When I began this blog, the motive was actually quite selfish. It was shortly after my family made Aliyah (that is the official term for moving to Israel from another country), and I was having trouble reigning in my grocery spending. I decided to challenge myself to lower my weekly grocery bills by holding myself more accountable. The best way, I thought, was to chronicle my frugal food ideas, find ways to stretch my shekels, and to push myself to stick to it by setting up a blog.
The blog became the place where I post ideas about saving money, coupons for Israeli shoppers, and other ways to save. Of course, I also include recipes and menu plans that are almost all from scratch, relatively simple, and not expensive. And it all has to be kosher, because I keep kosher.
My definition of frugal food is food that is nutritious but affordable. I won't be cooking with fancy ingredients. The exception will be for the occasional Jewish holiday (for example, I splurged and served salmon for our festive Purim meal, and on occasion, if I find a good sale, I may buy a more expensive item like cashews or frozen spinach). Perhaps we'll serve slightly more special foods for other types of special occasions, as well.
I know what you're thinking. Pasta. Don't worry, we won't be eating pasta every day! I do rely heavily on legumes, and I try to limit our consumption of animal products, even eggs and cheese. I know for some people, this is a really different style of food preparation. But it usually works well for us, and helps us to keep our grocery bills in check (totally necessary with a family of six, including a teenage boy who seems to eat all the time).
For my readers not familiar with the idea of kosher food, I will share a brief summary.
Kosher food is food that is fit to eat according to Jewish Law. The laws are very complex and deal with big things, like which animals are considered kosher (certain types of animals with split hooves and that chew their cud, as well as chicken and a few other types fowl, if they were healthy, slaughtered according to Jewish law, and then soaked and salted according to Jewish Law), and small things - like bug infestation in fruits and vegetables, and everything in between.
Kosher food requires the complete separation of meat and milk (there are various traditions about fish - some won't eat fish on the same plates as meat, but will eat fish with dairy; others won't eat fish with either dairy or meat). Any processed food items require kosher supervision, to ensure that the food was prepared from start to finish in accordance with Jewish law. You can find kosher symbols on packaged foods all over the world. Fresh fruits and vegetables are inspected for bug infestation. Cheeses cannot be made using rennet from an animal source, therefore dairy products also require kosher certification (there are various opinions about plain cow's milk. I won't delve into the unsupervised milk vs. supervised milk question at this time).
Obviously, I cannot run through all the halachot (that's Hebrew for Jewish laws) of kosher food here. I just wanted to give a proper introduction. I hope this makes it a little easier to understand what I'm talking about.
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Last, please keep in mind that anything I write on this site is my personal opinion, and I am not giving medical advice, or halachic rulings, or anything in between. Really I am just sharing what I know, what I do, and what I love to cook and eat!