Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Let's go to the Kosher store, shall we?

Let the all out shopping frenzy begin! Today, Purim, is the historic start of the Passover shopping mania. Today is the day when you load up your shopping cart with all the delicious things you can afford to buy this week. Things like chicken, and lots of it. Or turkey. Brisket is always a nice addition to your freezer.

It's too early to stock up on the hardcore Passover stuff. That won't be in the stores for another week or so, but to get decent cuts of meat and the specialty items you want to make sure you're going to have on hand, it's time to head to the Butcherie, Boston's best shopping experience for Kosher food.

Warning, the prices aren't for the faint of heart. This isn't bargain basement shopping. Nothing Kosher ever is. But the convenience of getting an entire holiday's worth of food in one fell swoop tends to make the prices a bit easier to bear. A bit.

The Butcherie is located in Brookline in a particular Jewish neighborhood. There are many Kosher restaurants, bakeries, fish mongers, and Judaica shops in the immediate neighborhood. But the Butcherie stands apart as the pinnacle of the insanity of Jewish shopping mania. Come with me now for a trip to Brookline.

Here we are across the street from the Butcherie. We've already visited Kolbo to see if we can find anything that might be appropriate as a wedding present for my nephew, who is getting married in the fall. Kolbo is filled with beautiful hand made Judaic crafts and is always a fun place to drop by for a visit. Our challah plate and knife come from Kolbo, as do some other ritual items we have.

Let's cross the street and enter into the inner sanctum of Kashrut. Look, it's the Israeli juices right at the door. Of course we had to get the diet tapuzina grapefruit juice drink. It's my favorite and it only has a teeny bit of real grapefruit in it, something I'm not allowed to eat or drink, but that I love. Sigh. Into the cart goes the bottle.

Next we're on the the wine section. I love me some nice Kosher wine. I got several bottles... ok I got 6. Including Pinot Grigio, my current fave after dinner relaxing wine. The wine department is excellent for Kosher wines. Plenty to choose from and enough variety so you can find something for everyone's taste. Including the grossly sweet concord grape concoction that my kids still favor.

Oh, we're going past the cheese and dairy items now. Bummer, no chocolate Leban. Leban is an Israeli yogurt that you have to experience to understand. I happen to love it. Lots of people don't. It's their loss! But look, we've found real middle eastern string cheese. Gotta get a couple of those.

Oh man, it's the smoked fish display. My personal downfall. We got some lox and some smoked whitefish salad. Yum...

Now we're at the chicken display. Man, there are a lot of chickens here. I got thighs, two whole cut-up Organic Wise chickens, a big mound of breasts, and a bag of drummettes for the Boy's Buffalo Chicken fix. He's addicted.

Next we're onto the heart of the store, the meat section. Of course there is an old lady complaining about the available brisket. There is always an old lady complaining about something. The butcher has a heart of gold. He's always helpful even when you can tell he wants to stomp said old lady into the dust. I don't blame him. Today they only had very small corned beef briskets, but I got one because it's a kid favorite. And I got a brisket for Pesach, plus some shish-ka-bob pieces.

In the prepared meats I got a gigantic salami and some hot dogs. We'll freeze the dogs and the salami will last a while.

Up and down the grocery aisle. Oh look, the Girl has found gummy Gefilte Fish. Like Swedish fish. She had to have them!

And she also had to have a bunch of Israeli snacks Bisslis and Bombis. I have no clue but she loves them. OK, into the cart they go.

We're almost done. We got a chocolate Babka for the Boy, some Halvah for us all, and then we got some Israeli salad and Pastrimi for dinner tonight. Yum! We looked at the kugels and the knishes, but I didn't get any. We had enough food to last a month anyhow.

Checking out is always fun. There are a bunch of older Russian women who have not cracked a smile since they left the old country who run the cash registers. The lines can be ridiculously long, especially right before Passover. That's their biggest time of year, when the store is so crowded you can't even maneuver the carts around and tempers fray exponentially as the holiday gets closer. It's a laugh riot the day before Pesach, let me tell you.

Today the gorgeous Israeli guy actually helped us out with our bags. This is a first in all the years we've been shopping there. But it was so pleasant not to have to drag the bags across streets and around corners. Oh, I didn't mention that there is no parking at the Butcherie. That makes for a fun time, especially since the shopping carts all have huge poles on them so you can't take them out of the store. Smart for them, a tad bit inconvenient for you.

With the groceries packed in the car, it's time to head home.

Check this out. All packed away in the fridge. There isn't an inch to spare. Isn't that one amazing packing job? It's a hidden talent of mine!

And people wonder why I'm so exhausted after a shopping trip.

Ok, truth, this is two shopping trips. Yesterday and today. I'm so freaking wiped I want to just cry. But we had to go to Old Navy too, as the Boy needed.... well, lingere of a sort.

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Blogger rashbre said...

I've visited Tel Aviv a few times and one of the enjoyable local foods was the hummus, which was always amazingly fresh and came in a variety of flavours/options.

Near to the office where I worked was a small mall with several cafes and a popular lunchtime stop was for hummus scooped up in warm pita bread.


Here today via Michele's!


4/3/07 4:50 PM  
Blogger mail said...

I made the mistake once of shopping at the Butcherie on, like, the day before Passover. Oy! Great photos and commentary!
The Boomer Chronicles

4/3/07 4:52 PM  
Blogger blackbird said...

I'm PROUD to know you!
A BRILLIANT recap of a perfect shopping trip!
For food!
One of our favorites!

4/3/07 5:05 PM  
Blogger Mr. Althouse said...

Your brought up a lot of terms I haven't heard since my paternal grandparents passed away some years ago. They were Russians from the old country. Actually, my grandmother was Ukrainian. She and my grandfather emigrated in 1917 - a time when nations and borders were about to undergo much change. But I digress -

My grandmother used to make all of that traditional food, spoke Yiddish with my grandfather and could make a stone feel guilty for not staying in touch with it's mother. My mother, who can cook like no ones business, is not Jewish and did not know the recipes, save fried Matzos.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Michele sent me,


4/3/07 6:14 PM  
Blogger kitten said...

margalit, thanks for a trip down memory lane. I'm not Jewish, but am ever so thankful for having friends that are. Even growing up in the south (in SC and New Orleans) we had a large community in both places and I'v been forever grateful for the wonderful things I've learned, and of course being me, the foods I learned to love (except for gefilte fish, ew...lol). I took a peek at the Butcherie's prices and they look down right cheap compared to here in Oz...lucky you. Not to mention there's almost no Kosher foods available anywhere *sigh*. I keep hoping hubs will get transferred to Melbourne where there's a much larger multi-cultural community of many from pretty much everywhere. Love reading your blog, especially since it helps me reminisce and keep in touch with one of my fav cities ever, Boston.

5/3/07 4:54 PM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

Gummi Gefilte Fish?!? Excellent! Must get down to New Rochelle and get me some!

Dropping by from the blog party--love your site!

8/3/07 6:59 PM  

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