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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Oneg Shabbat’

Goodbye Dairy: Hello Tofutti!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Tofu.

For most of us, the word conjures up images of a spongy white unpalatable mass that is best left on the shelf of our local health food emporium.

But for New Jersey resident David Mintz, tofu is a magical substance that holds endless possibilities, particularly for the kosher consumer. For over thirty two years, Mintz’s Tofutti Brands has waved its magic wand, transforming soybean curd into numerous non-dairy delights, most notably, Tofutti, a non-dairy ice cream substitute available nationwide – and in thirty foreign countries.

There is no doubt that Mintz comes by his obsession for feeding people honestly. The son of a Williamsburg baker, he began his career in the food business in the mid 1960′s with a Catskills grocery store, quickly discovering that the real money was in selling prepared foods. He augmented his own recipe base by recruiting help from experienced cooks, by placing an ad in a local publication asking grandmothers to share their cooking secrets with him. Eventually, Mintz relocated to Brooklyn, opening two restaurants there, with a third on Manhattan’s East Side, in addition to a thriving catering business. While customer’s enjoyed Mintz’s menu, he was besieged with requests from those who wanted ice cream for dessert.

“Obviously I couldn’t serve ice cream after a meat based meal,” recalled Mintz. “I lost a lot of business that way. I even had people who would ask me to supply the food for an event and then they would bring in their own ice cream for dessert, but I couldn’t go along with that. I wondered what I could do to solve this problem and that was what spurred me on.”

Having read about tofu, which had long been used in China, Mintz ventured to Chinatown in order to conduct his own trials with the chameleon-like soybean curd. At first taste, tofu left a lot to be desired.

“It tasted like biting into a pillow,” reminisced Mintz.

Undaunted, Mintz began to experiment, discovering early on that while tofu made an impressive non-dairy sour cream substitute and incorporated it into numerous recipes, including quiches and dips. But turning tofu into ice cream was a much more difficult process, ultimately it took Mintz ten years.

“I would close my restaurant at nine and then would begin ‘Tofu Time’, when the ladies would work with me till two, three or even four in the morning, trying to create a passable ice cream product,” said Mintz. “There were so many disappointments and I can’t even begin to count how many times I nearly gave up.”

In fact, it was the Lubavticher Rebbe who provided Mintz with continuous encouragement during his ten-year odyssey.

“The whole block where my Manhattan restaurant was located was bought by Donald Trump in order to make way for Trump Plaza,” explained Mintz. “I kept asking for extensions, but they were razing the entire area and I had to leave. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin from the Upper West Side came into my restaurant and offered to help me out at a new location on 72nd and Broadway. I made all the arrangements and then I went to see the Rebbe for a bracha.”

The Rebbe categorically refused to give his blessing to the new restaurant.

B’shum oyfen nisht, (Absolutely not),” declared the Rebbe.

“Why not,” queried Mintz. “It is a golden opportunity.”

“It is not for you,” responded the Rebbe.

Instead, the Rebbe encouraged Mintz to continue with his tofu experiments, assuring him divine assistance and ultimately worldwide success.

“The Rebbe was my driving force,” recalled Mintz. “He told me I could do the impossible and he urged me to have bitachon, to believe that Hashem would help me. There were many times I was ready to throw in the towel and then I would remember the Rebbe’s words. The next day, I would pick the towel up again and get back to work.”

Mintz’s earliest test runs, at the Welsh Farms plant in Long Valley, New Jersey, were nothing short of disastrous, as the Tofutti prototypes were too viscous for the ice cream machines and literally blew out of the presses, spraying geysers of the ice cream substitute all over the ceiling.

Some Guidelines For Visitation (Part 3)

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006


(Names Changed)


 


   The first two suggestions I received from people who were chronically ill, hospitalized, in nursing homes or just out of the hospital, were to keep your visits short and not ask questions or make comments that were invasive about the illness. The third item that came up repeatedly was not to come in large groups to visit. Two people at a time seemed to be fine. Most people told me that once the group got to be three or more it was tiring and difficult to handle.


 


    The added problem was that if there were four or more people, the visit seemed to develop a “party flavor.” Friends talked to each other with the volume of their voices rising to be heard over the other conversations. This exhausted the person they were visiting. At times it left them completely ignored, without the intended company, as every one chatted with the other visitors, often excluding the very person who prompted their visit.


 


 Since many woman as well as men work these days, the only time that a visit is easily made may be on Shabbos. As a result, a person just home from the hospital may find that they were greeted on their first Shabbos home with a crowd of visitors. One person told me that as many as 15 people showed up. Many of these visitors hadn’t seen each other for a while, so they chatted with each other for an excessively long time. This did not allow the very person they came to see and comfort a chance to get the rest she so desperately needed. Instead of being a choleh - a sick person in a bikur cholim setting, she became the hostess of an “Oneg Shabbat.”


 


 When Shulamit was hospitalized and had surgery, all she wanted was to wash her hair and have a shower. When permission was finally given for her to take a shower, she had a room full of visitors. They easily offered to wait outside her room until she was finished. The nurse helped Shulamit get ready for the shower, but once the water started washing over her, all she could think of was her family waiting for her to finish so they could re-enter the room. Instead of the leisurely shower she had so looked forward to, she rushed through the process, not taking adequate care of herself emotionally or physically.


 


 She told me that if everyone had just gone for coffee, she would have taken her time, with the knowledge that her parents were sitting down and chatting. Picturing her elderly parents standing just outside the door waiting for her to finish, so they could come back in and sit down, greatly disturbed her and did not allow her to properly care for herself.


 


 When Peninah came home from the hospital, she was looking forward to have visitors break up the boring recuperation time. She understood that people would probably not come on Monday, her first day home, but by Thursday her anticipation turned into depression, when not a single person had dropped in to see how she was. She had lived in this community for many, many years. Where, she wondered were her friends and acquaintances?


 


 She was in no condition to prepare for Shabbos, and her mother and mother-in- law had sent over the meals. But because she was feeling so poorly and depressed, she hadn’t had the where-with-all to set the table for Shabbos. There was no cloth on the table. Dishes where piled in the sink. Laundry lay in piles on the floor near the washer waiting to be done. Her house looked like a normal weekday instead of Shabbos. But, it was just that Friday night when her friends had decided to visit.


 


 Peninah was overwhelmed and terribly embarrassed. When her friends offered to help set her table for the Shabbos meal, she felt worse. Not only was she overwhelmed by the many visitors, but their offers of help now, though well meant, just made her feel inadequate. After her friends left, she pushed herself far beyond what she was supposed to do and put herself at risk, to clean her house just in case others showed up Shabbos afternoon.


 


 When you visit a person who is sick, and a new group of people arrives, take that as your cue to leave. In this way, the person who is ill will not be overloaded, or worse still, ignored. If a health care professional shows up during your visit and needs time with your friend or relative, and you are asked to leave for a while, go to the hospital or nursing home cafeteria or cut your visit short. Tell them where you are going so they don’t feel they have to rush through their shower or bandage change, etc., because you’re just standing and waiting just outside the door.


 


 Even though weekends are easier, try to visit during the week, especially if you are not working outside the home. Try staggering your Shabbos visits with friends so that they are not overwhelming, and everyone will not show up at the same time. If you think they need help to prepare for Shabbos, offer it beforehand. That way, even if you come just at candle-lighting to help set the table, etc., they will take it as a kindness and not a reflection of their inadequate housekeeping. And the healing, which we all want to see, will take place more easily and perhaps even faster.


 


 You can contact me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/some-guidelines-for-visitation-part-3/2006/12/20/

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