Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Paltry Poultry

My beautiful, brilliant, wonderful better-half, Annie, is sick today. Her boyfriend, CJ, being, perhaps, the best boyfriend ever, decided to send her flowers and chicken soup; he had to work all day and couldn't be there personally to take care of her. A sweet gesture, no? Sending her chicken soup was thoughtful, appropriate, and, most importantly, medically proven to improve her health. At about 11:30 this morning, CJ order chicken soup from a fast food kosher restaurant (which will heretofore be known by its initials, SFFR, which stands for "Stupid Fast Food Restaurant"). Now, I know what you're thinking: "Fast food! That's so smart! This way, Annie, will get the chicken soup quickly and be back on the mend in no time."

But no! That didn't happen at all. Fast food, it turned out, was very very slow food.

An hour passed. CJ had texted Annie to inform her the food was coming, Annie was waiting as patiently as possible, considering the the act of being conscious was nauseating.

Two hours passed, CJ called SFFR and he was told that they prioritized orders according to size (cost?). His measly little soup did not merit quick delivery. In fact, it apparently didn't merit delivery at all. Eventually, he told SFFR that the soup was for his sick girlfriend. Annie, ailing in bed, waited fruitlessly for her kosher soupy medicine to arrive, but to no avail!

Over three hours later, the soup arrived. Three hours! For soup!

So, an open letter to SFFR:

Dear SFFR:

How dare you torture dear Annie so! Have you no shame? You profess to be a Jewish establishment, but what Jew would let a young, frail woman languish alone in her illness, waiting indefinitely for soup that would only show up cold and three hours late? Are these the values that you want your establishment to profess? For shame, SFFR, for shame.

Not yours anymore,

And now, in the vein of personal revelation, as the Queen of the World would have wanted, my own confession:

For personal reasons, I stopped keeping kosher about a month ago. It was a decision over which I struggled, but I couldn't continue to give my money to establishments that I felt took advantage of their situation in the market AND that did not represent my philosophical viewpoint. I in no way mean to disparage those who choose to keep kosher or who feel it's their moral, religious, or existential obligation to follow whatever laws of kashrut they deem halakhic. For me, on top of feeling philosophically alienated from the groups who provide haskakhot in New York City, I feel no moral, religious, or existential obligation to keep kosher. I kept kosher to feel connected to Jewish tradition, to Jewish heritage, and to my community. On top of that, I found kashrut to be a useful way to remind myself that I need to be conscious of what I put in my body and from where it comes. For now, I'm struggling with how to navigate my dietary needs, while still maintaining that ritualization of food that I'd come to appreciate. I have no solution as of yet; I never do.

So, there we have it: a post not about death. I knew I could do it eventually. Let's see what I have to say tomorrow, though.

Alright, have at me. I'm going to go have some vegan, organic, locally farmed chicken soup, a la Hazon.


CJ said...

By way of clarification, the snarky delivery manager at SFFR didn't directly state their prioritization policy as such. He said, "When this place is crazy with huge corporate rush orders, we're not gonna worry about one soup goin' fifty blocks away!" To this I asked if they didn't send out deliveries in the order they came in. His response: "Of course not." Also, the best they offered me by way of compensation was credit on my next order. Likelihood of there ever being a next order: zero.

Seriously, all I wanted was to get chicken soup for Annie, that wonderful jewel we all know and love. So I'm going to have to go ahead and agree with Harley's comment on the kosher restaurant business. A business that spends so much time evaluating and critiquing the religious observance of its restaurant owners, workers and clientele should certainly be paying more attention to its own observance of some of the most fundamental of midos: taking care of the sick and following fair business practices.

Don't mess with Annie.


Annie said...

Harley and CJ, thanks for the defense guys, that is sweet.

I write this while consuming the second(!) tub of chicken soup (one noodle, and one rice) and CJ just gave me some food for thought: I wonder if kosher restaurants hire undocumented immigrants? For deliveries and such.

Also: my mom, and her sister think that kosher meat and cheese is a huge racket. I agree, and thus want to raise dairy animals. Anyone with me?

michael said...

Not to be, like, Zionist or anything, but I have about 100 options for kosher food within a two minutes' walk from my front door, and I live in a bad neighborhood. And some of those options deliver. Definitely enough to give you plenty of additional choices should one prove to be inefficient. Just sayin' is all.

Wishing good health to all the Jewbiquitesses and their considerate manfriends.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the meat and cheese, Annie.

And yes, the vast majority of restaurants in NYC use undocumented labor, kosh restaurants included. There was a report...I had it...somewhere. Actually, what a lot of restaurants (and food service conglomerates like Aramark) use is outsourced labor--which is often prison labor, but doesn't have to be. So a restaurant will have a contract with company xyz, which provides the linen service and sometimes other services like cleaning and delivery), and the restaurant therefore "doesn't know" about any labor abuses.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC-NY) has a lot more information.

I don't keep strictly kosher, but I do like to patronize good kosher establishments in the interest of helping the community...but I think avoiding fast food/expensive deli food often is more important.