Pardon me, I have been, and will continue to be, busy with creative projects toward an upcoming wedding in the family. I did want to write something regarding Passover Eats, so I'm popping back in to to that now.
What makes something kosher, generally? There is a great deal of care and specificity that goes into preparing kosher food, other than mixing milk and meat. The spiritual aspects are to do with both kindness and conscientiousness. That's really all I want to post about it, because if I post, for example, a list of what one would need to do to make a blueberry/strawberry cobbler, I would be stressing the wrong thing. If you care, you can certainly find that information on the internet or in person. Also, there's a whole lot I don't know, and I don't want to present myself as an expert.
First, let me tell you that in my day to day eating, I'm semi-kosher, fully vegetarian, moving toward vegan. At home I eat kosher. Out and about... well.. there are times you need to eat something from whatever is presented, not kosher, to keep the energy from tanking (even turning downright nasty) amongst those you're with. That's life in the Diaspora, it's just a fact. People understand vegetarian (usually) but they don't understand kosher. People in mixed office or social groups do not understand that if a person wants to eat kosher, that person does not necessarily think that they are better than you. Part of the confusion is due to the fact that there are those who eat kosher who DO think that way. So I'll state my own case: Eating kosher is an energy thing. If eating kosher does not increase positive energy, decreasing negative energy, then there is little or no point to it.
And now for something (almost) completely different- "kosher for Passover". For fun, here are a few basic things.
Anything that is kosher for Passover is kosher throughout the year, but not the other way around.
Any prepackaged kosher food has what's called a hechsher - a little symbol that indicates by its design which group of Rabbi's approved it as kosher. You could think of the different symbols that car companies have, it's similar. The same way that you can look at the back of a car & know who made it, you can know by looking at a pre packaged food item who said it was kosher. Reputation of the organization plays a part, and you wouldn't assume something was kosher just because it said so (think Kosher Dill). If the particular symbol isn't known to you, it can easily be looked up. The point of me telling you that is to tell you this simple thing- a packaged food item that is kosher for Passover will have that symbol (a hechsher) with a large P next to it. To complicate matters further, there is one group who will eat legumes (a large classification) on Passover and the other will not. MY shopping process is, pick up the package with the P- then read the ingredients.
As I have formerly described myself as semi-kosher, let me write now that I am very strict with what I will consume on Passover. I'll also tell you that I was extremely skeptical in the beginning that what I ate would make a difference at all. Mind over matter, right? Consciousness, right? What I have found through my own experience, at least for me, is that it completely does.
Eating on Passover is about dialing down the ego energy of existing as a human on the planet. It is root vegetables, bread that was prepared in such a way that it would not swell or rise, and other foods that do not expand, or have expansive energy. That's all that is consumed, even come in contact with, for eight days. For me, much like Shabbat, I didn't find out its effect until I I did it completely, no cheating. At the end of the holiday, I usually want it to keep going! A few times I have actually extended it by a few days, though not completely. Once, I didn't eat chametz until the following morning, and then it was only coffee WITH creamer.
Eating kosher for Passover, after preparing by cleaning has been the most powerfully aligning meditative process for me to date. There are so many others, I'm not sure why I don't feel as buckled in to them. Perhaps more study- oh, certainly more study would lead to a more solid spiritual adhesion. Also, Passover and the preparation are a highly active process, so it pulls me out of my intellect, and over-thinking. You see, out of my intellect is not where I prefer to be!
By the way, that soap I posted before, the mauve-ish one is still quite soft. The other loaf I poured is still soft too, but seems to be coming along nicely (pictured)!
Well, it has been a few days & it looks as though my sticky mess is not as big a mess as I thought. No longer sticky, I cut it up for curiosity's sake (and to see if it was riddled with goo). It... It looks like soap! I don't know what the ph is, as I don't have any strips yet. It's still very, very soft- but what I read is that in cases like this, let it try for 6 weeks. If it's still squishy, THEN re batch (cut it all up & cook it with tiny bits of water at a time to make it useable). Anyway, here it is now. I had aimed for lavender, while mixing it looked orange, now it appears to be a rather unattractive mauve. Smells nice, though.
Well! Here's one. An attempt at Cold Process soap. "Cold Process" doesn't mean there's no heat involved, it just means you don't add any. Combining the oils with lye water causes a little heat, then an amount of heat that would be alarming had you not already poured it into a mold. Anyway, I have made cold process soap before, from a kit & was not wild about the results. I had followed the instructions to the letter, but ended up with soap without much scent, that never dried out in the middle. Never. It may not have heated thoroughly, meaning never fully saponofied. I was loathe to try this again, but I then I read about Hot Process. Hot Process is where you heat a soap in a pot (crock pot is the popular way) forcing saponification & also causing the soap's ph to be ok for immediate use once it hardens. The Gemini in me loved that. Immediate. Yes, please. I also loved that I could freely add fragrance oil at a later stage of the process, when there was not as much (if any) lye to destroy it. I bought some ingredients, and by providence came across a crock pot of interest in a thrift store. Boolly! I got all the stuff together to give it a go, then noticed that the crock pot had oil or grease burned in a ring all the way around, just below the top. Steel wool didn't get it off. Humph. Back to google, & YouTube. Aha. Another thing- I could to a CPOP process, or Cold Process Oven Prosses. Cold process processing, then place in a toasty oven to ensure that heated all the way through. Ok, so.. Watched a few different videos on the process & sort of coalated them in my mind. This technique tends to work out VERY well when cooking something I have never cooked before, & I didn't anticipate a problem. Ahem.
I did NOT follow any directions to the letter. And honestly, there were so many variables, I have no idea why it happened. When I added the fragrance oil it clumped. I don't know if that has something to do with this sticky mess, or if it was the attempt to add the oven process at the end. I don't know if it's because I added (cosmetic grade) clay as a colorant after I became concerned that the food coloring wouldn't do squat. I did attempt another loaf without adding the oven warming at the end, & it looks good so far.