i want you so bad

November 28, 2010

thanksgiving as a vegetarian was unexpectedly awesome.  people seem to focus on the turkey as the iconic holiday dish, but they forget that it’s one of the rare american meals in which vegetables – almond green beans, mashed basil sweet potatoes, and roasted succotash at my family’s table – actually fill up the majority of a the plate.  and, yes, stuffing is a vegetable in my book.  i don’t feel the need to carry the majority of the cultural elements of my upbringing on the east coast to new home in the middle east, but thanksgiving is a gem that deserves a place in my life.

speaking of food, here’s some visual imagery of the current, general situation in israel:

+1 = real parmesan from italy at 14nis for 100g…i used to have to go to a specialty shop to find this, but now it’s available in most supermarkets, and only about 6 shekels more per 100g than the inferior israeli variety (israel makes some lovely cheese, and probably some quality parm-like ones, but that which is available at this particular supermarket is not one of them.)  anyway, one point for you, israel, you win my consumerism.  um, and i guess kind of italy too?  whatever, the point is that this cheese had made this country a better place and might solve the israeli-palestinian conflict.

-1 = fake cheese.  i thought that my eyes forever escaped forced view of this imposter when i left america, but no.  “processed cheese food” has spread like the bubonic plague all around the world (way before i got here, i just have never seen it advertised in this quantity).  this product is called “pizzarella,” fake mozarella, and anyone that actually reads the label will see that the word “cheese” is no where to be found, only the phrase “milk protein and vegetable fat.”  ok, they should think of a better phrase to describe the stuff…but the name “processed cheese food” has always annoyed me because it’s not cheese, so cheese should not be in the name.  how about processed dairy food?  anyway, it even looks gross in the picture, the way it flakes apart instead of streaming in dynamic strings of genuine cheesy goodness.  in any case, i am appalled.  minus one point for israel’s gastronomic landscape.  i understand that people should have the right to buy this product, but it should be hid in the bottom of the refrigerated area in shame.

+1 jerusalem artichokes!  they are neither jerusalemite nor artichokes, but they are my favorite tuber.  they go for about a million dollars a pound in the states but here they cost about a half a shekel, or 10 cents, each.   and jerusalem artichoke soup is part of the top 10 reasons that i adore the colder seasons.  oh, this is my local friendly supermarket guy, scanning a horrid mistake that i made: non-baby raw spinach…my salad tastes like a bowl of tree leaves.

+.75 i have finally found an adequate pasta place to serve as cheap eats for groups of struggling 20 somethings like me.  until now, hummus ben sira was my go to empty-wallet meal out with friends, and still stands as the establishment that i feel offers diners the best deal in the city, but man cannot live on garbanzo alone.  pasta with a choice of about 10 sauces is whipped up for you in a jiffy at just 20 shekels, and added toppings and veggies for a few more.  the down side is that it tastes like 20 shekel pasta, or at least what i ordered.  on the other hand, there are so many places in this city that uncreatively serve what tastes like 20 shekel pasta  but charge you 50.

two fun little links starts NOW!

1. um, i want this for chanukah.  SO BAD.

http://www.bttrventures.com/

or not…cuz they only ship to the US.  boo.

2. how neat…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXQAgzfwuNQ

huffing and puffing

November 21, 2010

and now for an angry rant, by ronit kory:

this whole darn world’s political opinion about the situation here annoys me.  it’s challenging enough to find an opinion *inside* this country that i agree with now that leftist zionism is practically dead, let alone the painfully one-sided pieces from abroad.  every single blog post or comment on a newspaper article that i come across either contains blind worship of israel and fear/ apathy/ hatred of palestinians or blind victimization of palestine and vilification/ absolute condemnation of israel.  and what furthers my disturbed disposition is that it seems like no one has bothered to simply look up two basic definitions in the dictionary (it’s on the internet now, folks, you don’t even have to pick up a book):  occupation and genocide.  the former group would like to believe and persuade you in their thinking that neither exists here, while the latter insists that they both do, to the point of nazism.  the fact that i’ve read almost no statement from my passionate fellow internet users or heard a verbally expressed opinion from an outsider that recognizes the first of these things while denying the second is troubling and despairing.  why does everyone have to be so radically pro one thing and anti the other to the point of either denying what is obvious or that of twisting half truths?  since when is the world full of the purely innocent and the purely evil, the only situation that would allow for any side being blamelss, a bold claim both views hold for their team?  isn’t there anyone reasonable out there?!?!  gosh darnit world, stop pissing me off, i’m trying to enjoy my morning!

this concludes an angry rant by ronit kory.

in less infuriated news, i’ve happily moved to jerusalem proper and am working for an non-profit called musalaha here in town.   for the first time in my life, i leave the office (yes, i work in an office, and i don’t understand why people complain about them – they’re clean and there’s free coffee!) with the blissful feeling that i’m actively working towards bettering the world in some minuscule way.

random pics from my resurrected iphone (thanks, oz)

omg it’s so close it’s so close!!!!  i wanna ride it!!! it’s so sleek and smooth looking!  i’m so excited!!! go jerusalem!!!  go israel! yay!

nothing says class like an israeli wedding dress!  will someone please tell me *what* is *wrong* with my *people?*

that’s the bathroom in my new rented apartment.  if you say you’ve seen uglier tile in your life then you are a dirty liar.

really, guys?

October 25, 2010

a friend of mine recently visited a food blog that she thought i might like called ottolenghi.  i did, in fact, find it interesting, but what i found more interesting is that three out of the four chefs who founded this highly successful “fresh foods take-away” (think simple, natural, mostly mediterranean dean and deluca) shop that now has at least four locations in england are israeli.  so i decided to do a little googling, see what other israeli born chefs are wandering around the globe.  i recall seeing an israeli chef on the food network show “chopped” while spending time in the US this summer, and after unsuccessful internet research to find his name, i instead learned that two others had also competed on the show: einat admony and  siggy solitto.  shachaf shabtay is an israeli chef who opened up restaurants in mumbai, the czech republic, serbia, and, finally, tel aviv (thank you, mr shabtay, for at least giving a little back to the homeland).  oded shwartz has published more than a handful of cookbooks in the UK and SA.  gadi weinreich is the head chef of one of the highest grossing restaurants in nyc!   super hip miami mixologist elad zvi was a panelist on iron chef.   i could go on if i wanted to spend more than 10 minutes looking into this.  so, what can we make of it all?  obviously the number of israelis emigrants that are entering and shaping the culinary world is far greater than would be expected from the number of expats that exist-around 700,000.

good for them.  good for us.  on one hand, i think this is just peachy.  why wouldn’t i be proud that my countrymen are making a splash on the gastronomic scene, giving israel a good name among a sea of gruesome (but sometimes deserved) publicity?  i want them to become worldly, to travel to places that stretch and mold them into something greater than they could become in this tiny country.  it’s wonderful that they are realizing their dreams and finding success, but please, i beg of you guys (as if someone’s reading this) pay it forward, or backward, should i say.  of course we should venture out of our own land-everyone should-but after a few years, we should bring back to it the things we’ve learned.  some people might feel that israel is no longer their home.  fine.  maybe just come back once in a while to share the knowledge?  maybe just see israel as another potential location for one of your successful business ventures?  or if you’ve become just plain anti, ok, you have an excuse, but only you.

to say that anyone should be forced to live in a country that they don’t want to is ludicrous, but i also think that many israelis who do feel a deep and personal connection to the land leave permanently because life is harder here than it is in the west.  many have already forgotten what their grandparents and even parents fought for, and barely appreciate the existence of a safe haven for our people.  many see the injustices, the violence, and choose to escape instead of stay to help solve it.   i recently talked with a person who complained that people like him-ashkenazi jews-were the privileged class in israel, siting the injustices even other jews here suffer, let alone the arab israelis, let alone the palestinians.  yes, buddy, i know, but what are you going to do about it?  leave, of course!  get on the next plan to america and escape the problem instead of using his so called privileged status as a rich ashkenazi jewish israeli as a platform for change.  “it’s not good for me here,” he said, “i could live so much more comfortably in america (read: money).”  you know what i call that?  a coward.   he refused to join the army out of principle, which i don’t identify with but can respect,  but did he, or others like him, choose to serve the community in some other way?  heck, even volunteering with amnesty international, which outside of israel is pretty much anti-israel, counts as community service equivalent to military service according to the government.  not that it’s just him- most of those who have left, or have expressed to me a desire to do so, are tired of the corruption, of the fighting, but are more interested in relocating to a place full of opportunity, so that they can selfishly enjoy life, instead of nobly standing as a part of the solution.  it’s the bigots, the extremists that can find no compromise, who are the most steady population, staying here out of fervent religious zionism.  people with what i consider to be progressive ideas flee, while those with fanatical ideals not only stay, but have a million babies each.  what ever happened to secular zionism?  i miss you…come back, and bring some the emigrants with you.

bah!

October 21, 2010

why is taste such a hard beast to tackle?   why do gustatory urges rule the majority of us?  as a human i’m given the ability to reason and to make moral decisions, yet i defy both in the choices of what i consume.  how can the primitive desire for a fleeting sensation on my tongue trump my fancy pants modern human brain?  gosh darn you, nature!  i will conquer you if it’s the last thing i do!

but here’s the biggest question: why have i taken an interest in the only industry where vegetarianism is problematic (well, that and the leather industry, or the handbag industry, or the black market ivory trade…)?  of all things, why did i have to pursue food?  when i started my apprenticeship i gave up my ideals for the sake of learning, an idea within the confines of my ethical framework as i don’t actually see eating meat as evil, rather as needless, wasteful, harmful, and inconsiderate in this day and age.  i was compromising, but only on what i feel is a “better” lifestyle and not what i feel is the only “right” lifestyle.  but for now i won’t be joining the culinary world-i just need to make some dough to save up for school next year (regular college, not culinary school), so do i have an excuse anymore?  no.  none at all, except my incredibly obnoxious taste buds.

all i feel towards myself concerning this issue is a hint of disappointment, but i also feel as if i didn’t have a choice if i wanted to gain the experience that i have.  well, enough experience has been had for now-i’m only going once a week these days- and when i go back tomorrow i’ll abstain, no matter how uncomfortable.

ahhhhhhhrrrggggg!!!!  frustratttionnnnnnnuhnuh

other thoughts:

1. i really really can’t stand how when i press the backspace button and am not in a forum in which i can type it sends me to the previous page.  doesn’t anyone know how to turn that feature off?  if i want to go back i’ll hit the back button, thank you.

2. there is so much sorrow in the world and it can be overwhelming

3.  i am about to trim my nails with a clipper, as opposed to with my teeth, for the first time in probably 15 years, and am very proud of myself.  does this mean i have 15 years worth of nails in my appendix?

4. i never claimed that i’d refrain from being gross in this blog

5. for the time being, i’m one of the fortunate ones

ok, i hope that all you other fortunate ones, you blessed people with food on your plates and a roof over your heads and access to computers have a super fantastic day.  🙂

adina is amazing

September 11, 2010

so…it’s a lazy weekend.   i’m sprawled on the couch, enjoying an episode of  ‘the big bang theory’ (“that’s how we roll in the shire!”) via my laptop and a pair of earphones, when i am distracted by the alluring smell of dark chocolate.

i go to the kitchen where my sister, adina,  is licking a plastic spatula.

me: what are you making?

adina: chocolate covered bananas

*yes!*

me: yum!  can we cover them in chopped nuts?

adina: i already did

*double yes!*

me: omg! can we freeze them so they’re like popsicles?

adina: they’re already in the freezer

*yes infinity!!!*

best. sister. ever.

and some other random pics from my iphone…3gs…it was my dream until i dropped it into a toilet the second day of my apprenticeship…now after 250 shekels it has come back to life, but i need to replace the lcd screen…ebay $25 screen and home instillation vs 350 more shekels for someone else to do it…well, i’ve always considered myself a risk taker.  and poor.

speaking of my apprenticeship….

having tons o’ fun…learning a bunch…it’s a great experience 🙂

if only the two groups could get along like this outside of the restaurant biz….

remember what i said about limes?  and all god’s children said ‘amen’

the night i discovered one of the most interesting beers i’ve ever tasted…

it was so complex, intricate and full of flavor…but the final verdict is that it’s a tad too sweet…i almost had to sip it like a digestif….it took a century to get through half the bottle, and in the end i just swiped the rest of my friend’s leffe and combined the two.  sacrilegious, i know…don’t tell anyone.

the lat time i tried wheatgrass was in 2005.  i thought to myself: self, your palette has surely evolved in the last 5 years.  yeah, apparently it hasn’t.  still tastes disgusting!

hm, that was a lot of pics…anyway…toodaloo

shoo

September 6, 2010

1. it’s only 10:14 pm and i’m tired 😦
2. i have a blog 🙂
3. i like dogs. a lot. 🙂
4. i’m doing an apprenticeship at a nationally top 15 restaurant 🙂
5. it’s unpaid 😦
6. but they feed me 🙂
7. today i was told i’m not really jewish because of my beliefs 😦
8. i don’t take that kind of trash from anyone, a fact which is now known to the accuser
9. (i’m snapping my fingers and glaring)
10. i casually watched an episode of glee with some friends who view it religiously, and it seems that i have been brainwashed into its sing song glory
11. today i researched which cast members are jewish and smiled at the relatively large percentage
12. i now realize that i was interested and felt pride in their accomplishments because i feel as if i am a part of their group
13. i do not feel this same sense of ‘rooting for the team’ when i find out that some successful individual believes in what i do, or went to the same school as i did, or is american like i am (although i do enjoy reminding israelis of josie katz’s place of birth)
14. this is my people
15. i have no other
16. why did i put this in a numbered list?
17. who cares, i’ll do what i want, and i’ll believe what i want, gosh darnit!
18. let’s make it to 20!
19. i am ever blessed, and i love this life that is part of that blessing
20. good night, dear ones

get back

August 25, 2010

well, well, jerusalem…i like what you’ve done to yourself!  i get back to the homeland and am met with a big hug in the form of an authentic korean restaurant (owned by koreans!) in the middle of town, as well as the long awaited existence of limes, available in the grocery store!   and, what do you know, there’s some patron silver in the cabinet at our house.  margaritas, anyone?   i guess my future lime crusade in israel has been cancelled…sorry, guys.

the heat evened out the score though… i feel like i’m an ant being burned by the mischievous neighbor’s brat with a magnifying glass…

Trying

July 28, 2010

The end of my American summer is soon approaching, and the end of my American summer job is approaching even sooner. With only four days of waitering left and less than 10% of the sum of my loans saved, I started the day before yesterday intent on achieving the goal of not spending a dime for 24 hours.  I’d eat the employee meal between shifts and skip the green tea frappacino (how i wish they’d export this commodity to the holy land…it’d make up for a lot of wrongs in the region), and since I’d be working a double there would be no consumerist temptation awaiting me on the way home.

Thoughts of how I’d save a good ten bucks that day made my 95 degree walk to the bus stop slightly more pleasant, but the lack of funds on my metro card quickly dashed my dreams of frugality to smitherines…smitherines that I probably owe to some bank, and i’m not quite sure I even know what they are or if I spelled them right.

“Ok,” I thought to myself as i sat on a clean, cushy orange seat of my beloved dc metro, “transportation is a necessity, but no spending startingggg…now!”

I soon arrived at work, routinely opening my lock-less locker, where I’m not really supposed to leave anything over night, and reached in for the half of my uniform that i’m too inconvenienced to take with me after each shift. My shoes were missing. Now, if my shoes had been leather, or name brand, or even in one piece, I might have understood the logic: i had stupidly left them in a vulnerable position and they were consequently stolen either by a female coworker or by one of the central americanly short male members of the kitchen staff. But my poor shoes were in sorry shape, and i can more easily imagine someone tossing them in order to put them out of their misery. the soles were so worn down that my feet stood at an outward slant, the holes so large that my socks were instantly wet upon reaching any small puddle or spill. Their backs had been crudely removed with scissors from the host stand inbetween table visits because the ironic pain of the inflexible synthetic material’s tightness after trying to stuff in a would-be-comforting insole was unbearable.

My shoes were gone, and I was upset. Despite my suffering through weeks of constant foot pain to avoid spending $17 to replace my get-what-you-pay-for shoes, i was suddenly forced to do just that, only this time I’d need to cough up at least twice that much, and on my fourth to last day of work in the seven minutes left before the morning meeting too.  After informing the freshly but not uncommonly annoyed by me manager, I raced in my server uniform and bright pink metallic flats few blocks to the sporting goods store, where I snagged a pair of women’s black Reebok classics, then quickly unsnagged them realizing I could probably save a few by buying the same shoes from the boys section, and ran back to work just in time for the meeting.

I had wasted 35 unnecessary dollars, but now that I was fully prepared, there’d be no need for extra spending that day.  What I just wrote would have been a true statement if the employee meal hadn’t been unusually repulsive that day: chicken “pucks” and rice.  Rice being the only vegetarian option, and not a spectacularly nutritious one, I bought a salad.

Well, I tried…I suppose I succeeded in temporarily taming the compulsive, consumerist beast within, but it seems that my current environment makes accomplishing even one day of spending abstinence a non-option.

it’s been too long…

June 30, 2010

i haven’t posted in a while, and i would apologize for that, but that would be sort of assuming that people who excitedly anticipate my posts exist….

i don’t have much to say, except that so far this summer has  been nothing short of lovely, almost perfect, and that i am exceedingly glad that i made the decision to spend it in america.   wouldn’t it be wonderful if i could just gather all my beloved friends and family into one country? or at least one hemisphere?  sigh…

a few highlights?  not exactly highlights, more like, blurbs, of my recent existence:

1.  i am considering getting a tattoo, and the controversy found in the 93 comments this statement received on facebook  has sparked some regret in making this thought public, as i’m not the type that enjoys offending my elders.  but i still may do it…i may not…we’ll see…

2.  after a year of pescetarianism, followed by a shaky month of vacillation,  i’m in a dietary dilemma (actually it’s a moral dilemma, but it plays itself out in food, how funny :D).  after reading the compelling and not to mention beautifully written “eating animals” by jonathan safron foer, the little voice inside is steadily growing louder, and i find myself scraping for excuses.  so i’m attempting to take the plunge, but i might return to a careful, selective pescetarianism at some point, as i don’t actually believe that killing animals is wrong in and of itself…or i might really stick to this.  who knows?  eating animals is not the most important issue in my life, in the world, but, as the author states, it might be more important than a hamburger.  of course, when i go to culinary school, i’ll reluctantly taste everything.

3.  i’m currently reading “the botany of desire” by michael pollan, which equally evokes romantic thoughts of all the edible plants i love and jealous thoughts of “why can’t i get paid to write this, jerk?”  but even if i had an unrealistic idea of my own level of talent and thought i was capable of such greatness, i don’t have the ambition to even start thinking about pursuing such a lofty goal; i’m just too darn content with every second of my life 🙂

oo toob

May 27, 2010

i saw some youtube video linked on facebook and decided to click on it…the video was ok, a r&b’d up version of hatikvah with some mediocre rap….but some of the comments were interesting…

“Jews behind all EVIL
Jews are the master mind of DEVIL”

“i hate jews”

“ALL PALISTINEANS AND MUSLIM MUST DECLARE JIHAD AGAINST THE INVADER’

“Israeli Demonic Forces(IDF) Terrorist Organisation”

i’m pretty darned left winged when it comes to israeli politics, but comments like these don’t quite induce sympathy.  yeah…so all that makes me sort of not happy…and people should learn how to spell if they’re going to dis my country.

oh, and i found another interesting one, a response to one of these comments:

“Definition of a P.I.G.
Palestinian
In
Gaza”

cmon people!!!  you insult, you ask for more insults…it takes two to fight..good golly