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Food Lists and Meal Ideas
I originally wrote this list to enjoy having friends over for meals. I would get stumped on creativity for shopping and designing a dinner, so I wrote an exhaustive list of food ideas to get the conversation going with a friend.
However, since then, I've found some additional foods I cannot eat, and I've started observing the basic rules of kosher. So now, I need a better food list to address the greater list of restrictions.
First, Some Guidelines on Kosher
Obviously this isn't everything, but these are the major rules of thumb that I observe.
- Certain animals are not eaten at all, including the flesh, organs, eggs, or milk from these animals.
- Acceptable land mammals have cloven hooves and chew their cud: Sheep, cattle, goats, deer, and bison
- The animals that are considered "treif" or non-kosher: Pork, Camel, Rabbit, swarming rodents
- Acceptable water animals have fins and scales: Tuna, carp, salmon, herring are all good
- The water animals that are treif: Lobster, oyster, shrimp, clams, crabs
- Birds that are acceptable include: Chicken, geese, ducks, and turkey
- Birds that are treif include birds of prey or scavengers
- Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects (with a short list of exceptions) are forbidden
- No meat (bird or mammal) is eaten with dairy -- but it is okay to eat fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, or grains with either meat or dairy. [Note: Things that are "parve" are neither meat nor dairy, and are okay with either meal.]
- No blood in or as food.
- Beef – I used to be able to eat beef, now it hurts my stomach. I cannot even just pick around the beef in a lasagna, so I no longer eat beef at all (not even soups with a beef base). I miss corned beef hash, and I occasionally cheat and eat a gyro (which is both lamb and beef together) but I know I'll pay for it later. [Good news: Avoiding all cow products, almost all my migraines have gone away.]
- Chicken – Love it, live by it. Grilled, stir-fried, battered & fried is okay, love slices on sandwiches
- Turkey – Love things like turkey sausages, *love* turkey kielbasa. I love turkey jerkey, and love making turkey at
Thanksgiving, having slices for sandwiches, or a good turkey burger.
- Lamb – Love it, especially since I can't really do beef any more. Especially love it in Mongolian BBQ. Lamb chops are just okay. Greek gyros are fantastic.
- Goose, Duck, etc. – So far, still no problem with any of these. Duck is a little boring, but that's just because I'm not big on grease or fat, and would rather have salt.
- Liver – Can no longer eat beef liver (the only palatable one) and don't like chicken liver.
- Pork – I no longer eat it at all. Ever. Not even in split pea soup.
- Tofu – Love it, especially in stir-fry or Thai food or other similar dishes. And I love garden burgers, which are usually just vegetables.
- Ostrich, Buffalo, Venison – Here's your fancy meats, but ostrich isn't kosher. But fortunately, I like both buffalo/bison and venison. There just aren't very many opportunities to eat them.
- Sausages – Turkey kielbasa is my favorite and just about the only sausage ingredients I can eat (and I have to watch the labels, to avoid pork casings).
- Seafood – Once upon a time, I only liked white fishes and hated pink fishes. Then I finally had some *good* salmon, and I've finally learned to like it. Now I'll enjoy any kosher fish ("has to have fins and scales") and I avoid all the shellfish, shark, shrimp, etc. I even like more flavors of sushi now than before, just no shellfish.
- Eggs – Love 'em. Boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, stir-fried, in egg-drop soup, deviled eggs yum.
- Soups – Like many of them. Split pea, lentil, veggie, minestrone, barley, etc. Tortilla soup is usually too spicy for me.
Some chili is okay, prefer it not too spicy.
- Milk & Cream – I skip almost all cow dairy products, with the exception of the occasional creamer in my coffee, if I cannot get soy milk or non-diary creamer.
- Cheese – Yum. I love experimenting with different cheese. I love provolone and mozzerela the best. Sharp cheddar is great. Blue cheese is okayish, only in moderation. Feta is yummy. Cheese bars in stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats are great for finding new experimental cheese. Goat cheese, sheep cheese, things mixed with herbs or fruits.
- Soy Milk – Adore it. Couldn't have coffee nearly as often without it. Love the vanilla flavored soy milk best.
- Rice – Adore rice. Could eat it every day. Love sticky rice and brown rice the best, but Indian/Jasmine rice is nice too. Still
learning to experiment with different rices. Prefer plain rice over
pilaf, because I'm not really fond of "oily" things, and most pilaf
has a lot of butter.
- Pasta – *Way* prefer "fresh" pasta over dried pasta. Most pasta comes from the whole dried/boiled pasta. But when I can get fresh/soft pasta from a refridgerated section in the store, it's way yummier. I'll drive out of my way for fresh pasta. One of these days I'm going to learn to make pasta.
- Potato – It's okay. I can make them occasionally, but couldn't live on them daily. Sweet potatoes and yams are fantastic, and best with brown sugar. *grin*
- Bread – Again, it's an occasional starch for me. Prefer heavy grains in my bread over a white bread any day. Can't stand Rye, love Sourdough, French or Italian is okay-ish. Bisquits are good, but best with butter and honey, preferred over gravy (which is just okay).
Grits are okay-ish. Most crackers are yummy. Love flour tortillas,
occasionally like corn tortillas. Polenta is yummy. Naan is pretty good.
- Other grains & seeds – Love couscous, & a ton of multi-grains. Pumpkin seeds are okay, sesame seeds in moderation. Wheat-berries are yummy in breads. Oats, Barley, Corn all good. Quinoa one of my favorites, for "weird" grains. Pinenuts good, sunflower seeds okay. Cannot stand poppy seeds at all.
- Nuts – Most are okay, just not in my food. The only exceptions include macadamia nuts in chocolate cookies, peanuts in Thai food, or cashew chicken (all good!). Peanut butter only in moderation.
(I'm a massive fan!)
- Salads – I love going out to SouPlantation or similar restaurants because I can make my own salad. A lot of prepared salads have too many dressings or sauces for me.
- Greens, fresh – Prefer the darker greens over iceberg or romaine. Not super impressed with the sharp tasting weird greens, but a few occasional weird greens are okay. Love fresh spinach. Sprouts are okay, but a little weird. Some herbs in salad are okay, but not too many.
- Greens, cooked – Like several greens in stir-fry, like Bok Choy or Red Chard or Spinach. Haven't tried all of them yet, like Kale etc. (My roomie has stir-fried kale and it looked yummy)
- "Staple" veggies – Love things like Zucchini, Carrots, Squash, Broccoli, Tomatoes (favorite are Roma, some Heritage tomotoes are yummy, Cherry or Grape tomatoes are funny). Not really fond of Peppers (green, red, or yellow) but if someone cooks with them I'll just pick them out of my food. Prefer Leeks over Onions, but sometimes
cooked onions in foods are really sweet and yummy. Onions are
best cooked, never a fan of them raw. Cauliflower is okay, cabbage
should be used in moderation. Celery is boring, but okay.
- Other veggies – I've been experimenting with different mushrooms, and Oyster mushrooms are currently my favorite. Love chinese string beans, fresh (al dente) different peas and beans are good. (overcooked, bad). Really like lentils and red beans and black beans and garbanzos, etc. Chinese snow peas are lovely. Beets are okay, but better commercially prepared – making them fresh is still a little hard to do. Asparagus good, must be fresh. Artichokes are just okay-ish. Haven't found any eggplant that's really exciting, and it's too easy to ruin and make horrible. Some of the winter squashes are good, especially spaghetti squash. Water chesnuts are great in stir-fry.
- Flavors / Spices – Garlic is good. Chili's/Peppers are painful, and I can only eat something someone else cooked with them in moderation. Vinegars are yummy. Soy sauce is a staple! Love salt! Ketchup good, mustard weird. Mayo slimy. Italian spices good. Most Chinese or Japanese or Thai spices great. Indian spices I'm learning to like lately. Cilatro blech, but I can ignore it if I have to. Mexican okay, would prefer Peruvian food. Also love Cuban. Olives are wonderful. Not really a fan of anything oily, so I like a vinegar dressing with no oil. Butter in moderation is kinda okay. I even learned to like horseradish (like the red better than white). Don't like BBQ sauce, most of the time. Dressings I prefer balsamic vinegar, catalina/french/russian dressing, ranch sometimes, vinegrette.
Junk Foods & Snacks:
- Apples – Love almost all of them. Prefer sweet to tart, but some tart are good.
- Citrus – Love most of them. Don't really like kumquats, don't like grapefruit, but love oranges, tangerines, lemon, and lime.
- Bananas – Love 'em, and starting to learn to like things like fried plantains at Cuban restaurants
- Grapes – Usually okay, but sometimes they taste like dirt and it'll be months before I can eat 'em again
- Berries – Love strawberries, blackberries, blueberries,
raspberries, etc. Dried cranberries are fantastic, cranberry sauce is
weird. Cherries are awesome.
- Melons – Love watermelon, honeydew, cantelope -- in that order. Haven't tried the weird melons.
- Other fruits – Pears, peaches, nectarines yummy. Don't really like plums or apricots. Kiwi good. Figs and dates, great. Pomegrates good. Coconut good. Adore pineapple, but can only eat
canned pineapple (fresh pineapple makes my mouth swell up). Do NOT like mango or papaya. Jams and jellies are mostly good, not a fan
of marmalade. Rose jam is yummy.
- Chips – Love nacho cheese doritos. Pretzels are yummy. Salt & vinegar potato chips are good. And I adore crazy potato/veggie chip mixes. Love Chex mix, original. Not a fan of Cheetos anymore. Hate BBQ chips.
- Chocolate – The darker, the better, but almost all chocolate
rocks. Hazelnuts smell repulsive, white chocolate isn't chocolate at
- Cheesecake – Yum! (But of course, I can only eat tiny tiny portions.)
- Frozen desserts – Can't eat ice cream any more, but love
sorbet and sherbert as a substitute. Popsicles are good, best with
- Cakes & other flavors – Black Forest (chocolate and cherries) is my favorite. Carrot is okay, love the frosting. Lemon is weird. Caramel is okay, not really big on toffee. Love angel food cake, and especially with fresh berries. Whipped cream optional.
- Cookies, Brownies, Fudge – Many are yummy. Prefer no nuts, always like chewy over crunchy.
- Alcohol – Don't like to drink beer, love to kiss someone who's been drinking beer (weird, huh?). LOVE hard ciders (apple, pear). Red wines are growing on me, and I prefer a Shiraz. Love
irish creme in coffee.
- Sodas & sports drinks – Love Diet Coke. Blue gatorade is the only flavor I like. Water is very good. A splash of fruit in water is good.
- Coffee, Tea – Love both. Sometimes I'll make ice tea or ice coffee to have around the house. Love mint tea, flowery teas, slightly spiced teas. Love lemon and honey in tea when I'm sick. Love a soy latté. Blended coffee iced drinks are yummy.
- Juices – Plain tomato juice or V8 is okay. Apple juice, orange juice, yum. Hot spiced apple cider fantastic. Cranberry juice & blends are okay.