But I digest.... I mean digress. If memory serves correctly, the first big step forward came in the late 70's when someone finally produced a good peanut butter. We already had the jelly down right, but the peanut butter being sold then was an icky, sticky goo that had the oil separated and on top. Inedibly, I mean incredibly, the new product had remarkably little impact on North American aliyah.
Let me reminisce and compare. Kitchens in the 70s were usually bare-boned affairs. A simple refrigerator, often with no stove, just a two or three flame gas burner. An American olah, Sybil Kaufman, had a mild best seller publishing a cookbook for the 'wonder pot', a double boiler-like device that permitted baking on top of a gas burner. Today kitchens are totally modern affairs, lacking no appliances.
Breads. In the 70s there wasn't much more than two kinds, light or dark. If you wanted, you could cut the loaf in half and buy only the larger of the two halves. Today, there's a very large variety of breads, both packaged and baked fresh on site.
Passover Items. Then, the choices were regular matzoth, gefilte fish with too many bones in it, one cake mix with a small tin foil for cooking, macaroons and two cookies made from the same sweetened matzo meal, large circular shaped or small square shaped. Today, everything is available, both imported and domestic. Keeping kosher for Passover is no longer a challenge to the imagination or taste buds, only to the pocketbook.
Breakfast Cereals. Then, loose plastic bags of cornflake shards or rice crispies or small plastic bags of sweetened puff wheat. Today, the full range of imported and domestic choices.
Meats. Then, a choice of chicken or chicken, with a limited selection of frozen meats from Argentina. Today, a full range of fowl and meats, domestic or imported, fresh or frozen, plain or prepared.
And so it goes in all categories. Soft drinks, oils and margarines, pasta, rice, cleaning products, pet foods, toilet papers, fruits and vegetables. Dairy . If there is one area of the food industry where Israel has undergone a total revolution however, it would be the dairy section of the supermarket, where the choices today are mind-boggling, especially considering the limited market. Milk and cream, white cheese, yellow cheeses, ice cream, yogurts; all come in a profusion of choices, sorts, flavors and fat content, packages and prices, imported and domestic. It's all there and growing almost daily.
So have no fear of depriving yourself of any favorite food here. Have one of those huge Israeli breakfasts at any hotel while you check out the local edibles, and after your aliyah, just sit back and enjoy; and if you don't enjoy cooking, just dine out or call in.
There's a world of fancy fixin's here.
by Joe Romanelli