Planning a Balanced Menu

If you are frequent reader of The Nosher, chances are you like to cook. And not only do you like to cook, but you probably also like hosting. I bet you may even be hosting Shabbat dinner tonight.

A lot goes into hosting a meal and even though we stress about who is going be there and what the table looks like, ultimately the most important part of the meal is, of course, the food.

Making good menus is a work of art. It means everything is tasty and goes well together, but it also means there is balance. You could make corn chowder, tilapia filets, and mashed potatoes that all taste phenomenal, but your plate will be white and your body unappeased.

There are so many ways to think about how to create a complete and wholesome meal. As Jews our menus tend to reflect both the calendar (traditional holiday foods) and our ancestry (matzah ball soup for the Russian Jews and borekas for the Turkish Jews–lucky me, I get both!). The Chinese have a Five Phase model; in Ecuador lunch is always preceded by a soup course and dinner is usually instant coffee; the macrobiotic diet looks at food as expansive and contractive; many people follow the Indian balance concepts of Ayurveda. The Western media typically just labels foods as “good for you” or “bad for you.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a few simple checks and balances to help you make delicious and balanced menus for you Shabbat dinner tables and normal weekday eating.

Posted on June 8, 2012

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