When The Jewish Catalog
was written in 1973, it was a revolutionary repository of do-it-yourself Judaism. Parts of it retain their utility to this day, while other parts are useful primarily as (often hilarious) historical records of the '70s. Updating the Jewish content is a project beyond the scope of this blog. This blog will focus on food.
On page 33, the Catalog says:
In the last few years it has become very important to some people to "retreat" every now and then for a Shabbat or a few days. Basically a retreat involves a small group of people who go away to the country (although sometimes they're held in the city at someone's house) to pray, eat, play, talk, and relax together. If planned in advance--and that means both program and food--it can be a wonderfully relaxing, learning, living kind of experience.
It then goes on to list simple food items, as well as sample menus, to feed large numbers of people without difficulty.
The following recipe deserves special mention, and has inspired the title of this blog:
SALAD (for 25 people)
2 heads lettuce
5 or 6 tomatoes
We, the spiritual and intellectual descendants of the Jewish Catalog
authors, continue to convene large and laid-back Shabbat meals, whether formally (such as it is) through our independent minyanim or casually on the roof or in the park. We continue to make salad for 25 people. But we have changed in certain key ways. Just as we laugh and grimace when The Jewish Catalog
(in some cases) unselfconsciously uses "he" as the default pronoun for teachers of Torah and "she" as the default pronoun in connection with domestic tasks, we laugh and grimace at the thought of salads with an iceberg lettuce base.
Therefore, we have created this blog, to post recipes and tips for today's vegetarian potluck meals. These recipes should be some or all of the following:
- simple -- not requiring extensive preparation time or unusual cooking equipment
- scalable -- possible to double the inputs and feed twice as many people
- portable -- something that can be put in Tupperware and carried out to the park
- durable -- something that can be prepared on Thursday night or Friday afternoon, placed in the fridge/freezer/oven/blech, and still good for Shabbat dinner or lunch