Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

New scarf

A few weeks ago, I was wearing my scarf, and it had slipped back on my head, as it often does.  When that happens, I usually pull it forward around my neck, finger comb my hair back into place, and pull it back into place. This time, when I started to pull it forward, it started to rip as though it were tissue. Here is a picture:

 
See how threadbare it is.  There was no sense in repairing it.  Well, I've missed it.  So I decided to use some of my unbleached muslin to make a new one.   So I cut out a square about the same size, and hemmed it.  It took all afternoon, but here it is. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Preparing for Shmittah: Preserving the Harvest

Let's suppose you are a Jewish person living in Israel who has taken the nazirite vow (yes, i know this is discouraged). Let us further suppose that as a nazarite, you do not believe you may drink beer, whiskey, saki, or any other form of alcohol. This means you may not use any form of vinegar either.
Since you live in Israel, you are supposed to follow the shmittah year, which is coming up a little more than a year away. (The shmittah year forbids any cultivation, planting, or harvesting which means it's effects extends beyond that year. You are allowed to eat that which grows of itself, but if you don't have access to a tree, that doesn't help you. )
For the purposes of this discussion we are going to ignore the rabbinic permission to buy foreign food.
So, next year you are going to need to put up a harvest of food, or you are going to be dependent on the stores set up by the rabbis, which I seriously doubt stock organic food.
Grains and beans are no problem, since they are usually sold dry anyway. They are uncomplicated to store. Dairy and meats are not a problem. You can also dehydrate some fruits and vegetables. I suppose canned food is also an option, but it's not a very healthy one. Lots of nutrition teachers emphasize the importance of fresh foods, but they are sadly lacking here. The only enzymes in this diet would come from any raw or cultured dairy. I think we can agree this is not really enough.
The solution I thought of is cultured fruits and vegetables. However, the recipes I have found seem to eliminate this solution. Often they recommend the fermented foods be used up within 6 months. This makes me think of the long ocean voyages which brought sauerkraut, and the sauerkraut lasted much longer than that time frame. Furthermore, many of the recipes insist on using whey, which would prevent all those chutneys and pickles from being eaten with meat due to a rule in the kosher diet forbidding mixing meat and dairy in the same meal. Ironically, this is the time they would be of the most value due to their enzyme content. Lastly, the inclusion of vinegar would be a problem for our nazirite.
So, my first question is, how can you make sure that all your various kinds of pickles will last three or four years?
And my second question is can you make chutney under these restrictions?
That is, no whey or dairy, no vinegar, is a living food, and can last three to four years. (The four years is in case they reconstituted the Sanhedran and declared a Jubilee year, which would have the same restrictions.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Healthy Diets vs. Community

I just found an interesting site: Whole9 which recommends you follow their plan strictly for 30 days with no cheating even for holidays and other social events. Considering what whole foods advocates say about the various things they think are bad (I tend to follow Weston A. Price or Jordan Rubin, but Paleo seems easier), this is not a bad idea, but I have long been bothered by the problem about what to do with those events. If we are going to transform our society into one in which healthy food choices are the norm, we need to deal with celebrations not as places where you should just cheat a little, but as places where healthy, good tasting things are served. With both Purim and a wedding coming up in less than 30 days, I would like to know how to participate without cheating or depriving myself. For Purim, it is customary to make food/candy baskets to give to your friends and to the poor. What inexpensive things can I put in such a basket which will have an appropriately festive air while not damaging the health of those to whom I give a basket? If it were my wedding (which it isn't, but hopefully I will not have to wait too much longer) what could I serve that would still make it feel like a wedding, but be healthy for my guests? What can I bring for lunch to work that doesn't require a microwave or bread? What could people throw from homecoming and Fourth of July floats instead of candy? What foods ands desserts could someone bring to a pot luck (especially a Shabbat pot luck where it needs to be prepared the previous day and cannot be reheated)?