Monday, March 30, 2009

Ask Orthonomics: Reader Seeks More tips on Lowering Pesach Costs

Reader Seeks More Tips on Lowering Pesach Costs

A reader wrote me looking for tips on lowering Pesach costs. I made one such post on money saving tips back in 2006. In 2007 I added some additional tips, less related to actual food.

I think the reader is doing great. But, there are always ways to cut back even more where needed. So please add your best tips. The readers are eager!

Dear SL,
I know that you are extremely busy preparing for Pesach. But if you have a chance to blog on how you keep down the cost of Passover, I would love to hear it. During the rest of the year, my food bills are extremely reasonable. I use all the frugal tricks that I can, and it seems to work. My family of five (plus nursing baby) eats well on about $125 a week. But then Pesach comes, and everything seems to fall apart. Without legumes, rice, and pasta as an option, I can’t seem to keep the cost at a reasonable level. Even not buying crazy items like frozen Passover pizza or Passover pasta, my food bill is ridiculous. Am I missing some trick?
1. My mother-in-law buys us shemurah matza. That is not part of the budget. I buy 10 pounds of regular machine matza at $1.00 a pound. (Five pound box=$5.00) and two boxes of whole wheat matza for $3.00 each.
2. I bought a case of good, not-too-expensive kosher wine at the local liquor store. It was $6.00 a bottle. I figure we have at least six bottles left at the end of Pesach.
3. I bought NO red meat for Pesach.
[Ground beef can actually be fairly frugal. Small fried meat patties on Pesach are part of the fare here and I find that ground beef stretches well in a meat pie or in small patties. It stretches well because it is filled with matza meal and (yes) more eggs].
4. I bought whole cut up chickens on sale at $1.99 a pound and fish on sale at $4.99 a pound. I spent $20 on chicken and about $55 on fish. [Good prices. A number of regular grocery stores also put Empire Turkey on sale for less than $2 a pound. Only problem is that you have to eat turkey day in and day out].
5. I bought cheese on sale at the local grocery store. I needed a lot for all the matza pizza, matza lasagna, and vegetable frittatas that I plan to make. Cream cheese, yogurts, orange juice, milk, and butter were also on sale so I bought that as well.
[This is probably one area that is inflating the budget. Unless you keep chalav yisrael, you probably buy OUD yogurts year round. We like yogurt, but it definitely adds up in the budget even when you are only paying 50 cents or less a yogurt. Kosher L'Pesach yogurt is at least double the price. But, there aren't too many great replacements aside from making your own yogurt, and I have yet to get that right!]
6. Eggs were on sale at $0.89 a dozen so I bought four dozen.
7. I know that I will spend about $150.00 on produce: lettuce, spinach, potatoes (!), sweet potatoes, apples, melons for fruit salad, cucumbers, onions, garlic, peppers, berries, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
[If you have a produce stand near you, try stopping in and seeing if they have less expensive produce. I regularly visit one produce store that marks down the older produce. I never know what I'm going to get and it isn't great for serving raw, but for roasting or sauteeing, it works, so long as I'm planning to use it up quickly. You can pretty much roast, steam, or sautee anything. And Pesach is a fairly quick holiday, so if you shop before you cook and once during chol hamoed, you might find a bit of extra savings].
8. I bought milk and orange juice on sale. Coke products were a loss leader at the grocery store so I bought 10 bottles of kosher-for-Passover soda. (I buy soda all year so that is not the problem.)
9. I shopped with my OU list so that I could buy regular olive oil, coffee, and sugar.
10. I still ended up spending $75 dollars on special kosher for Passover items that I couldn’t figure out how to do without: ketchup, tomato sauce, spices, soup mixes, matza ball mix (okay, this one I could make with plain matza meal), matza meal, chocolate, cake mixes, syrup for the matza brei, and apple sauce (okay, I guess I should make this.) [We all spend extra money on Pesach simply because we need to buy unopened products that we normally buy a little at a time throughout the year. You can feel your wallet shrinking when you have to buy a lot all at once. In addition, we end up paying a premium for some products like tomato sauce. If you really feel the need to cut back on this part of the expenses, the best recommendation I have at this moment is to think about how you can adjust your menus in order to cut back on some of the KLP items. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done because we all have things we like to eat and that our kids are willing to eat. I wouldn't kick yourself over the cost of applesauce. I'mnot sure making your own would be less expensive, although homemade applesauce is always incredible].

What do other people do to keep the cost down? Also, how do other people manage to incorporate flavor into their cooking without all of the available spices, oils, and condiments. [I too would love to here more from others about getting more flavor into the Pesach menu. I try to make salads with lemon juice and vegetables with garlic, but I miss the things I can't get/use].


Anonymous said...

Some tips from me!

1) Yes, ground beef is not that expensive. My family likes meatballs and with the sauce it stretches even further.

2) I cannot say enough about the discount for buying a 5 lb. block of cheese and grating it by hand. The grating is not such hard work, and the discount is at least $2.50 per pound. Plus it lasts longer and tastes fresher.

3) If you are not cholov yisroel there are non-heimishe brands of yogurt that our OUP, such as Dannon (coffee, lemon, vanilla) and, I'm told, ShopRite brand. I just bought 2+ dozen on sale, since they go on sale whenever Dannon does.

4) I have heard in the past that whole spices are kasher l'Pesach with just an OU and don't need the OUP. This was several years ago, and the chumra patrol may have taken over since then. It can't hurt to ask your rabbi.

5) Plain chocolate makes a good dessert.

6) I gave in to the splurge and bought 2 overpriced bags of Terra Chips with the Kof-K P. They'll be gone within hours, but it's like a Yom Tov treat for my kids, plus they also feel like they're eating something that's not "Pesach food."

Orthonomics said...

Great tips. I've got to check out Danon. Perhaps they don't carry the KLP label in my area. Otherwise, I'm somehow going to get to NJ for Shoprite brand.

I think the chumra patrol has taken over with the spices. In very OOT communities many moons ago people used any unopened spice with an OU, not just whole spices. I don't own a grinder yet, so whole spices would require yet another expense.

Thanks for adding your tips. I can't wait to check the Danon yogurts. My kids love the lemon flavor.

Lion of Zion said...

eggs and kedem grape juice from costco

rosie said...

There is an article on today's about a store in CH that gives the yeshiva rebbeim of a certain yeshiva their produce at cost price and sends about 100 boxes of free produce to needy families. The article is actually about price hikes before Pesach in Brooklyn stores.

SuperRaizy said...

Well.. we could eliminate Pesach altogether. That would save us all a lot of money. (OK, OK, it was just a thought.)

Ezzie said...

Nothing outrageous there (not that I've ever made Pesach...), but perhaps it's just the quantity that's off? People seem to buy enough on Pesach to last for 3-4 weeks.

We're only talking about 8 (maybe 10-11 if you count the days before/after from cleanup/until shopping) days, two meals of which are sedarim where you're pretty full from Matzah.

Re: Spices, my parents would just hold over spices year to year in a ziploc.

GilaB said...

I think the problem with modern ground spices is anti-caking agents, which are frequently kitniyos. Someday I'll probably want a Pesach spice grinder, but I'm not cooking enough of yom tov to make the investment worth it right now. I suppose I could kasher my little stone mortar and pestle, then toast and grind spices the old-fashioned way, but that's not happening this year.

Flavoring agents:
-Roasted garlic makes a good, cheap condiment: take a head of garlic, peel off the outer papery stuff without peeling the actual cloves, and slice off the very top of the head, cutting off a little bit of most of the cloves. Wrap it in aluminum foil, drizzling on a bit of olive oil before closing it up, and roast it at 450 F for about 45 minutes, or until it yields easily to pressure. You can mash the soft cloves themselves on stuff as a spread (this is great with challah during the rest of the year), or puree them and use them as a condiment and flavoring ingredients. Use it in a vinaigrette on any simple roasted/steamed vegetable.
-Fresh herbs are great flavoring agents for Pesach, although they're not always super budget-friendly. Roast things with rosemary (one $1 bunch goes a long, long way) or thyme, throw handfuls of parsley or cilantro on almost anything savory, and make pestos or other herb purees for sauces and dips. I make a puree of parsley ($1 a bunch, and if you're pureeing, you can throw in the stems, too), a garlic clove, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and olive oil, then stir it into plain yogurt as a fish sauce, although I realize this may not appeal to some children. You can leave out the garlic and pepper, and add some lemon or lime juice and get something less powerful but still very flavorful. You can drizzle an herb puree on almost any steamed or roasted vegetable and it'll look impressive and add plenty of flavor.
-Citrus zests are also good - you can sprinkle a bit of lemon zest on simple roasted vegetables to give them a brighter flavor, although going overboard can make things bitter.

rachel in israel said...

1) Cheese: I've learned to treat cheeses like I treat red meat or chicken. I buy regularly a slice cheese that my daughter likes since she doesn't eat too much milk products. But I barely cook with cheeses, instead I use the soft cheeses and milk products, cottage, gvina levana (exact translation anyone?) sour cream. I make my pesach lasagne with those and just a tiny bit of hard cheese on top.

2) Spices. When I lived in the states I always had the same problem as you do, nothing to buy. This sounds extreme, but if you know someone who lives in israel or traveling to israel for pesach, you can ask them to get you some of your favorite spices and simply save them from year to year. In the states we use to do the same for teas since they doubles and tripled the price.

3)Mixes, sodas, and special pesach products. Here is where the biggest savings can come from. Getting rid of sodas is a great idea for pesach and all year round, money and health-wise. Making a cake mix from scratch and using the boxes isn't that different. The boxes is just the dry ingredients mixed, you still have to add eggs and oil. Honey may be cheaper that the syrup, or use jelly. Can you talk to your kids about surviving a week without ketchup? same for mayo. They are expensive, taste horrible and then you are stuck with the leftover. Trade the ketchup for another homemade treat they like. Soup mixes, same as soda, healthier without them IMHO.

4) after pesach you can try to start your own indoor spice garden, great project for the kids. Hopefully it'll give you a year or trial and error so you have cheap spices next year.

5)Follow the Haggada's last recommendation: Next Year in Yerushalaim! I haven't seen chicken prices inflated for pesach here! (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Lion of Zion said...

my suggestion: don't go to the expensive car wash salon:

also, stay away from all those new products that appear year where they try to make something chometzdik into kosher for passover. sometimes we get excited and buy a lot of it, only to find out when we get home that it tastes like crap and we're stuck with it.



Pesach Stinks! said...

What do you do when your dear spouse insists on every chumra in the
book for Pesach? Only chalav yisrael cheese/milk since regular OU-P
isn't good enough on Pesach. Other food must be KAJ or CRC as a second
choice. I almost die when we HAVE to buy brand X for $2.99 when
national brand Y with an OU-P is on sale for $1.49. Or the fact that we must buy Glicks Dishwashing soap for $1.69 instead of a brnad new bottle of Joy on sale for $.99 plus a coupon.

HELP!!! I've been fighting this battle for fifteen years. Pesach is a
really bad time for shalom bayis!

ProfK said...

A way to stretch that ground beef and that almost no one can tell the difference of from pure beef is to mix one package of hamburger meat with one package of ground turkey in equal amounts--got four packages of the ground turkey breast at $1.50 per pound on special this week. Add in spices, some egg whites or whole eggs, a few tablespoons of potatoe starch and about 8-10 ounces of room temperature tap water. Mix well. You can fry this mixture or bake it in patties or use it for a meat loaf. It also makes super fluffy meat balls when cooked in a sauce. Want a fancier version? Make up the hamburger and the turkey separately using the listed ingredients. On a sheet of waxed paper pat out the hamburger until a fairly thin rectangle is achieved. Next, spread the turkey mix on top of the hamburger patting it to cover. Now use the edge of the waxed paper to help you roll up the mixture lengthwise jelly roll fashion. Bake in a medium oven. Serve in slices.

The kosher grocery stores carry a large variety of spices. The prices were better a few weeks ago then now. I found bay leaves, oregano, basil, dill, paprika,parsley flakes, cinnamon, cloves, two kinds of pepper and some of those imported from Israel spice mixes (didn't buy these as the sodium content is out of sight) all with good hechsherim for Pesach. yes you can keep them from one year to the next but after a few years they lose their potency.

Re the spice grinder, you don't need to get an expensive one--just how much use is it going to get for one week a year? The local hardware store had one for $9.00.

Rachel--I think that gevina levana equates to farmers cheese here in the states.

One way to hold down expenses is to make up a weeks worth of recipes for what you will be cooking over yom tov and make up a shopping list with that meal list in mind. If you won't be making anything with that mayo in it, then don't get the mayo. Ditto for anything else that may catch your eye in the stores but that won't actually be used on yom tov. And instead of those super expensive packaged snacks my family is perfectly happy with jello.

Anonymous said...

I am always astonished at the plethora of KLP products offered. Sugary cereals? Boxed cake mixes?
Lots of varieties of candy? For one week a year, we simply give up eating junk food. NO ONE NEEDS marshamallows regardless of the hashgacha on them!!!!! I make so much food for the seder that we have plenty of leftovers to eat for part of the week. You can eat very simply and DELICIOUSLY. Baked fresh fish. Salads and vegetables and fruit every meal. You really DO NOT NEED KLP ice cream! You can make your own mayo. I don't use cottonseed oil. It's not considered a foodstuff by the FDA. Try olive oil or grapeseed oil. If you don't like salads, then try making soup. Fleisig or milchig. I use a lot of fresh herbs and that makes things taste wonderfully delicious. SephardiLady is correct. Often ground beef/meat is a real good option. I make a meatloaf roll using mashed potatoes and mashed carrots. Make your meatloaf into a rectangle and place the mashed potatoes on one half and the mashed carrots on the other. Roll up and you'll have a nice colorful pinwheel roll. Go through your cookbooks or the library's and use this as a time to get creative with SIMPLE foods.
Simple homemade food ultimately is best for you for health and $$$$ reasons. YOU DO NOT NEED DESSERTS for non-Seder meals.

tdr said...

Star K says raw nuts purchased from Trader Joe's are fine without Pesach hechsher. These are MUCH cheaper than the nuts you get at the kosher grocery store. Also the frozen fruit at TJ's is a decent price though fairly pricey in any case.

Selena said...

I also agree about the ground beef. I got it on sale here (way out of town) for 3.99 a pound.

Also, Philadelphia Cream Cheese is KLP, as is Lucurne (Safeway) and Krogers. The Dannon Yogurt is a great cost savings. (it will say "kosher for Passover" right above the OU. You need to find the newer ones, b/c the ones that expire in the first week of April are obviously not useful and are also not KLP.

Commenter Abbi said...

Gila B: Even if the caking agent is a problem it's batel b'shishim. R' Ovadia Yosef said any spices are fine. And most spices I've seen here don't have anything except spices.

On the need to keep eating Turkey if you buy it: It's worth googling how to take apart a turkey and if your family enjoys it, maybe even getting a pair of pesach poultry shears.

If you take it apart and freeze the parts, you can make all different kinds of dishes during and after pesach: turkey shnitzel from the sliced up breast or just roasted with some sauce in the oven (on or off the bone)- very tasty and you can cook it for less time and end up with a juicer breast then if you leave the bird whole;

roast the thighs or if you're very adventerous, debone the thighs, bread them and fry or bake them and your family will think they're eating breaded veal chops! (we get deboned thighs here; they're called turkey shwarma.) On oven frying: a light spray of cooking spray makes them brown and crispy. Otherwise- adding a tablespoon of oil to the eggs and coating the pan with oil and turning them once after putting them in the pan also makes them brown and crispy.

You can make soup from the legs and the wings (even better if you have the neck but i think they take that off in the states)- just as tasty as chicken soup.

Commenter Abbi said...

On flavoring: When in doubt, olive oil, salt and lemon makes everything taste great: chicken, vegetables, salad, potatoes (maybe minus the lemon, but with could be interesting), sweet potatoes ( better with honey or silan rather than lemon, but again could be interesting ) roasted eggplant and zuchinni, roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes with basil garlic, roasted butternut squash with almonds, roasted brussels sprouts (these are truly a treat and i really recommend them. They're a whole new way to enjoy a boring vegetable.) roasted beets with walnuts.

(roasted veggie tip: your oven neeeds to be HIGH and don't crowd the pan, otherwise you end up with stewed vegetables, which is nice too, but not when you want roasted)

A good meat roast only needs wine, garlic and maybe rosemary. If you're potting it, canned tomatoes or tomatoe paste is nice too.

I agree with the poster above: simple and fresh is the way to go. The packaged stuff just isn't necessary.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to sidetrack, but here is the link to the entire Baltimore presentation, including materials and videos:

Of interest to the group is the Mesila Baltimore project

Selena said...

There are a few dishes I always make during Pesach that are delicious and not expensive:

1. Mazto/meat pies. Layered with mashed potatos and/or spinich and the meat layers have eggs and mazto meal added. 1 lb of meat will feed easily a table of 8 people (assuming you have side dishes, which of course everyone has :) ).

2. Sweet and Sour Chicken. I cut the chicken breast into small pieces and coat each with egg and salt then dip into potato starch. Deep fry (I usually just use the olive oil, but you could use some other pesach oil). Then I add 2 onions, 3-4 peppers (green, red, yellow) a few carrots thinly sliced, and a can of pineapple (if I have it, or a fresh pineapple cut up, whatever is cheaper). Add a jar of duck sauce (the season brand that they sell at Target near me is KLP all year long). Sometimes I serve it with quninoa, if I want to be fancy. It tastes delicious and only takes 1 lb of chicken. Can use boneless thighs if you have them also.

We served the sweet and sour chicken for a lunch during the last days and it was a big hit, and I had left overs, even after having 8 people at the meal!

Selena said...

Oh, for salads, I really like health slaw (like coleslaw but no mayo.) You just thinly slice cucumbers, peppers, red onions and add a coleslaw bag. i think the dressing is red wine vinegar (the heinz brand is KLP and oost about 1.50) and sugar (KLP as well. I like C & H). Add some salt and pepper.

I also use balsamic vinegar a lot. It is a little pricy, but a little goes a long way, and it makes everything really tasty. You can cook meats with it, or mix it with oil and sugar to make super yummy dressings.

Anonymous said...

I miss flavor so much during Pesach. My family does not use any spices during Pesach that are not certified as kasher l'pesach, and the lack of spices makes me understand why the spice trade was so lucrative. Herbs, onions, and garlic just don't quite replace them. I want my cumin, nutmeg, and coriander. I also so miss soy sauce (chametz), toasted sesame oil (can't find), and mustard seeds (kitniyot). I think it is hard for people who eat Eastern European-style food year round to appreciate the loss of flavor that hits when having to cook with just salt, pepper, bad vinegar, sugar,lemon, and herbs. I know that I am spoiled the rest of the year being able to get all the things that I do. But I still wish there were more spices to buy.

Anon819 said...

SL, I would be very interested in a follow up to the question from Pesach Stinks. What if one person in the family is concerned about the budget but the other has gotten talked into keeping expensive chumras? (We resolved this when the other spouse finally got more realistic about expenses, otherwise would still be in that exact situation.)

Commenter Abbi said...

Anon 1:32 Pereg Spices are OUP imported from Israel:

You can order online and probably get it by pesach.

Here's the OU list of kosher l'pesach spices.

Although honestly, if you're that attached to spices, get a cheap spice grinder and toast and spice your own. It's really not a big deal. There's no need to get all wistful about all the seasonings you'll miss. And it's good to expand your taste buds a bit.

I don't cook "Eastern European" and Pesach has never been a problem for me.

This spice grinder can be yours for 15 dollars.

I've never heard of whole spices needing a hechsher.

Soy sauce is full of salt, so it's probably good to take a break for a week anyway.

Ariella's blog said...

Commentator Abbi is correct about spices. I believe that even in the ground version, spices like black pepper and cinnamon are ok to use. One of the easiest way to prepare vegetables is to roast them in the oven, especially with the baby peppers that do not even have to be cut.

the comment before that is interesting. My son seemed to be contemplating the chumra of only eating hand shmura matza for Pesach. Basically, I told him that I will not prepare foods for taht. I intend to use the standard machine matza for all my gebrokts recipes. At $11 to $20 a pound, there is no way I am buying hand shmura mataza to be used for all 8 days.

Anonymous said...

ProfK - Rachel--I think that gevina levana equates to farmers cheese here in the states.

Gvina Levana is *NOT* anything like farmer cheese. It is much closer to sour cream, but usually has less fat than sour cream does. It cannot be found among the common US dairy brands, just like sour cream cannot be found among the common Israeli dairy brands.

The dairy product that I miss most of all from Israel is the wonderful and extremely tasty 9% cottage cheese. That is the best cottage cheese I have ever tasted in my life. That is also not found among the common dairy brands here in the USA.


Unknown said...

Mark, sour cream can be found in almost any Israeli dairy case; it's called simply "shamenet" as opposed to "shamenet metuka" ( cream as opposed to "sweet cream")

Israeli dairy rocks. I don't know how Americans get along without it.

Anonymous said...

SA - Mark, sour cream can be found in almost any Israeli dairy case; it's called simply "shamenet" as opposed to "shamenet metuka" ( cream as opposed to "sweet cream")

Ahhh yes, I can't believe I forgot shamenet. But it still isn't exactly the same as sour cream. US sour cream is just so creamy and smooth - when you spoon it, it forms a pointed peak. Shamenet - when you spoon it, it forms a "break". But they are very similar.

Israeli dairy rocks. I don't know how Americans get along without it.

I don't quite get along without it :-(


Anonymous said...

My Shoprite store in NJ had some nice deals on a few items. Friendship sour cream is $0.99 and cottage cheese is $1.49 per 16 oz carton; if you have coupons for these they are an even better deal. Shoprite brand cream cheese bars are $0.88 this week. SR brand cranberry sauce is $0.89 per can. For all of these items, make sure to look for the OU-P on the package, since there are non-kosher for passover versions of these products as well. They also have Kedem apple juice for $1.49 per 64 oz bottle, which is the best price I've seen around here for that. If you have the coupon from the circular, you can get a free 5-lb package of Yehuda or Osem matza when you spend $50 (before coupons). They are also running a promotion for a free frozen kosher turkey or turkey breast if you spend $300. Even if you don't spend that much, kosher turkeys are $1.19 per lb & turkey breast $1.89 per lb. That's the lowest price I usually see for frozen kosher turkey.

Anonymous said...

We use fresh spices (you can get them from the store), then I make up either olive oil with garlic and spices to be added to other food or cook a generic "mix" with sauteed onions, garlic, and spice, hot peppers and fruit (or any combination that you want).
For cheese last year we started making our own. You can make lemon cheese with just lemon juice and milk. It is a soft cheese (think goat cheese) and very inexpensive to make. 1 gallon of milk makes 1 lb of cheese (more or less). You can add dill and other spices to it as well.

I stopped buying any tomato KLP products except katsup.

GilaB said...

Yes, I think your 'lemon cheese' is basically paneer (the Indian fresh cheese). If you simmer the milk first, add lemon juice, and simmer for another few minutes, then drain in cheesecloth for a while (an hour or so), you get ricotta. Make sure to use whole milk for either one.

alpidarkomama said...

When I plan my menus, I take a list of all the things that don't require a special klp hechscher and base my menu on those things. The only "extras" I buy are a bottle of catsup, a jar of mayo, 2 bottles of oil, matzo and matzo meal, a box of chocolate candies, and potato starch. Otherwise, it's all raw ingredients. Last year I spent about 25% over my usual weekly budget. This year I'm striving for 0%!

Tamiri said...

Anonymous said...
I miss flavor so much during Pesach. My family does not use any spices during Pesach that are not certified as kasher l'pesach, and the lack of spices makes me understand why the spice trade was so lucrative. Herbs, onions, and garlic just don't quite replace them. I want my cumin, nutmeg, and coriander. I also so miss soy sauce (chametz), toasted sesame oil (can't find), and mustard seeds (kitniyot). I think it is hard for people who eat Eastern European-style food year round to appreciate the loss of flavor that hits when having to cook with just salt, pepper, bad vinegar, sugar,lemon, and herbs. I know that I am spoiled the rest of the year being able to get all the things that I do. But I still wish there were more spices to buy.

March 31, 2009 1:32 PM
Coriander: buy fresh. It's also called cilantro and looks like parsley.
Bad vinegar: what's wrong with Heinz?
Nutmeg: buy one and grate yourself if you can't find KFP ground

I pride myself in very flavorful food prep and can't say that one week without soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and mustard seeds make that much of a diff. I also have a pile of KFP spices!

Unknown said...

Tamiri: fresh cilantro is an herb, coriander is a spice that is ground. (Coriander are the seeds, cilantro are the leaves of the plant). Same plant, different parts, different tastes.

I agree, we have to keep in perspective that this is one week.

One thing that will help with my food bill is that I spent drastically less the week before (this week) finishing up the chametz.

For the week I've spent 87 shekel and i plan on spending max 100 shekel on shabbat. I normally spend about 600 per week.

Ben-David said...

"gvinah levana" is closer to "creme fraiche" or Indian panir - sort of like a smooth cottage cheese.

You can save a lot of money (at least here in Israel) by buying your own chickens. I have learned to bone them - so I have chicken parts and use the carcass for soup.

The charm of Pesach for me is the return to fresh, simply cooked foods. I pass by almost all the new KLP packaged goods - just like I try to avoid them during the year.

Don't forget soup - it's usually still not so warm that soup is not appreciated.

I agree with Ezzie that people buy and prepare WAY too much food for just a week.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the logic of trading hard cheese for meat. Meat is so fundamental to simchat yom tov and in the fillet form is CHEAPER than cheese ounce per ounce.

Another myth is that ground turkey or chicken is less costly. Wrong, they have more fat than beef and therefore less cost. Even chicken is on par if not more costly than beef ounce per ounce when you consider waste and fat.

The trick to keeping meat costs down is to just eat a little less of it.

This year I only bought 1 lb of hand shmurer matzah. If machine shmurer is good enough for R. Solevechick its good enough for me. If a guest MUST have shmurer matzah past the seder, let them bring their own. ENOUGH MADNESS.

Response to above said...

Let me explain the logic of trading hard cheese for meat:
1. There is a tradition to not serve roasted meat or chicken at the seder. No one in my family will eat boiled meat or chicken. It seems like a total waste to buy expensive meat that people won't enjoy.
2. I like the taste of dairy.
3. The hard cheese was $6.00 a pound (good sale). Every chunk of meat at the store cost more than $6.00 a pound.
4. Dessert is an integral part of my simchat yom tov. Dairy cakes and desserts taste so much better and are usually cheaper to make than pareve ones.
4. It sounds like you are playing the game of the old peanut butter commercial, "Ounce for ounce, Skippy has more protein." One pound of meat usually feeds a lot less people than one pound of cheese used as a flavoring. A little bit of hard cheese goes a long way especially when you consider that it is being combined with $2.00 a pound cottage cheese. Yes, meat can be used as a flavoring agent, but people are far more likely to expect to eat a chunk of meat than a chunk of cheese as a main dish.

Anonymous said...

This year I only bought 1 lb of hand shmurer matzah. If machine shmurer is good enough for R. Solevechick its good enough for me. If a guest MUST have shmurer matzah past the seder, let them bring their own. ENOUGH MADNESS.

I suppose it depends. At our (by 'our', I mean the extended family since we almost always have them together) sedarim, we provide all sort of things -

* Matzah - we have various kinds. Regular cheap matzah, of course, a whole bunch of it. For my parents and my brother and I, Breur machine shemura matzah. For various other people, hand shmurah (my wife got it for about $20 a box this year, 4 boxes). One brother-in-law likes Shatzer matzah, so he gets a box or two of that. My other brother-in-law sometimes prefers a different brand that he finds elsewhere.

Karpas - all sorts, radish, potato, greens, parsley, etc. I usually try all of them (hiddur mitzvah :-)

Maror - we have lots, chunks of horseradish, ground horseradish, romaine, and perhaps a few others that people like.

Charoset - at least 2 kinds, the traditional nuts and wine kind, and my mother sometimes makes a date-based one that is very tasty.

Wine - many different kinds. Sometimes my father will treat us to a "fancy" bottle of expensive stuff ($35+). We have red and white, with alcohol levels that vary from 5% to 14.5%, plus grape juice. Some moscato for those that want sweet white, zinfandel, etc, and some real reds (Cabernet, Merlow, Shiraz, etc) for those who like those. Most of us drink cheaper wine, and we aren't crazy makpid on finishing the entire cup.


Chana said...

I find that kids who you normally don't find to be fussy about what they eat, pull long faces when foods aren't seasoned the way they are used to. The same can be true for some adults, and, with Pesach and Chol HaMoed guests, you will find some who will leave your table hungry because they have just picked at the food.

I agree that the Heimische pre-packaged pancake and waffle brands that are KLP are pretty awful. They have a metallic aftertaste. It is easy to mix up the dry ingredients yourself, and have enough on hand for the various days. In the past when I did use the KLP mixes, I would always have some leftover, which I then mixed in with the regular Kosher brand. None of it went to waste in my house.

I use a lot of ketchup over Pesach for french fries, etc. Since I have some left over at the end of yom tov, I generally just add some to any pasta sauce I am making, and any cholent or stew. I don't think that the KLP ketchups are that different from the usual heimische brands.

Every year, I think that Pesach should never be that much of an issue since we can use any root vegetable out there, and things that grow above the ground like cabbage, peppers and tomatoes. By the third day is when I get a bit tired of the limited choices.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

When ‘dayanim’, ‘rabbis’ and false ‘mekubalim’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this behaviour is abhorrent.

No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ - even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.

Therefore, the ‘rabbi’, ‘dayyan’ or false ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.

The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Amm israel can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

We are commanded in the Shema to:
‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
“Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

“Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”