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Pam R

eG Foodblog: Pam R - I dare you to PASSOVER this one

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Good Morning everybody. It's just before 6 am here and I thought I'd start this off before I get ready for work.

As I’m still relatively new around here, let me start off with a little intro. My name is Pam and I’m single and living in Winnipeg, Canada. When I was young my parents started a catering company called Desserts Plus. I grew up in the business – as most children of small business owners do. Our building was close to my school – so I would often walk over after classes and peel potatoes or wash dishes or do whatever else needed doing.

I went off to university in the big-ole US of A. Got my degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management and returned home. After a BRIEF stint with a large-chain restaurant, I thought “this sucks” and quit to go back to the family business.

Over the years the business has been different things. It started with the baking of high-end tortes … then it became a full-line kosher catering company… occasionally we’ve had a restaurant and run the food services in other locations (one summer at a golf course, one year at the Asper Jewish Community Campus and one school year at St. Boniface Collage – a French language University in Winnipeg). The largest part of our company now is actually retail sales. We bring in kosher products from other cities and wholesale/retail them.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered the thing I enjoyed the most was creating new recipes. After a good time procrastinating, I put knife to cutting board and pen to paper and wrote my first cookbook. Since it was published, I’ve started writing a bi-weekly food/recipe column for the local Jewish newspaper (Jewish Post and News) and have been working on getting things into other publications (which finally happened last week/this week with some of my stuff appearing in a paper in LA, Vancouver and the Jerusalem Post). Yay!

A typical week for me usually has me testing recipes. I luck out and often only have to try something a couple of times. There have been other occasions when I’ve had to try something at least 15 times before it worked the way I wanted it to.

This is not a typical week.

This week my mother, father, one other staff person and I will be preparing food for about 150 families. We’ll be feeding more than 1000 people over two days. The kicker is that EVERYTHING has to be prepared for pickup this Friday afternoon.

So, I’m going to show you what I eat this week (don’t be expecting too much) and I’m going to show you what it’s like to prepare this food. I’ll go into what “kosher” is – and I will explain what I can along the way. I’m not sure how detailed this should be. I don’t want to bore you! If I’m going on too much, somebody nudge me and let me know. If I’m not explaining enough for you, PLEASE PLEASE ask. I’m happy to answer what I can. I know that there are some very knowledgeable people on eGullet who I would be happy to have helping out answering any questions.

This blog is starting in one of the busiest weeks of the year for us… so I will try to post whenever I force myself to take a break. Towards the end of my week I’ll actually be enjoying a couple of days off – so if I miss anything I promise to try to catch up then.

**Disclaimer #1 - I am not at all orthodox (religious). I’m hoping to get some photos at my family Seders this week and will be posting on the Sabbath. **

Whew! Let’s get started.

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Good morning Pam R! Am looking forward to your blog very much. I lived four years in Winnipeg, and worked at the Collège...that must have been a challenging period of your business. I think you're very brave to blog during this wildly busy week! Hang in there!

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Someday every Jewish holiday will get it's own foodblog!

This will be a very educational foodblog, I think. Some of us will know these foods, some will not. But even those who do may see a slightly different perspective with this kind of full scale catering operation going on.

It's also oddly fascinating to me the way that people in the midst of something like this sometimes have to basically force themselves to eat during it. :smile: So yes, we won't be suprised if half a buttered bagel is sometimes a meal.

I’ll go into what “kosher” is – and I will explain what I can along the way. I’m not sure how detailed this should be. I don’t want to bore you!

Let people's questions drive this determination and you can't go wrong.

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Last night I prepared my iced coffee for today:

gallery_28660_3_100267.jpg

I use potato milk and a little caramel in it (everything is better with caramel). Into the fridge and in the morning I just add ice and have it for the car in the morning. I actually make a couple of bottles so that I can have it throughout the day if I wish. Otherwise I tend to stick to ice-water.

Along with the coffee is strawberries and nuts.

gallery_28660_3_72564.jpg (I'm taking all of the berries with me - but only a handfull of nuts)

PS: there will be no cute pet pictures (at least not of my pet – as he as he is no longer with us). If I can I may sneak in a couple of cute kid pics – not my kids, but they’re related to me.

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I am very much looking forward to this blog! I have never kept kosher, so I will have many questions.

Questions like: What are the foods served for the seder, and what are their significance? How does the ritual go when serving the seder? Do you have those neat plates with markings where all the food is supposed to go?

How long do you have to wait to keep from having meat and milk at the same "meal?" Can you have a steak, wait two hours, and then go out for ice cream?

I'll have lots more questions, but that's just a starter. Thanks.

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While I’m at work today, if you’d like to learn a little more about Passover, you can check out this link.

Passover Kashrut FAQ

What is Kosher you ask? You can look at this link to learn a little more about Kashrut in general. OU

If you want to wait, later I will post a simplified explanation of kosher/Kashrut.

See ya later, off to work.

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I am very much looking forward to this blog! I have never kept kosher, so I will have many questions.

How long do you have to wait to keep from having meat and milk at the same "meal?" Can you have a steak, wait two hours, and then go out for ice cream?

I'll have lots more questions, but that's just a starter. Thanks.

If you eat beef, kashrut dictates that you wait six (!) hours before consuming dairy.

However, if you eat dairy first, you must wait 30 minutes before consuming beef.

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I am very much looking forward to this blog! I have never kept kosher, so I will have many questions.

How long do you have to wait to keep from having meat and milk at the same "meal?" Can you have a steak, wait two hours, and then go out for ice cream?

I'll have lots more questions, but that's just a starter. Thanks.

If you eat beef, kashrut dictates that you wait six (!) hours before consuming dairy.

However, if you eat dairy first, you must wait 30 minutes before consuming beef.

Always, always keep this old saying at the forefront of your mind: "two Jews, three opinions."

And on that note: many rules of kashrut will differ from community to community. For example, Dutch Jews wait only one hour between consuming meat and then having milk products. Why? Good question. I don't know the answer. That seems to be the way the tradition was handed down in that community, but I don't know how it got started.

The six-hour wait is standard for most Orthodox Jews. Many Jews have started a "compromise" between the six-hour wait and the one-hour wait. They wait three hours. Again, I don't know how this started, but it is certainly picking up a lot of steam.

Are things clearer now? :laugh: Welcome to halachic Judaism!!

Pam -- I'm very much looking forward to reading this blog. Thanks for doing it during what is probably your busiest time of year!

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Welcome, and thank you in advance for doing this blog. I am tuned in, with great interest.

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I would be very interested in this thread....having made 2 very good Jewish e-friends 2 years ago and met another 2 on this board recently. Don't get to see any Jews in my part of the world, you know....

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Pam, I am in awe of you for doing this while taking care of all your Passover preparations and catering responsibilities. Wow !!!

I look forward to your posts.

jayne

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This will be fascinating! But the timing yikes! You have a full week without all of us around asking a gazillion questions. Just think of us as your cheering section Goooooo PAM!

Mmmm carmel and coffee.....Drool.

Must try

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wow, you're preparing for a frantic week, I'm very much looking forward to this blog!

Actually, you had me on board the minute you posted iced coffee :wub:

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Hey, and I thought I was busy cooking for 20 this weekend. Puts things in perspective..

I'm very much looking forward to this! Good luck and don't forget to breathe between cookin' and bloogin'!

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Good morning Pam R!  Am looking forward to your blog very much.  I lived four years in Winnipeg, and worked at the Collège...that must have been a challenging period of your business.  I think you're very brave to blog during this wildly busy week!  Hang in there!

Je ne parle pas francais - so yep, it was quite challenging. It was also very different food than what I'm used to doing - but on the up side, once lunch was served, it was pretty much dead for the rest of the day, so I actually started testing recipes for my cookbook there.

I'll have lots more questions, but that's just a starter. Thanks.

A lot of your questions have been answered by others (thanks) - some of your questions are better answered towards the end of my week - once the holiday begins. If I miss something later on, please remind me.


Edited by Pam R (log)

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Pam, I can't believe you're blogging this week.  You're nuts.

I've kind of been thinking the same thing..... :blink:

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Thanks for the encouragement everybody.

Now, on to lesson #1…

Kosher – What is it?

This is going to by HIGHLY simplified. Kosher food is NOT food that has been blessed by a Rabbi. It IS food that is prepared following a specific set of dietary laws given to the Jewish people thousands of years ago.

The Top Two, as I like to call them, of the kosher world:

1. Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. Eh? We aren’t allowed to mix milk and meat. No pepperoni pizza – no cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

2. Only certain animals may be eaten. Hmmm? To be technical here, an animal has to have split hooves and be ruminant (chew its cud). Whatzat?? Cows. Deer, sheep, bison.. all ok. (Giraffes are ok too…. but I’ve never heard of anybody eating one… can you imagine putting that neck on your Seder plate??) Pigs and umm… kangaroo aren’t. (I’m trying to think of another common meat other than pork that’s not allowed and am coming up blank).

Birds are a little tricky. No predatory birds are allowed and there should be a tradition of eating them in order to consider them kosher. Chickens and ducks aren’t a problem though some people won’t eat turkey. Why you ask? Because turkey is a bird of the new world – so how can there be a tradition of eating them? All I know is… well there’s a tradition of eating them in my family!

Fish – must have scales and fins. So…. That means no shellfish. Salmon, tuna, most whitefishes are all allowed.

Now, in addition to being limited to specific animals, they also have to be slaughtered and processed following a specific set of laws. A shoichet is a person who does the slaughtering. He will use an extremely sharp knife to slit the jugular vein in the neck. Then the meat goes through a process of salting and rinsing to draw out as much blood as possible.

Did I mention that only various cuts of meat are kosher? In most places in the world, it is rare to find somebody who can produce kosher cuts out of the rear end of animals. There are some tricky veins in there that are hard to remove and outside of the major Jewish centers, nobody’s doing it.

Most typical cuts of meat available (whether from a cow, sheep, etc.): ribeye, shoulder, chuck, ribs (flanken), tongue, liver and the king of all Jewish cuts of meat - BRISKET!

One last note on ‘kosher’ for now, is Parve (pareve). If you frequent the baking forums you may have read posts requesting ideas for parve baking. (somebody please correct me if I’m wrong but), Parve means neutral. This means that if a food is parve then it is neither milk nor meat and can then be eaten with either! Parve foods include: water, fruits, vegetables, grains, fish…and.. ummm… air.

If you are making a Garlic Roast Brisket for dinner, that means that EVERYTHING else you serve at that meal must be parve (or other meats). So you can’t use butter in the mashed potatoes or on the vegetables. You can’t bake a cake that has milk or butter in it. That’s why while most people shun dairy substitutes, those of us who are kosher cooks (and especially those in the kosher cooking business) often embrace them. We’d have very limited option if there was no margarine of non-dairy creamers and whipped toppings…. Later in the week you’ll see some of my parve creations.

I feel like I’m spewing too much… am I?

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Im' being yelled at to get back to work :angry:

Back later.


Edited by Pam R (log)

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[...]

2.  Only certain animals may be eaten.  Hmmm?  To be technical here, an animal has to have split hooves and be ruminant (chew its cud).  Whatzat??  Cows. Deer, sheep, bison.. all ok.  (Giraffes are ok too…. but I’ve never heard of anybody eating one… can you imagine putting that neck on your Seder plate??)  Pigs and umm… kangaroo aren’t.  (I’m trying to think of another common meat other than pork that’s not allowed and am coming up blank).[..]

Well, in some places it's not rare to eat horse meat or/and camel meat. Horses are treif (not kosher) because they split their hoofs internally, not with separate toes in the manner of goats, sheep, cows, etc. Are camels the same way? I know they aren't kosher, but they are definitely halal for Muslims. Rabbits and other rodents are treif because although they have separate toes, they don't chew cud.

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PamR, Good Luck this week and thanks for taking this on. (All these years I've thought that Parve meant Kosher... :unsure::wacko: )

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Looking forward to all your creations this week!

Tell your family to stop yelling...you need to be here to feed our hungry eyes! :laugh:

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Up until now, I have been in complete shock that anyone would attempt such a Herculean task as blogging+kashrut explanations+observing Passover in the same time frame! :shock:

I can do one maybe, but not all three, without feeling like the guy in the circus who keeps 25 plates spinning at the same time :wacko: ... none too simple ...

May you go from strength to strength as you tackle your blog, Pam! :biggrin:

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[...]

2.  Only certain animals may be eaten.  Hmmm?  To be technical here, an animal has to have split hooves and be ruminant (chew its cud).  Whatzat??  Cows. Deer, sheep, bison.. all ok.  (Giraffes are ok too…. but I’ve never heard of anybody eating one… can you imagine putting that neck on your Seder plate??)  Pigs and umm… kangaroo aren’t.  (I’m trying to think of another common meat other than pork that’s not allowed and am coming up blank).[..]

Well, in some places it's not rare to eat horse meat or/and camel meat. Horses are treif (not kosher) because they split their hoofs internally, not with separate toes in the manner of goats, sheep, cows, etc. Are camels the same way? I know they aren't kosher, but they are definitely halal for Muslims. Rabbits and other rodents are treif because although they have separate toes, they don't chew cud.

Camels are treyf (as is camel milk).

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