kosher picnic
June 26, 2008 8:49 PM   Subscribe

What snacks can I bring to an outdoor picnic that are easy and kosher?

Friday night we're going out with two other couples to an outdoor music venue -- BYO drinks and snacks. One of the couples keeps kosher. Not super-kosher (so I don't think the fact that my knife isn't kosher will be a problem) but kosher enough.

We're responsible to bring snacks to go with the drinks. What should we bring that won't offend the kosher people? Refrigeration isn't a problem, but I'll only have an hour or two to put some things together.

What should we bring?
posted by lockestockbarrel to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about ... kosher dill pickles!
posted by amtho at 8:56 PM on June 26, 2008

Simple way - make whatever you want, but keep the spread vegetarian.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:10 PM on June 26, 2008

As far as actual ideas - You could do a mezze-type thing with stuff mostly picked up at the deli counter: hummus, baba ghanoush, olives, good bread, etc. Or an antipasto kind of spread - olives, roasted red peppers in oil, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil, good bread. Keeping it snack-y and causual is always a good idea for picnics, I think.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:19 PM on June 26, 2008

Kosher folks eat a LOT of Mediterranean food - so you might not want to go with the hummus platter (sorry - I work at a Jewish org. and if I see one more falafel ball I might hork).

So...deviled eggs are always good - fish also- maybe Salmon? A nice olive tapenade with good bread is tasty as well. If you stay veggy or stick with fish you should be fine.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:52 PM on June 26, 2008

Pretty much anything. Fruit, veggies, chips & salsa, cheese* and crackers, nuts & dried fruit, chocolate, etc.

*very kosher-keeping people will want kosher cheese. many kosher-keeping people do not care.
posted by judith at 11:17 PM on June 26, 2008

Kosher folks eat a LOT of Mediterranean food

Not necessarily. Not sure where this came from!

Just don't mix meat and dairy and you'll be fine. I agree that if you keep vegetarian that would probably be easiest.

And don't worry about offending them-- I'm sure they'll be touched that you are being so thoughtful!
posted by miss tea at 3:59 AM on June 27, 2008

Kosher folks eat a LOT of Mediterranean food

Not necessarily. Not sure where this came from!

Maybe West coast vs. East coast? I work at a Jewish org. in California and the falafel plates are out of control.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:13 AM on June 27, 2008

Egg-based dishes in general are considered parve, absent adding any dairy or meat. I suggest hard-boiled eggs and second deviled. (I LOVE deviled eggs!) Just make sure the mayo is also parve.
posted by Fferret at 10:13 AM on June 27, 2008

I'd suggest bread with dip. Or dips. But these are usually dairy. Anybody who doesn't care about your knives and the kitchen in your home is probably reasonably laid back about, say, having a steak dinner and then an hour later eating ice cream (or your delicious chive spread). This is not a given so I'd ask if you're worried. You could bring some dips that were parve (olive oil + cracked pepper + sea salt, or say, a dip made with mayo. Then if it comes up, you can say "oh this one is cream cheese, but these other two are non-dairy." It might not matter but you'll definitely get points for being so aware.
posted by zpousman at 11:43 AM on June 27, 2008

Fish is also parve. Make sure it has fin *and* scales, which means catfish is out. If they're semi-kosher they should be fine with anything that had scales on it when it was caught.

I think a lot of times people get caught in the trap of thinking "inside the box." The idea is that keeping kosher, or vegetarian, or vegan, means limiting the range of what you can make. And it does, a bit, but it's more useful to think simply of removing certain ingredients from your toolbox. Let's say you opened your fridge and there was no cheese, no milk, no meat, and no shellfish. Would your hands be tied? No. There are billions of potential recipes you can make.

Here are some picnic standards that are kosher: egg salad, potato salad, coleslaw, salad, veggie sticks, tunafish sandwiches, potato chips, corn chips, salsa, pretzels...are you getting the picture? Really, don't worry about "offending" them. If you make an effort -- which means eliminating the cheese and meat -- you should do fine.

One thing, though...if they're even a little serious, try to make it sorta "clean". Don't fry your fish on the same cast iron pan that you fry your bacon in each morning. Don't use the same plastic container you just used for crab salad. Glass and steel/aluminum are generally perceived as "cleaner" than cast iron or plastic. Don't go out of your way, but trying to avoid using items you know to be particularly "unclean" is a really nice gesture.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:03 PM on June 27, 2008

Then if it comes up, you can say "oh this one is cream cheese, but these other two are non-dairy."

Do not wait until it "comes up". I hate it when I eat something expecting it to not have dairy or meat in it, and then it does. A few days ago I was at a brunch and ate a small canape that looked like tunafish. It was chicken salad. I couldn't eat anything dairy after that and so basically could eat nothing else at the brunch except for some graham crackers. That pretty much sucked. Should I have asked first? Yeah, I guess. But if something like that could be tricky (and a lot of dips have small amounts of dairy in them so it isn't obvious--the worst, particularly for vegans, is guacamole) tell them.

That being said, many semi-kosher people consider it okay to eat dairy followed by meat, so long as they are separate and you clean out your mouth with water and/or bread. So if they were planning on a meat meal, a pre-meal dairy spread is a much better idea than a post-meal ice cream.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:09 PM on June 27, 2008

Felafel is really more Middle Eastern than Mediterranean. And yes, Middle Eastern/Israeli food is a pretty popular kosher choice, particularly at picnics. You're going to see more of it among Israelis, Sephards, and perhaps more modern-oriented kosher foodies. But a lot of "traditional" kosher food is from the Ashkenazi tradition--smoked fish, bagels, kugel, kasha varnishkes, etc.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:13 PM on June 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I guess I know more Ashkenazis. Quibble withdrawn. :)
posted by miss tea at 2:35 PM on June 27, 2008

Wow, the possibilities are endless. In addition to the good ones listed above, consider:
- Bean salad
- Hummos or pesto with pita chips
- Tortilla chips and salsa
- Quinoa salad or couscous
- Fresh cut veggies and onion dip (made with soy sour cream, if dairy is an issue)
- Sliced melon or pears with coarse black pepper
- Guacamole
- Gazpacho
- Stuffed squash (we stuff 'em with their own guts, plus breadcrumbs and a beaten egg, then bake for a few minutes under a hot broiler)
- Chopped sundried tomatoes, olive oil and salt/pepper on bruschetta
- Whatever's fresh and yummy looking at your local farmer's market is always fun too!
posted by AngerBoy at 7:11 PM on June 28, 2008

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