On to week 2 of AJ’s 30-Day Unprocessed Challenge. There were definitely some obstacles to overcome this past week, and I’ll be writing about a couple of them over the next day or so. The first involved having to deal with old traditions.
Unfortunately I had to attend a funeral this past Friday. For those of you who haven’t been to a Jewish funeral (or wedding for that matter), the services are always short so we can get to the most important part of the event. Milling around a giant spread of food, eating and schmoozing. And this funeral was no different.
I arrived at the family’s home to find a typical Jewish spread – piles of rare pastrami, bread, bagels, bowls of mayo, mustard, and russian dressing, pickles, fruit, and a vegetable platter. Oh and noodle kugel. The meat, bread, and bagels were easy for me to pass up – I don’t eat that stuff anyway. But the kugel, my lord. I have never, ever….EVER (am I being clear enough?) passed up noodle kugel before. My childhood Jewish memories are of shoveling pounds of kugel down my throat at every event – passover, high holy days, shabbat, you name it. And I can proudly say today, for the first time in my life, I passed it up. I filled my plate up with food from the trays typically used by others as garnishes to their enormous pastrami sandwiches – the fruit plate and the vegetable plate (which was actually pretty solid, containing cherry tomatoes, jicama, bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, baby corn, etc.) But yet there was another problem. The other Jews in the house were looking at my plate full of veggies and fruit like I was a crazy person. “Did you see the kugel?” and “You know there’s another plate of kugel coming out, so don’t worry” seemed to be coming from every corner of the room. But I very politely told them that yes, while they might think I was insane, I’m doing a challenge for a few weeks where I can’t eat stuff like that. And although I got some weird looks, I was allowed to leave the house without someone throwing a huge portion of the kugel on my plate. Usually after a Jewish function I’d be sitting on the couch feeling fat, tired, and shameful, but not this time! Eating out with friends, even though they’re vegetarians, was the next hurdle I had to deal with. I’ll post about trying to eat unprocessed at a restaurant tomorrow.