December 15, 2014

What Does This Have to do With the Price of Cholent?

12/15/14 — A funny thing happened last Thursday night in Boro Park. A store that offers cholent (the Shabbos dish made with flanken, beans, barley and potatoes and then some) featured a sign that the cholent this week was pareve, indicating that no meat was used. A friend’s son who frequents the store inquired about the change and was told that the “price of beef was so high that he just couldn’t pass along the increases.” When I looked into this further, I found that indeed the price of beef, and not only glatt kosher beef, had literally gone through the roof in recent months and in some places the price had actually doubled from just a year ago. The more I dug, the more I began to see the widespread repercussions of the increases. Prices on menus in most restaurants had gone up as did caterers with some of their dishes. The irony was that unlike gas prices, most of the purveyors could not see any price declines anytime soon. The reasons are many, including many animals suffering from disease. The percentage of increase varied as some were more willing to absorb increases than others.

It occurred to me that perhaps many people will now shift to poultry, not that commodity prices for poultry have been going down. But retailers say that there has been no appreciable decline in the demand for beef. My friend’s son believes that the beef cholent will be back as he says the store suffered quite a backlash. But the prices, they don’t appear to be coming down anytime soon!