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Eating before the fast

What will you be eating the Shabbos before Tisha b'Av? Since the fast starts at night it is important to eat well during the day/early evening. However, lots of foods won't be good to keep on the blech that late.

I'm thinking of lots of fruit and salad to load up on water... Does anyone have some more ideas?

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  1. For Shabbos lunch that day, we will have a meaty meal with cholent and flanken, pastrami, kugels, chicken cutlets. For the last meal (Shalosh Seudos) we will be having a meal I served recently for Shabbos lunch. Before Shabbos: I roasted tilapia with a bit of olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Prepared the avocado, cilantro, tomato salsa and toasted slices of baguette with olive oil and crushed fresh garlic. I oven poached salmon fillets with lemon and onions. I also cooked Israeli couscous and angel hair pasta. I tossed the pasta with olive oil, salt, pepper and sundried tomatoes. I also cooked yukon potatoes and tossed with mayo, pickles, onions and red pepper. On Shabbos, I served the tilapia with the avocado salsa on the baguette slices and the poached salmon with dill sauce (mayo, dill, lemon and horseradish). On the side, couscous at room temp, potato salad, and the regular shalosh seudos tuna, egg, and pasta salad.

    1. lots of water. going light on the vodka:)

      1. Broadly speaking, I find a high-protein, high-fat, low-on-refined-carbs sort of meal keeps me fuller for longer, so that's what I make for pre-fast meals. Going into Tisha b'Av, I tend to do some sort of salmon (eg poached, with sour cream and dill sauce), with, say, an avocado salad, and olive oil-braised eggplant with pine nuts.

        9 Replies
        1. re: GilaB

          I agree with Gila B. Salmon and brown rice always works for me before a fast. Both can be served at room temp. Leave out the salt and spices. Season with lemon juice and dill. Make the rice into a salad by tossing it with some veggies and pineapple if you don't want to eat it plain. Don't forget to drink lots of water over Shabbos.

          1. re: GilaB

            Loving the eggplant and avocado, sounds like it can be eaten well at room temp, and very filling!

                1. re: GilaB

                  WOW...we had an extra eggplant from our CSA this week and thought it would be fun to try this recipe out. With only an hour to Shabbas, and no raisins in house, I substituted a couple quartered prunes and cooked everything in parve keilim. This dish is a KEEPER!!! Heck, I am going to adopt it in my catering menu as well. We served it hot with lamb shanks and couscous for Friday night dinner, and then as recommended with our dairy pre-fast dinner incorporating the milchigs as well. I have never been the biggest lover of eggplants, but this simple to prepare side totally stole the show. Thanks Gila!!!

                  1. re: gotcholent

                    I made it, too. It was wonderful. Fabulous on bread, toast, or crackers.

                    Thanks GilaB

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      Glad you enjoyed! The recipes for braised leeks and braised green beans from the same article are also wonderful.

                      1. re: GilaB

                        This looks delicious! I'm going to hopefully try it soon, but with Japanese eggplant so I can skip the soaking.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          I rarely soak, for any eggplant recipe. I find that it doesn't really make a difference one way or the other except for the rare bitter eggplant.

            1. ditto on the meaty kugel - plus a lot of breaded fried chicken cutlets/chicken bottoms (can easily be eaten warm or cold), cold cuts for sandwiches, and salads.

              1. I view a pre-fast meal is an opportunity to serve dishes too rich for ordinary use, like chocolate mousse involving heavy cream. Everything involving heavy cream.

                Seriously, the bottom line is no salt, high fat, and things that release water slowly (pasta, rice). Salt is a diuretic so meat, hard cheese and everything else with salt is out. But I use as much olive oil, sweet butter and cream as I like - and I like them a lot. The Turkish eggplant dish cited above where the eggplant is braised in olive oil sounds wonderful.

                I'm thinking about pumpkin pie as a side dish, made with egg yolks and heavy cream.

                Ripe, mashed avocado with lemon juice makes a fabulous binder for hearty salads. I'll serve a salt-free salad with pasta, beans, good tomatoes and a generous pour of olive oil for seudah slishi.

                Key lime pie for dessert, or maybe chocolate mousse made with heavy cream.

                1. I am not up on Jewish culture, but know that there are a number of fast days. Was just wondering - if a person is an orthodox Jew but has medical reasons why it's extremely dangerous to their health to fast, are they given some sort of pass?

                  Really, am just curious.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Bacardi1

                    For most fast days, yes, there are exceptions made. It varies by community and level of observance too.

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      Must disagree on the community and level of observance thing, esp. in regard to Tisha b,'Av, which is not a fast from the Torah, and all the more so the so-called "minor fasts." If it is "extremely dangerous" to a person's health to fast, as Bacardi asks, I can't imagine any Rav in any community telling that person to fast. In fact, my Rav always emphasizes that for people in such a situation, the halacha (Jewish law) of guarding your health, which is Biblical, takes precedence over these fasts, which are not.

                      1. re: queenscook

                        I actually agree, queens. I was mostly couching so that the OP could understand that there's variability.

                        1. re: DeisCane

                          i'm sure you did, but I didn't want a non-religious Jew or non-Jew to even consider than Orthodox Judaism would expect a person to fast in a dangerous situation.

                    2. re: Bacardi1

                      Anyone for whom it is really "extremely dangerous" to fast is actually obligated to eat. The timing and quantity of eating varies, but is most restrictive on Yom Kippur. Regardless, fasting is never permitted if it would cause a danger to a person's life.

                      1. re: Moach018

                        Thanks everyone. It was just something I've always wondered about. I didn't think that fasting would be forced on someone with serious health issues, just wondered if it might put them in an uncomfortable position.

                        1. re: Bacardi1

                          Health and protecting our bodies is a biblical commandment that is applied in many areas of our lives including where fasting is concerned. Our nephew is a young, strapping 20-year old with a kidney disorder. You'd never know by looking at him. He drinks at regular intervals on Yom Kippur, the most stringent of all fast days, and does not fast on any fast day other than that. The specifics were set out by his rabbi in conjunction with his physicians. There are many cases like his. I asked him what his favorite pre-fast foods are and he stated "In the old days, shwarma and chips" as he is Israeli.

                    3. Watermelon Gazpacho
                      Seared tuna or baked Arctic char soft tacos....sour cream & pico de gallo salsa
                      Guacamole (glad to see I'm not alone in the pre-fast avocado fetish)
                      Farmers Market salad
                      Quiche with our very last scapes of the season.
                      Whatever else comes that week from the CSA=-)
                      Keep it low in sodium....drinks lots of water....may it be our last one of these in geulah!

                      Next bbq in Jerusalem! G'SHABBAS!

                      1. As with all fasts, keep salt (and alcohol) content to a minimum and drink plenty of water before hand. Salad and fruit is a wonderful way to go. While all meats (kosher at any rate) do technically have a higher sodium content, you should of course try to strike a balance regarding the enjoyment of your shabbos meals, giving an extra rinse to your meat before preparation, and prepping for the fast. At the very least, you should probably steer clear of deli meats and again, drink plenty of water and cut down a bit on caffeine consumption for a few days before the fast. Fasts are rarely as difficult as we make them out to be, but a few simple steps will make them easier.

                        1. Since I fast well, more thirsty than hungry at the end of the fast, and considering that I usually have a large shabbos lunch - you know, chollent, kuggels, kishka etc I cannot really eat a big meal for dinner, fast or no fast. I will probably focus on fruits with maybe a bowl of cereal and a slice of buttered challah. My planning is usually more for what I break the fast with than what I start the fast with.

                          Face it, no matter what you eat the night before, you will be hungry the next day so focus on what you will have after the fast since you will enjoy that immensely!