Jewish Journal

A tasteless encounter with Porky the pig

by Danielle Berrin

November 30, 2007 | 12:50 pm

I’m mad, mad, mad! at Ralph’s. If I was unkind, I’d call the big supermarket with the friendly name devious. I’d picket. I’d demand an end to the deception!

Yesterday as I was innocently perusing the salad bar at Ralph’s on Western Avenue near the corner of Wilshire, I decided on a salad for lunch. As I’ve done many times before, I picked up a pair of tongs and piled heaps of greens into my bowl, then hearts of palm, artichokes and kidney beans, tuna (no mayo) and popped the top on, headed for the dressing.

Most of their salad dressings are creamy and there’s no vinaigrette, so I selected Italian. I filled a small container with the herbs and oil and walked back to work. When I could ignore the hunger pangs no more, I opened my salad and got ready to pour….then suddenly stopped.

There was something unseemly about this Italian dressing.

I’ve had it before but it looked different: there was something tiny, pinkish and foreign floating about in the swirl of ingredients. Is it minced garlic? Finely-chopped olives? Are those traditional ingredients in Italian dressing? It can’t be olives. Olives are green, black, maybe brown—but these little monsters are porky-colored! Could this newly kosher gal be one pour away from a salad full of BACON BITS!?

I’ll never really know. I’ve never had bacon before, so I don’t know what it tastes like. Even when I wasn’t kosher, I never ate meat so bacon is as nightmarish to me as any trayf. I just can’t understand why the culinary world insists that pork is the new filet mignon. I can barely set foot in an Italian restaurant anymore without the muddied, snorting animal showing up thinly-sliced in salad or ground into fancy meatballs with pasta or finding pig droplets on gourmet pizza. And now, the one place I thought I was safe - at the vegetarian salad bar - appears to have been taken over by teeny, tiny, icky pieces of the flat-nosed, dirty, trayfy pork animal!

Ralph’s, it’s just fine that you don’t sell kosher meat but sneaking mystery stuff in the dressing? Blasphemy!

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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