Religious people of all faiths are increasingly going organic, especially people whose religions state specific dietary requirements. Muslims and Jews have a particularly strong emphasis on food, with strict Halal and Kosher guidelines on food production stemming from the belief that the food we eat should be untainted, pure and spiritually uplifting. Adherents of both religions say blessings before eating the smallest morsel of food, so it seems an obvious step that with this awareness of the significance of food as God’s creation, Muslims and Jews increasingly want the food they’re blessing to be untainted by chemicals. Christians are also going organic. The Christian green movement is growing exponentially as believers are increasingly outraged at the environmentally destructive activities of the Bush administration, often in their name.
I’ve found some wonderful producers and purveyors of faith-based foods springing up, including this halal family-run company, this eco-kosher organisation in New York with an organic food outreach program, and this excellent Christian green magazine.
So it was with delight that I spotted freshly-baked, deliciously sweet and richly eggy organic challah bread in Le Pain Quotidien in Santa Monica, California. Challah is eaten every Friday night by observant Jews as part of a meal to welcome in the Sabbath with candle-lighting and wine. The plaited shape of the bread represents the many different kinds of people that make Jewish culture. It’s a cakey, slightly sweet bread that’s dense and moist. Perfect eaten in hand-torn chunks, or sliced, toasted and liberally buttered.
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