Jan 1, 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 Chabad.org 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? 

12 comments:

Drew said...

I'm right there with you and so glad you wrote this post! I've been confusing shabbos hosts left and right since I really started working on the plant based diet thing. I don't want to be a pain in the rear end so I'll eat meat if there aren't enough veggie sides to make a whole meal. I don't like doing that but I hate being a pain even more. :-)

I'd also wondered about Judaism's view of vegetarianism/veganism but I figured that if it's better for my body, my mind and therefore my health then what argument could there be against it?

Melissa S-G said...

I cannot take credit for MoShY actually... My friend Julie (whose father was our local meat guy until very recently) shared the term with me when she was running a shuk and the two of us would laugh about her selling it and me being sent to buy it.
Oh, and its a good thing you're willing to eat chicken b/c otherwise we couldn't have you over as much. D doesn't believe in dairy/meat-free Shabbat meals.

Leah Sarah said...

I often have dairy shabbos meals when it's just me and my other half or friends who are 'cool' with that. We don't generally make a point to serve fish, and some people just aren't okay with that. :P For me, having a delicious dairy meal really is partaking in the delights of shabbos!! Meat, to me, gets boring and sometimes gross. I was vegetarian for a number of years and sometimes still regress back to my meat-is-icky days.

And lets be honest. Kosher cheese is a freaking fortune, so it's as much as a delicacy to me as meat(chicken)!

Dena said...

I feel like a jerk when I have to tell people I keep kosher, no gluten and no beef. People don't invite me over much so it's not too much of a problem. The people who do know the issues and try to accommodate...and probably roll their eyes at me every once in a while :-)

Anat said...

Chaviva, I think the whole "me eating me" part is disturbing :) typo?

Ms. Minister of the Interior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mottel said...

Cows, as part of the creation, lack the ability to elevate things beyond their own level. Only by doing a mitzvah, a transcendent act, can we bring an branch, a steak, a piece of leather or the like, to a higher level. Thus as much grass as a cow eats, it will always be a cow. When we eat the kosher meat, prepared properly and eaten for the sake of a mitzvah, it is elevated. Yesterday the cow said moo, today it says Shma Yisroel.

Leigh said...

I was vegetarian til I got married (now i only eat chicken and turkey), but during the 2 and 1/2 years I was veg and eating at other people's houses for Shabbos, everyone seemed pretty willing to accomodate. There seemed to always be more than enough side dishes as well!

As for the "supposed to eat meat on Shabbos rule" I was told that the meat is supposed to enhance Shabbos and make it special, and for me it certainly wouldn't!

That being said, i can totally understand eating it out on Shabbos if you also have to turn down challah and side dishes. I also felt bad making too many demands on a host!

andalusiaonmymind said...

@Mottel

"When we eat the kosher meat, prepared properly and eaten for the sake of a mitzvah, it is elevated. Yesterday the cow said moo, today it says Shma Yisroel."

Huh...?

Mottel said...

@andalusiaonmymind
What?

andalusiaonmymind said...

@Mottel
My apologies, you'll have to forgive my ignorance, I was just at a loss as to what this meant.

Mottel said...

@andalusiaonmymind: No problem. Basically, by eating meat, we elevate the the cow - with it we are able to have the energy - and thus uplift it - to daven, learn torah, and say shema yisroel

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