzel’ as an informal way of saying goodbye’. I don’t think many people know they are wishing the person they’re leaving happiness, but I like it all the same.)
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