YO U PR O B A B L Y didn’t need to read t he JC’ s re c e nt piece on the price of living Jewishly to know that being observant comes at a price — a price worth paying perhaps, but the extra costs of producing kosher food are always going to be passed on to the consumer.
Of course this doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg to eat a kosher wing or drumstick— it can be done very cheaply. True, you won’t be dining on the finer cuts of steak every evening (or indeed any cuts of steak unless it happens to be your birthday) but that does not mean you will not be eating well.
Some of the world’s best food comes from peasant communities. The one thing peasants around the world have in common (apart from their ability to cook) is their lack of money. So their food is based on staple items, embellished with vegetables and small amounts of expensive protein. And when trying to make ends meet on a kosher diet, it’s the meat and fish that are the big-ticket items.
It’s a lesson which has long been put into practice by both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews. Potato kugel is designed to fill stomachs with cheap ingredients, as are any number of Sephardi dishes featuring beans and lentils jazzed up with spices.
I’m as carnivorous as the next guy but I do think you can use meat to make a meal more interesting, rather than as the main event.
Midweek after work, one of my go-to meals is a type of Spanish omelette — although to be fair it’s not one which will be that familiar to Spanish people.
Essentially it’s a slightly more interesting variant on that old Mondaynight standby, wurst and eggs. The potatoes of the traditional tortilla are replaced by sweet potato and the wurst is there for a little extra flavour and
1 onion, sliced
In a large frying pan, gently fry the onion in the oil until soft and just starting to colour. texture. In fact, you could use any kind of sausage or salami for this dish.
The only complication comes with turning the omelette over, Spanish style. To accomplish this you need to turn the eggs over on to a plate and then slide everything back into the pan, to brown the other side.
Much to the amusement of my children, the last time I tried it the omelette ended up on the kitchen floor, where it made a terrible mess — it still tasted good though.
Sweet potatoes star in this dish, while meat takes a small supporting role