Monday, January 28, 2008

Jew Gonna Eat That?

When the Whole Foods supermarket opened in Portland's Pearl District some years back, it happened to be right before Passover. And there were big signs that said Please Visit Our Bakery for All Your Passover Holiday Needs.

Which should have made me suspicious. I mean, you do not need to say please in the same sentence as bakery in order to get a Jew over there. But I was youthful and optimistic. I wanted to believe there could be a nice Pesadich sponge cake right in the Pearl.

"What Passover desserts do you have?" I ask bakery dude. Bakery dude points to some exceptionally unappealing dessert squares. Which does not discourage me. If you have ever eaten Kosher for Passover desserts you know appealing isn't actually part of the conforms-to-religious-law appeal.

"Those are vegan," sayeth the bakery dude. Oh. Um, that's the wrong kind of unappealing, alas. I try to explain this to bakery dude, who then points me toward some extremely leavened spelt items. I find the manager and suggest they just take the bakery invitation down.

It's tricky, I know, with us Jews. For a people who like to eat, we have a helluva lot of rules about what we can't eat and when we can't eat it. And then there's our tendency as individuals to break those rules.

Equally confusing, even to us, is the stuff that isn't law but is custom. Not long after I graduated from college, my cousin Jeannie reported to me and her sister Amy, "You know, goyim don't just have sour cream in the fridge at all times."

Actually, I didn't know this. Neither did Amy. "Are you saying sour cream is a Jewish food?" she asked.

"Well, think about it," I reasoned. "Which of the following does not belong? Matzah brie and sour cream. Latkes and sour cream (with nu a bissel apple sauce). Blintzes and sour cream. Hot dogs and sour cream." Cousinly recognition was shared. Clearly sour cream is at least a fellow traveler of Jewish food, even if sour cream itself is not a card-carrying member of any of the Twelve Tribes.

But here's one nobody could have suspected. I was at New Season's tonight, and check out their Hebriac Foodstuffs Shelf.

Nothing so shocking, unless you are shocked by the hideous orange/green combo that is Manischewitz (Jews are not shocked by this because we know that both orange and green go with faux leopard, which is the universal solvent of Jewish color schemes).

But wait, look closer, down on that bottom shelf.

Fluff? What the? Funny, you don't look Jewish.
I suppose the real name was Fluffstein, and they changed it for business purposes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there - I loved this post! It reminded me a lot of something I just posted on The Jew & The Carrot blog. As a former Fluff-fanatic (hey, I was 8), I'm glad to see it was included in the kosher food section...even erroneously.

Here's the post that asks, what exactly IS Jewish food?

Editor, The Jew & The Carrot