Monday, January 2, 2012

Food Goes MoShY!

Growing up, there were always staples in the family fridge, and they're all foods that I associate with my father. Pears, apples, shelled hardboiled eggs, tomatoes (which I now know aren't supposed to go in the fridge, but that my father would slice up and eat with a dash of salt). In the cabinets you could always find canned tuna, Hamburger Helper, pasta, pasta sauce, velveeta, and every other Middle America staple there is. Without fail, certain things were always there. We were a meatloaf-eating, pork cutlet-cooking, steak-burning family. As an adult with what my friend Dan says is a really unbelievably healthy kitchen, I have acquired the same kitchen staples mentality except in my kitchen, a kosher vegetarian kitchen, it's all about the vegetables and fruits.

Wild Rice, Basmati Rice, Brown Rice, a variety of lentils, polenta, agave, natural unsalted peanut butter and cashew butter, tons of spices (especially those of the Indian variety), canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes, pistachios and other nuts, every type of gluten-free four you can imagine (rice, almond, the blend). In my fridge you'll find -- without fail -- kale and other leafy greens, chia seed, flax seed, and on my counter there are always pears, butternut and acorn squash, tomatoes, lemons and limes.

I'm sort of a health nut these days I guess. A vegetarian nutjob.

Although, I take that back. Over Shabbat dinner this past week, I discovered there's actually a name for what I am -- MoShY. (Mad props to @melschol and hubsters.) For those of you (like me formerly) who aren't in the know, that's "Meat on Shabbos and Yom Tov."

Yes, it happens. Despite my kitchen being all veggie (and practically vegan since I live on Daiya vegan cheese these days), I do eat meat when I'm invited out for Shabbat, mostly because I feel bad laying all of my weird food things on people.
Gluten free
No white potatoes
Please no white rice
No meat

It seems like a huge pain, right? When people invite  you over, you can't expect them to bend to your every allergy, and so far I've only experienced one Shabbat where I was pretty much unable to eat anything that was served except the salad. But I've experienced too many accidental gluten consumption incidents to be as gentle about my restrictions as I used to. Lucky for me, I really don't get invited out much and the friends who do consistently have me over are willing to deal with my crazy. But, like I said, I eat meat when I'm with them.

Why the emphasis on me eating me out of simplicity and not religious necessity? Well, there are those that hold that it's significant if not mandatory to consume meat on Shabbat. Why? A Q&A article points to the notion that we're supposed to call the Sabbath a "day of delight" from Isaiah. For the rabbis of the Talmud, the article says, this meant food and drink, because in the days of yore, food and drink -- especially wine and meat -- were things that were special, expensive, a treat. However, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav ultimately says,
There is no obligation to eat meat or drink wine on Shabbat. Rather, since it is assumed that most people take more pleasure in eating meat than in other foods, and in drinking wine more than other drinks, therefore they should increase in [consuming] meat and wine according to their means.
For someone like me, who doesn't garner great joy in consuming meat, I suppose this means that for me, to delight in food and drink on Shabbat would consiste of some delicious Ethiopian Lentils and a big cup of coffee! But then there's this article over on Chabad about Judaism and vegetarianism that, after explaining various takes on meat-eating in Jewish literature, says, "According to this approach, it may be cruel to not eat meat, because doing so robs the animal of its chance to serve a higher purpose." I don't buy that explanation, but feel free to read the entire article and let me know what you think. If everything has the ability to be uplifted to serve a higher purpose, then isn't a cow doing more by consuming lots of vegetation over a lifetime than by being killed and consumed in one quick meal?

So, at any rate, I'm MoShY! For now, anyway. It just makes life easier. Are you a member of the MoShY tribe? What do you think about Jews, meat, and vegetarianism?