So, Mr. B and I were buying challah at Wegmans the other day.  If you’ve never been to a Wegmans, it’s exactly like any other grocery store.  In the same way that Turandot is exactly like High School Musical.  We buy challah there as one would buy crack. On the downlow.  I never know if you’re only supposed to eat it on Shabbat, so I sneak up to the bread aisle, look around to make sure no other Jew is coming.  “Cover for me, Vasya,” I yell at Mr. B like Russian pilots did in World War II and run into the fray.  Even though we are nowhere near Stalingrad.  Also, Mr. B’s name is not Vasya.  I grab it and run.  When I get home we eat handfuls of it.

So, the other day, when we surreptitiously bought our Jewbread and were munching at home, I came across the following article in my Rachael Ray magazine.  Yes, I read Rachael Ray, and if you say anything snide about it, I will most likely punch you.  My feelings are still raw from the beating my Hebrew name got the other day.  This is what I came across there.

That’s right.  It’s a Pork Roast Panini.  ON CHALLAH ROLLS.  My version of keeping kosher is to at least boil and peel the shrimp, but even I was kind of offended by this.  Is it ok to have non-kosher products on challah rolls? Is this taboo, even for non-observant Jews?  I think it’s crazy.  So does Vasya.

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  • if you’re eating Ray’s sandwhich, please first turn in your Jewish badge….(i assume you refer to mock shrimp- which I wouldn’t eat anyhoo).

  • you can eat challah whenever you please, and i thought Vered is a lovely name.

  • What does Vasya mean?

    Yes, there’s something very wrong with pork on challah, but in a multicultural world, it makes sense.

    I wonder if this is the same as the Chinese felt when the first kosher chinese food appeared.

  • Or when CK was offered arak with gefilte fish…

    The original European breads that challah stems from are usually eaten just pure or with jam or Nutella or similar. I like them with British orange marmelade and dark chocolate spread, e.g. by Godiva.

  • That depends. Was Challa pronounced like the c-h in change? In that case, it all makes sense…

    And of course, Challah is best used for french toast, anyway.

  • LB, it’s (the type of bread) the early Zionist export to the Middle East and used to be the Sundaybread of the pauper. (It’s still called Sonntagsstuten in a few areas.) It has got a lot of names, depending on where you are; in my village and a few close it’s called “Platz”, but there also is “Stuten”, “Zopf” / “Zopp” (= braid), brioche in France etc. The word “challah” is of Biblical origin and was later used for those breads, too. A rather weird but popular combination is a raisin variety with liverwurst. A friend of mine even puts honey on top of that. BTW, the round ones for New Year’s also exist here, but they are wreaths, a Celtic symbol denoting longevity and perfection (also to confuse any evil spirits as they supposedly don’t find the exit in a wreath).

  • froylein, I really was only joking. I know the modern version of Challah is nothing new or original. Have you ever had the Israeli cheap version of Challah? It’s very different from the sweet braided loaves most commonly recognized.

  • LB, I was staying with an absolutely non-religious Russian family when I was in Israel, so I got fed “cheese” (something in red and white wrapping paper with blue palm trees on it) with double-cream and sugar, a layered cake soaking in honey and loaded with nuts, pancakes with red caviar and something with aubergine and tomatoes on fish.

  • Vicki/Vered, I’m not fond of the pork/challah combo (especially if served–as I expect–with mayo and not mustard….). It gives me the same sort of icky feeling that I get when I hear a Jew telling a “Jew Joke” or when I see articles in The Forward about a website called “BaconJew.” Totally wrong.

    But my perspective is kinda interesting b/c I used to (and still kinda do…) LOVE treyf, but started keeping kosher just a few years ago. I actually can’t understand (now…after swearing off the stuff) why Jews eat treyf. I’m not baal t’shuva or even particularly weird. I’m not shomer shabbat, and I occasionally dream of pepperoni pizzas, but I just feel good keeping kosher.

    I’m just sayin. And would like to hear thoughts from anyone else who wants to comment.

  • In Poland, where we lived and worked for many years, they served a strange dish in certain places called “Szynka po Zydowsku” which translates as “Jewish Style Pork.”

  • Well, I saw Martha Stewart making “sushi” for kids by taking white bread, cutting off the crusts, smearing mayonnaise on it, rolling up carrot and celery sticks inside (using an actual sushi rolling mat, no less), and then cutting it in rounds.

    And voila: “sushi”!

    If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that it was possible for a person to be so ignorant, especially someone who has made a career out of supposedly being an expert on culinary matters. It was just appalling.

    Cultural and culinary desecrations and sacrilege know no borders.

    But, yeah, chazzer on challah seems kinda gross.

    If the “challah” (by which I assume she means just egg bread) wasn’t kosher to begin with, no harm no foul, though.

  • Let’s leave Rachel Ray alone. She’s had enough trouble from us Jews over that shmatta thing.

  • What’s the shmata thing, lori?

    Also, Ephraim, that sushi actually sounds pretty delish as a way to introduce it to kids, even if it’s not the real crunchy tuna I ate yesterday.

    Rabbi Yonah, we purchased an ate a bag of pork-rind like potato chips on our way to Auschwitz. This was before we realized how bad the whole idea sounded. Our shaliach cried.

    spice, your comment was lovely. Thank you.

  • I guess as long as you’re not a Jew, you can eat it every day. Or if you don’t keep kosher, same thing. I keep a simple to moderate form of kosherness, so eating pork on challah would cause some serious law breakage. Now if you were Israel ben Eliezer and you ate that sandwich, time would collapse, and the world would explode.