Tag Archives: kosher

Hands-on Activities for Teaching “Kosher”

Things I did not anticipate at yesterday’s Kosher Grocery Quiz: 1) despite being Southern, our little Jewish kids had no idea what “pork rinds” were and did not think them hilarious, and 2) every single child assumed the “silver polish” was something ladies do to fingernails.

without exception, every child looked for the hecksher

without exception, every child looked for the hecksher

Continue reading

Hands-on Menorah Quiz (for School, Carnival)


Gelt just for playing, Prize Draw for big winner later

The word “quiz” is instant Carnival buzzkill, right?  Hardly the sort of catchy title to entice kids to a Chanukah Carnival station.  But really, it is a quiz, my activity, not a game.  And if it’s facilitated in the right spirit, it will be fun.  And educational.  And memorable.  I promise. Continue reading

Candy Tu B’Shevat

Fruit Shakers, Runts, and gummy worms

Fruit Shakers, Runts, and gummy worms

I wrote an article about using candy as an “enrichment” activity for Tu B’Shevat at Kveller.com: Tu Bishvat in Candy Land. Do read it. The hate mail I received as a result of the article indicates that the haters did not read it, else they would have learned that I do not propose that candy representations of actual tree fruit should replace traditional observance of Tu B’Shevat. Nor do I think that to let kids crush Oreos to produce “Edible Dirt” is an acceptable alternative to planting real seeds in real dirt. The word “enrichment” is a clue, my vigilant friends.  Continue reading

Edible shofars….straight from the bag

Edible shofars straight from the bag

Edible shofars straight from the bag

Bugles snacks from General Mills are the perfect mini-shofars.

Please see this brief article at Kveller.com, in which I list the merits and uses of Bugle shofars and lament the recent loss of kosher status.  If you don’t keep strictly kosher, you are in luck!  You get teeny, tasty shofar snacks for Rosh Hashanah!

“I Need Store-Bought, Thematic Snacky-ness, and I Need it Now!”   (Raising Kvell post)

If you like the article, please mention it on the Kveller comments immediately below it.  I would love to hear from you.

Shana Tova, and bon appetit!


edible shofar

Converting Valentine candy: Mishloach Manot

Mishloach Manot

Whether or not you do Valentine’s Day at your house, there is a world of half-price Valentine candy in shops right now, and some of it can work just dandy for the next Jewish holiday, Purim.  Kisses, especially. Because of the chocolate preferences of certain grandmothers in our family, our Purim Mishloach Manot baskets always include Hershey’s kisses. Valentine kisses are usually robed in red: simple, bright, fun red.  Without the outer packaging, red kisses are deliciously generic and ready for conversion. And of course, they are kosher. (So are Tootsie Rolls, by the way, and I Continue reading

“Make a Kosher Edible Sukkah” for the obsessively organized

instant edible sukkah with cereal "fruit"

instant edible sukkah with cereal “fruit”

(EDIT: if you are NOT in charge of a group project, see my newer post: Instant Edible Sukkah, Step-by-Step Photos.  If you ARE in charge of a group project which will be held on the holiday in a “kosher” building, read on.)

In the interest of those who are in charge of a “Make Your Own Edible Sukkah” project, I offer this record.  Learn from my experience, and add to it, if you can.

If your project is not conducted in a kosher building, you needn’t pay so much attention.  For you awaits a world of candy, a universe of sugary confection in endless variety.

For the rest of us, alas, a ghetto of fruit gums.  And it is for the rest of us that I type my notes; for the folks creating edible sukkahs in a kosher building and, even more restrictive, in a kosher building during the first two days of Sukkot, when “work” is not permitted.

Building a kosher sukkah on a holiday is easy and not so easy.

Finding kosher graham crackers is easy.  Just keep in mind that some still come in perforated rectangles Continue reading

Kosher Seuss-chef

A Trayfe Classic: confusing frummie tots for nearly 50 years

A Trayfe Classic: confusing frummie tots for nearly 50 years

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.

     I overheard my mom, in for a quick visit from back East (that’s East Tennessee), reading these words to the Toddler this morning. So, when he came downstairs right after, I was not too surprised to hear his breakfast request:

“I want Green Eggs and Ham!”
Me: “How might you ask that in a more polite way?”
Him: “I want Green Eggs and Ham, PLEASE!”

“Well,” I wheedle, guilty because I just made him say please for something I had no intention of providing. I am trying to sound nonchalant lest a too-emphatic “No” on the ham will trigger his first lustings for the forbidden.

“Well,” I say again, “I can’t do much about the ham, sweetie, because it isn’t kosher. But we can manage the eggs.”  I sound very peppy on the words can and eggs.

His lower lip descends, flattens, and spreads out like a U-brace from the hardware store.
“I want Green Eggs AND Ham!”

Luckily, my mom had just bought some brown eggs, and the novelty of watching brown eggs get cracked, beaten up and colored green distracted him from the absence of ham. He was happy. (I made sure he realized green eggs were a Grandma Special, and that I did not know how to make them.)

We keep kosher, so ham is never an option. But at Toddler’s school, every Thursday’s lunch menu features Ham/Pineapple Gratin. Which means every Thursday his lunch is a grilled cheese sandwich (or just “grillcheese” in Nashville). I always wonder if he looks longingly at his colleague’s lunch trays, eyeing the forbidden casserole. Actually, I’ve heard that most of the kids hate that dish anyway, and the trays end up getting scraped into the trash.

But already I’m thinking about the first time his friends chow down on a pepperoni pizza…

Jewish star pasta

Toddler's toy of choice today

Toddler’s toy of choice today

Jewish Star of David pasta. We’ve used these as bingo markers, “money” for dreidel games, decorations for art projects, “rubber” stamps and stamps for clay. We’ve dyed them (shaken in a ziploc bag with a drop of food coloring and alcohol, dried whilst spread over a surprisingly vast expanse of wax paper.). We’ve used them as sorting objects, Montessori-style. We’ve used them as noise-makers inside of, well, noise-makers. We’ve done everything with these except cook and eat them. Continue reading

Afikomen Treasure Hunt


Moses and the Pyramids

The last time I won a contest was when I was six.  I colored something, Mom sent it in, and months later, long after I’d forgotten about any contest, I got a box of 64 crayons in the mail; the kind of box with the built-in sharpener and the staggered stadium-seating for all 64 crisp, fragrant, pointy, Continue reading

We Have Tam Tams

Here in the Buckle, I expect to have trouble getting all the Passover groceries I want. The grocery stores, bless their hearts, seem to forget Jewish holidays change dates every year, and sometimes wait too late to put stuff on display. They hardly ever order the same things year to year, and I might just have to do without Bazooka bubble gum and mini-marshmallows. And the matzah: they don’t know from Passover vs. regular, so I always doublecheck the hecksher on the box.

Last year we had one box of matzah to last the whole week. I was calling friends to borrow a sheet of matzah just to eke out a second seder. But it wasn’t just me: Continue reading

Condiment Redemption

Tofu loaf: it may sound gross, but is mighty tasty.

Today’s photo is of the tofu loaf I made last night: tofu loaf as opposed to meat loaf. I’m still boycotting kosher beef.  Tofu, walnuts, brown rice, and cornbread instead of cow. Although the crunchy-granola-hippie-whole-foods-vegan cookbook I got this recipe from did not tell me to add ketchup, everyone knows that real meatloaf demands ketchup, and lots of it. So, I topped it off with the requisite two cups. What is not to love about a recipe that calls for two cups of ketchup? Excessive and disproportionate use of a condiment elicits deep admiration, just for chutzpah alone.

And here I must confess something.  When I was pregnant with what is now the Toddler, I had manic cravings for french fries. They had to be french fries from Fat Moe’s, which is one of those fast food huts so small they only do drive-through, and with only one window.  My husband dashed out several times a week to fetch a double order of fries and a Pepsi (I shudder at revealing any of this, but especially that I supported PepsiCo in any manner).  Every time, Fat Moe’s added a few ketchup packs to the bag. Ketchup was one of those foods I suddenly hated, so I saved all the packets in a jar.  The thrifty Balabusta in me would never consider throwing them away, and the paranoid germaphobic Mom in me would never consider expecting a restaurant to accept returned food (possibly contaminated on purpose) for redistribution. So, they all went into a jar.  And then a bigger jar.  And then an even bigger jar.  By the time my french fry jag was over, I had filled up a giant pickle jar and an iced tea pitcher.  One day, I thought, I would use all that ketchup. I would put it on top of a meat loaf.  But then, when I did have the baby, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking.  And then, the whole kosher meat debacle hit the fan and kept hitting the fan until I didn’t know which brands to trust and which brands to boycott. Which means we’ve been in-house vegetarians for a while now.  So, yesterday I hauled out the vegan cookbook and found my old recipe for Tofu Loaf.  It was strangely satisfying to cut open each little ketchup pack with a pair of the Teenager’s old kindergarten scissors, one by one, and ploop it out onto the loaf, shmooshing it to the very edges so the perimeter would get all burned and bubbly in the oven.  I like to think I have enabled my ketchup packs to finally fulfill their intended destiny, but with far more dignity than as a dip for mere fries.

A redemption kosher in more ways than one.