ATHENS, OHIO — Ray Leard is not Jewish and certainly did not grow up with the proverbial Cholent at a weekly Shabbos table. Yet, Ray will be displaying his new line of shelf stable cholent at next week’s Fancy Food Show in Washington, DC.
In an announcement Mr. Leard said: “Since 1988 we have been hand – crafting a wide variety of bean soup mixes, salt free dinner kits, 100% organic blends, organic based dinner kits, and incredibly crunchy Virginia Peanuts. We met at one or more trade shows during the past two years in which we were test marketing our newest series of dinner kits – Cholent – Kosher Meals Made Easy.” Mr. Leard is hoping that his Cholent dinner kits will gain traction with more than just Orthodox Jews. “Cholent,” writes Gil Marks in his Encyclopedia of Kosher Food “is a slow-simmered stew, often based on beans, that is served hot for Sabbath lunch.”
Leard is hoping that his shelf stable cholent kit will perhaps follow in the footsteps of the bagel and hummus in making it into mainstream. The Purely American Cholent dinner kits are salt free, gluten free, and contain no MSG. They are certified by the OK Kosher Certification, based in Brooklyn NY. The new line includes Savory Beef, Rosemary Chicken, Moroccan Lamb, and Middle Eastern Lentil.
Cholent nowadays, while still a mainstay of the Shabbos meal, is by no means reserved for Shabbos. Cholent is now eaten on weeknights as part of a meal or snack and is routinely included on menus of many kosher restaurants. Shelf stable meals are not new and consumers have surprisingly found them as tasty as the conventional prepared cholent. Meal Mart’s Amazing Meals series includes a beef cholent that is extremely popular with shoppers as are many of the brand’s prepared shelf stable meals.