Spend Those Spocks on Meatless Kosher Curry

I love curried foods. I can’t pass an East Indian restaurant without wondering, what’s in there that I can describe to our Executive Chef for kosherization, to use a word I think is long overdue. We already have a pretty solid Indian menu, but the more I sample Indian food at different venues around Toronto, the more I think about new

Spice assortment
Colorful spices for curry.

possibilities.

As you probably know, many Indians are vegetarian. Jains, who follow one of the oldest religions in the world, are strictly vegetarian. Many Hindus and Buddhists are, too. A lot of “Indian” restaurants with meat dishes are actually Bangladeshi but serve equally delicious meals.

Leave Self-Righteousness Out of the Kitchen

I don’t mean to push vegetarianism (I eat meat myself!) but I do get concerned that we eat more meat than is good for us. So I like to to look for ways to make non-meat dishes more appealing, at least for sides.

I came across a recent article in the National Post that talks about “clean eating” becoming a new religion for some in Canada. The author, herself a vegetarian, related a story about the growing culture clash between vegetarians, who eat dairy, and vegans, who don’t because it’s food that comes from animals. She explores the movement for eating healthy and local, organic, gluten-free, and so on. While some people really do reap  medical and health benefits, others do seem to make it their mission in life to make those who are more casual about food feel bad about it. And that, says one expert, borders on “health fascism.”

Well, that’s a strong phrase! We Jews probably know more painful truths about fascism than the average person out there, but point taken. It does seem that some have taken their enthusiasm for a food lifestyle from mindfulness of what’s being consumed—the essence of kosher—to a substitute for religion. They may be physically healthier but obsession isn’t mentally healthy. (Except, possibly, for a baseball team.)

One thing I do know about food is that it isn’t enjoyed under stress. Food should be enjoyed, savored, and shared. Drop the shaming and please leave the politics outside the kitchen.

Perhaps it’s a coincidence but almost all the vegetarians I know are Jewish, and they adhere to the practice partly for ethical and health reasons, and partly because they really do wish to lead a kosher life. Eschewing meat makes this a lot easier.

One couple I know in New York City don’t have the space for a second sink in their kitchen, much less extra cupboards to keep meat and dairy dishes apart. One half of this couple (the wife) has been a veg for years; her husband has no problem going along with it but when he wants to bring home carryout that includes meat, it’s served on paper plates with plastic utensils. But since they live in New York, they’re just as likely to go out to eat if he wants a meal with meat.

Take Your Spockified Fiver and Buy Sweet Potatoes

There are a lot of Spocked five-dollar bills in circulation out there. This is perfectly logical. Spock, after all, has a lot in common with Sir Wilfred Laurier:

  • Both preferred avoiding war (Laurier tried to keep Canada out of World War I)
  • Both were educated outside their home communities
  • Both had a huge personal following

Now that Laurier/Spock have become conjoined, I suggest taking a couple of their portraits them to the grocery and buying a few sweet potatoes to cook in this curry provided by Tori Avey.

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