Becoming Kosher and Orthodox in Budapest and NYC


Buying and Eating Kosher in Budapest
2010/06/06, 7:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So here we were, fridge empty, shelves and pantry empty, stomachs empty. But the kitchen sparkly clean and freshly Koshered!  We knew there is a Kosher Grocery over in the old Jewish Quarter of Budapest, 3 stops away by tram or subway. ADVICE: Never go food shopping when hungry! We bought a ton! Even though both D. and I are on low-carb diets, there was still a lot to choose from.  Cheese, milk deli, wine, frozen veggies, etc., some good stuff! Then, a short walk over to the Kosher butcher, who spoke no English, and had more tattoos than a sailor. Finally, ground beef! Hungary is not noted for beef, so it was like July 4th and birthdays all rolled into one celebration. Hamburger tonight!! Yahooo! Stocked up on chicken wings and chicken for Friday night.

WARNING: Kosher chicken wings in Hungary are not plucked! Feathers are included in the price!  We love Buffalo-style wings, but we will pass on it for now, till we get back to the States!

Back from shopping. We could write a whole Midrash (def: a set of commentaries on Biblical/Rabbinic interpretations) on how to organize meat/dairy in the fridge. Wow! Was that a challenge! Meat and dairy on the same shelf? What about pareve stuff like mayo and eggs? If an egg touches meat is it no longer pareve? If some milk spills on a carrot, do we throw out the carrot or make a cake? And let’s not even get started on a can of dog food! Does it get its own shelf since it is obviously not Kosher but nice and meaty??? After researching some web sites, D. arranged things perfectly, until I started to re-arrange things – not intentionally! I would put something back in a different place than where I found it. I would forget what goes where. I would just throw things around without thinking!

And  that is one of the points of keeping Kosher, as my sister wrote us. Keeping Kosher forces us to think about  God and our religion all the time. It makes us THINK! We cannot just take things for granted, but we always have to think about what we are doing. How much better would our lives be if we really  thought before taking any action or making  any decision? That’s the lesson for today!

D. is the Marine Drill Sargeant of Kashruth! If she were leading the Children of Israel, the entire tribe would be completely Kosher in no time!

I have to say, Kosher food has come a long way from what I remember way back when! Much better and tastier! The variety has increased as well, so there is no lack of things: sausages, salsa, herb-infused olive oils, cream cheese with chives and vegetables, Mangalica pork (NOT).

Finally, we put Tradition ahead of diet and bought Challah for this past Friday night. We got to the bakery around Noon on Friday, and by then all they had left were a few small loaves that were frozen, But for us it was like Manna from heaven! Now we know, on Monday we will place an order for next Friday pickup. We saw and smelled the delicious fresh-baked loaves that people had ordered, and it was mouth-watering. Carb-0verload, here we come!  The thawed Challah was good, but not like fresh.

And one last lesson: When life hands you stale Challah, make French Toast!

Nest installment: Eating and (not) cooking on The Sabbath.

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