Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Currently Viewing Posts in Food

Will McDonald’s follow United Airlines?

One of the nation’s biggest airlines recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now I read this headline from Investor’s Business Daily: McDonald’s Expects Its First-Ever Loss As Chain Retrenches Amid Weak Sales. Another sign of the weak economy? Hardly. Maybe McDonald’s is losing money because they’re not vegetarian-friendly.

I completely stopped giving Mickey D’s my business about two years ago when I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly entitled Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good. Although they are fried in canola oil, the fries themselves contain “natural flavorings” as one of their ingredients.

“The company will not reveal the exact origin of the natural flavor added to its fries. In response to inquiries from Vegetarian Journal, however, McDonald’s did acknowledge that its fries derive some of their characteristic flavor from ‘an animal source.’ Beef is the probable source, although other meats cannot be ruled out. In France, for example, fries are sometimes cooked in duck fat or horse tallow.”

Maybe if McDonald’s came clean with the vegetarian community and dropped animal additives from their food, they’d find themselves with a growing market opportunity. Burger King introduced a Veggie Burger this year, and their fries have always been 100% veggie-friendly.

Pastrami on Rye

pastrami-sandw.jpg After a pretty awful day of working in the garden, we went to Pico Kosher Deli for dinner and I ate a big pastrami sandwich. It was incredible. I’m still in a bad mood, but my stomach is full.

I spent many years being an almost-vegetarian (I never gave up eating fish) but about a year and a half ago I broke down during Pesach and started eating kosher meat. I still eat vegetarian most of the time; we’ve got a milchig-only kitchen at home, and I don’t eat meat in non-kosher restaurants. But every once in a while I actually take advantage of the LA kosher food industry and eat some fleishigs.

Ariella had a bite. We said Shehecheyanu.

Being a Vegetarian on Thanksgiving

1101020715cov_white.gif Ok, so I know it goes completely against American tradition, but I’m going to be eschewing turkey for dinner tomorrow night.

As we discovered last year at Thanksgiving, there are actually two mass-market turkey substitutes: Tofurky and UnTurkey. Last year Cousin Diana bought both, but there will be a smaller number of vegetarians this year, so we’ll probably have a single dish. I can’t wait to see which one it will be!

There are also a bunch of vegetarian Thanksgiving celebrations going on in LA this year. We’ve eaten at the Real Food Daily a few times this year; I’m sure their T-day meal will be superb.

In the grand scheme of things, being vegetarian is still a rare occurrence. I think it’s probably much more common in California, but survey data reveals that 2.5% of Americans are true vegetarians. But the vegetarian lifestyle is moving into the mainstream. Heck, it made the cover story of the July 15, 2002 issue of Time Magazine.

Whatever you’re eating for this Thanksgiving, be sure to eat a lot of it.

Thanksgiving and Chanukah back-to-back

newsday-turkey-5594348.jpg I’m quoted in today’s issue of Newsday in an article entitled Twice As Much Stuffing: Hearty appetites will be thankful for back-to-back holiday feasts.

The story, written by Erica Marcus, is entertaining and well-researched. She even spoke to my favorite Jewish Holidays expert: Rabbi Michael Strassfeld (author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide & Commentary).

My quotation is at the very bottom of the article:

Michael Radwin disputed the contention that “Hanukkah is early this year.” “Hanukkah always begins on the 25th of Kislev,” he said. “It’s November that’s late.”

I actually need to credit Ariella with that line. It’s more clever than anything I could come up with.

Cool beans. I wonder if Danny and I will get any more PayPal donations as a result of the article.

Dinner with Uncle Steve

sushi.jpg My uncle Steve is in Las Vegas for Comdex, so we met up for dinner. He lives in Chicago so we don’t get to see him too often. Tonight was a real treat.

We enjoyed some pretty decent sushi at the San Remo hotel. Afterwards, we headed downtown to see the light show at the pedestrian mall. It was totally cheezy, but highly entertaining and free. The thrill was over 5 minutes after it started. I guess that’s classic Las Vegas.

Tomorrow night I’m hoping to catch a real show (like Blue Man Group or “O” or Sigfried and Roy).

Vegetarian Fast Food

We just got a copy of the Vegetarian Resource Group’s Guide to Fast Food. It’s a great little booklet, well worth the $4, and an extremely interesting read.

I keep Kosher but eat vegetarian food at non-Kosher restaurants, so this is a useful resource.

Vegan Caesar Salad

We have been making our favorite Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing recipe quite a bit this summer.

from Vegetarian Resource Center – vrc@tiac.net – Boston, USA

You didn’t say that it had to be low calorie; this is the dressing for a “Vegan Caesar Salad”

(It is supposed to go on romaine lettuce, with croutons)

  • 2 T blanched & ground almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 T dijon mustard
  • 3 T Brewer’s Yeast
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 T olive oil

Combine almonds, garlic, mustard & yeast to make a paste, whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Or put everything in a blender and process until smooth.

It’s delicious, and it’s become a Radwin Family tradition. Everyone in our neighborhood has got some sort of specialty dish. Mark has the Tamale Pie, Mike makes a delicious Baked Tofu Squares dish, and Andrea makes the most delicious Roasted Brussel Sprouts.