Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Now that we are done with Pesach and Shavuos, it’s time to look for summer snacks – you know, things you can take to the country, send the kids in camp packs or bring along when you are invited away for the weekend.
* Utz Potato Chips (Utz Quality Foods, OU parve and dairy). The potato chip was born in August of 1853. Its grandfather, the french fried potato, had been brought to the U.S. by Thomas Jefferson, who had tasted it in France during his years as U.S. Ambassador. Legend has it that a chef named George Crum, either out of anger at a customer, or as a favor to a customer, sliced the potato very thin, fried it until very crisp and covered it with salt.
However it happened, the potato chip was born, and Americans today consume more potato chips than any other people in the world.
In 1921, unhappy with the quality of potato chips on the market, Bill Utz quit his job and started his own company ¨C Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips. More than 80 years later, Utz Quality Foods manufacturers over 50 different snacks, everything from regular potato chips to soy chips and non-GMO snacks. In our office we sampled 14 varieties of snacks, among them Carolina Style BBQ chips, Cheddar Cheese Special Pretzels, Nacho Tortillas and Salt and Pepper Potato Chips. Each flavor was delicious – so much so that a number of people went out to buy the products for themselves. To me, that says it all. There is no greater compliment than to have someone purchase what he or she has tried for free. All of the Utz products can be found in your local kosher grocery or supermarket. You can also visit them on the web at www.utzsnacks.com.
* Peanut Better (Peanut Better, Inc. OU parve). Peanut butter in its earliest form was used by the Incas, who would turn the peanuts into a paste-like substance. In the U.S. the peanut became a commercially grown crop in the 1800s. Dr. John Harvey Kellog (whom we discussed in a previous column) used to serve it to patients in his Battle Creek Sanitarium. Today, over 210 million Americans eat peanut butter and many companies manufacture it.
So, what makes Peanut Better special? First of all, as it was developed especially for adults, it comes in very sophisticated flavors. Second, other than two nut butters, all the flavors are
certified organic and high in protein. Third, because of the special peanut used in production, it is lower in fat than most national brands.
Fourth and the most important, the taste is out of this world. Of the five sweet flavors we loved Sweet Molasses and Deep Chocolate the most. We kept the Sweet Molasses on a shelf in the office and ate a spoonful on crackers every day. The Deep Chocolate went home with me and I have to say, it was a truly sad day when we discovered the jar was empty. As for the five savory flavors, I admit we were a little nervous. When you think of peanut butter,
your first thought is not Onion Parsley or Rosemary Garlic, but let not your heart be troubled – the combination is amazing. While you could probably put them on a cracker, we tried it on chicken. Make a watery paste by adding some water and smear it on chicken, then roast. The smell of peanuts fills the air and the combination of flavors is amazing.
The only complaint we have is that right now Peanut Better products are only available in some specialty food stores or on the web at www.peanutbetter.com.
* Zen Soy Pudding (ZenSoy, Inc., OU parve). As we mentioned in a previous column, the soybean has been a part of American agriculture for over 200 years. However, it is only in the
last 5-10 years that it has become popular with the American consumer. Many attribute this to the increased interest in natural foods and Eastern medicine. Women in Asian countries, where soy is a large part of the diet, are less likely to experience symptoms of menopause and are less at risk for breast cancer.
Zensoy - a relatively new company – was launched with the hopes of providing the consumer with organic soymilk products that are not only healthy but have a great taste. We had the opportunity to try the soymilk and the puddings. While to me most soymilks taste the same, I was very impressed with the puddings. Available in vanilla, chocolate and banana, they are filled with flavor. The banana, which is my favorite, tasted like a smoothly processed
banana and was delicious. The chocolate had a slight bittersweet taste, but also very flavorful. The soymilk is available in four flavors: vanilla, chocolate, plain and, my favorite, cappuccino. They are all lactose free and enriched with calcium and vitamin D. The puddings and soymilks can be found in your local supermarkets, health food stores or on the web at www.zensoy.com
* Grandma Taylor’s Gourmet Dipping Cookies (Perfections by Allan, Star K parve). Centuries ago sailors on long voyages would eat a type of cookie called hardtack. This was a hard crunchy biscuit that had been thoroughly baked to remove any moisture. This would enable the sailors to keep them for months at a time. When Columbus sailed in the 15th century his sailors were eating biscotti. Baking history believes that biscotti were first
introduced in the Tuscany region of Italy in the 13th century.
The word biscotti come from two Italian words: bis, which means twice and cotto, which means cooked. Traditional biscotti is made by forming the dough into logs, baking it, and then, after it has cooled, slicing the log and baking the individual cookies.
I have had the pleasure of trying many different types of biscotti and can honestly say that none are as good as Grandma Taylor’s. Made from a recipe dating back to the early 1900s, they are incredibly delicious. Crunchy yet not crumbly, they are made by hand with all natural ingredients. This is a snack everyone in you family will love, whether with a cup of coffee or tea or on its own. Our favorite by far is the Chocolate Dipped, where half the cookie is
covered with a layer of dark chocolate. It tastes slightly sinful but is not high in fat or calories. Others in our office enjoyed the Cinnamon Walnut, with a slight nutty taste, Cinnamon Raisin and Cranberry Pistachio. Unfortunately, these delicious delicacies can only be
ordered by calling 800-581-8670.
About the Author: Magazine Editor, The Jewish Press
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Having everyone home on a snow day can be a lot of fun – the first few times it happens. Once snow day number six hits, perhaps not so much and the real creativity has to come out.
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