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Food superstitions


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Does the belief that the omniscient, omnipotent Creater of the universe disapproves of Jello consumption qualify as a food superstition? I did not have any Jewish or Muslim friends growing up, so until I started cooking, I had no idea that there were people who thought god disapproved of jello (because it is derived from pork). I know some muslims believe that if they consume any haraam (forbidden) food, like Jello, that Allah will not listen to their prayers for 40 days.

I don't know too many Muslims who believe Jello is derived from pork. The question is the use of pork gelatin in Jello. I don't eat Jello and the product doesnt' interest me anyway, so I don't know if Jello is still made with pork gelatin or if it ever was.

Anyway, you're getting into religion which to some overlaps with superstition or is entirely superstition. But superstitions tend to be more random, whereas religion is neccessarily more organized... Religion isn't one of those things that can be dicussed with as much humour as superstitions can be. Well I can discuss religion with humour, but a public board wouldn't be my choice of venue.

In case you're wondering, I'm not religious at all.

Actually: since my family is vegetarian, my dh emailed jello.com

and asked them about how jello is made:

their answer basically "boiled down" to (pardon the pun)

that gelatin was derived from highly processed hooves and hides

of all kinds of animals. They said that everything was so mixed

up that you couldn't specify which kind of animal: presumably

everything from cattle to pigs to horses to mules etc.

And they had the gall to say that since there was so much processing

involved, that they no longer considered jello an animal product

so it should be OK for vegetarians.

Well, that's a matter of opinion, lots of people do and don't eat jello....

It's really hard to avoid: hidden ingredients in all kinds of things.

When making at home I get the vegetarian jello (agar based)

from the Indian / Pakistani store....

Milagai

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I don't know too many Muslims who believe Jello is derived from pork. The question is the use of pork gelatin in Jello.

Right, which is exactly what I meant. I meant Jello is derived from pork in the sense that the gelatin in Jello is derived from pork. At least some of it is. And my understanding is that it doesn't even matter is 99.999% of the gelatin comes from halaal animals, because any food that has had any contact with a haraam food, like pork, is itself haraam.

I don't eat Jello and the product doesnt' interest me anyway, so I don't know if Jello is still made with pork gelatin or if it ever was.

It is, and as far as I can tell, always has been. Google searches for kosher+gelatin and halaal+gelatin shows thousands of discussions on the matter. I don't eat Jello brand products either, but I do use gelatin fairly frequently, to make bavarian creams and marshmallows and stabilized whipped cream.

Religion isn't one of those things that can be dicussed with as much humour as superstitions can be. Well I can discuss religion with humour, but a public board wouldn't be my choice of venue.

I know what you mean!

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Anyway, you're getting into religion which to some overlaps with superstition or is entirely superstition. But superstitions tend to be more random, whereas religion is neccessarily more organized...

When religion and superstition occasionally overlap, I am reminded of why I don't hold with superstition ... when I was a child and went to services in a reform Jewish temple, a part of the service (near the end) involved a section which I invariarably wound up looking at my mother (who held a huge number of superstitious beliefs :hmmm: ) ... the lines I recall from the Union Prayerbook read something to the effect of hoping for a day in which "superstition no longer enslaves the mind nor idolatry blinds the eye" ...

Food superstitions I find fascinating but hold no belief in any of them ... :rolleyes:

When superstition and religion occassionally overlap, I am reminded of why I don't hold with religion. :laugh:

Actually I think that religion/belief system and food could be a really interesting topic.

I'll have to think about how to start the thread (or maybe there is one already?). I'm especially interested in how the Taoists influenced East Asian ideas of food. By dad is an acupuncturist and an herbalist so he could give me alot of information on this.

I'm getting off topic, so I'll stop. :biggrin:

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From my childhood: Make a wish before eating a gingersnap pogen (the thin ones shaped like animals). Break it between your palms. If it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true. I remember that this was even printed on the bag (I believe they were Mother's cookies). I told this one to my husband, who's just a year older than me, and he doesn't even remember the cookies!

If you don't blow out candles on your birthday, you're not actually a year older.

Cake eaten on your birthday has no calories (or fat or any negative health consequences)

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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Yes for strict Muslims, Jews, Vegans, Vegetarians, etc... a drop of pork or pork product, well everything but the squeal is forbidden.

We were discussing this a while ago on another thread - some rabbis now believe that gelatin has gone through such a huge chemical change that it no longer resembles the thing that it was derived from and may in fact be considered kosher. To each there own.

How about:

The one who wins the tug-of-war over the turkey/chicken wishbone (ie: get's the larger half when it breaks) has their wish come true?

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How about:

The one who wins the tug-of-war over the turkey/chicken wishbone (ie: get's the larger half when it breaks) has their wish come true?

Yup... that was one when I was growing up.

Another, that I never heard of until a few years ago, from some Armenian friends: on Easter, the kids are supposed to tap their hard-cooked Easter eggs together in a mock "war." The one whose egg cracks first loses; the winner's wish comes true.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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My grandmother believed that if you dropped a knife on the floor, a man would soon come to visit.  Never did find out who would visit if you dropped a spoon or fork! :wink:

We had a similar superstition in the Philippines. If you drop a fork, an unexpected male visitor would soon arrive. If you drop a spoon, an unexpected female visitor would soon arrive.

I've also heard tell that if you drop a knife, the devil would come a'knocking at your door. That one always gave me the heebies as a kid. :unsure::rolleyes:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Another, that I never heard of until a few years ago, from some Armenian friends: on Easter, the kids are supposed to tap their hard-cooked Easter eggs together in a mock "war." The one whose egg cracks first loses; the winner's wish comes true.

One of my mother's good friends is Armenian, and my mom has learned all of her superstitions from her. "Mom, why do you do that?" "I don't know; Marie taught me" :laugh: She's told us about cracking the eggs, but it's not something we usally do.

Snapping the wishbone is required anytime we have a whole bird.

Salt over the shoulder; if you're my mom, BOTH shoulders - just to be sure.

We've got an odd New Year's day tradition: The meat should be from an animal that "walks forward." So, no poultry; we usually have pork. Also, pickled herring is a requirement "for good luck."

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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We tapped our hard cooked eggs together at Easter when I was a kid; it was some kind of German tradition according to my parents. We also snapped the wishbone, and whoever got the biggest piece would have their wish come true.

My youngest son came home with a verse that says "sing at the table, whistle in bed, the devil will get you when you're dead". I have no idea where he got this from, probably from some kid at school.

I don't throw salt over my shoulder when I spill it, and neither did my mom. I don't recall any other superstitions we had about food when I was a kid.

I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

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whenever we ate gingernut biscuits when we were little, we had to hold the biscuit in one hand and tap it firmly onto the point of the opposite elbow.  If the biscuit broke into three parts, you could make a wish, but you had to be silent until you'd eaten the biscuit, or your wish wouldn't come true.

is it TOO MUCH COINCIDENCE that this was a rule taught us by our mother, and we only ever ate gingernuts on long journeys?

Not a superstition - but I was told to do this to make the skin on my elbows smooth!

I've also heard the curse of the curse while making hollandaise claim.

I wouldn't like to call it superstition but food is intrinsically linked with the hindu religion including a great ritual where balls of solidified ghee are thrown at statues of dancing deities 'to cool them down'. Also lemons and limes are stuck on the front of cars and lorries to ward off evil. Someone else probably knows more!

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I am thinking that a lot of the menstrual prohibitions may stem as well from ladies who had a justified wish for a day doing something less labor-intensive than cooking (hand washing clothes? spinning yarn? mucking barns? plucking chickens? no real idea, but if it had been in my power, I'd have specified 'those days' required everyone else to do the work, under the pain of extreme woes for the near future!)

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If you spill wine you have to dab some of it behind your ears or you will have bad luck forever.

And don't forget to look at your mates in the eye when you toast - don't do it and you'll have bad sex for a lot of years (dont remember how many)

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I ALWAYS throw salt over my left shoulder when spilled, my husband thinks I'm crazy...(for that and many other reasons...)

I was told as a little girl that if I ate my breadcrusts my hair would become curly. 34 years and countless breadcrusts later, my hair is still straighter than a pin... At least I have an appreciation for crusty bread now.

When peeling an orange (or apple) with a knife: if you got the peel off in one piece, you were getting a new dress soon.

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When peeling an orange (or apple) with a knife: if you got the peel off in one piece, you were getting a new dress soon.

When you get the peel off all in one piece, throw it over your shoulder and it will form the initial of the person you'll marry when it lands. :rolleyes:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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With a set of knives, you must always give the recipient a silver coin as well, so the knives never harm their owner.

I was told in Germany that one always gives a token payment in exchange for a knife. As a pure gift, the knife might "severe" the friendship. The transaction evidently prevents this.

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With a set of knives, you must always give the recipient a silver coin as well, so the knives never harm their owner.

I was told in Germany that one always gives a token payment in exchange for a knife. As a pure gift, the knife might "severe" the friendship. The transaction evidently prevents this.

This is another one my mother follows. When a friend of mine gave me my Heinckel knives for a shower gift, my mother insisted I give her US$0.07 per knife. Asked me everyday till I gave in. Of course, my friend's not superstitious at all and thought it very silly. I think she tossed the coins back in the spare change jar I got them from. :biggrin:

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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My mom used to make up superstitions as a way to control her kids. My brother and I believed them unquestioningly for a really long time (like all through college). The first one she made up was that if you eat sugar and shellfish in the same meal you'll die, but I just think she didn't want to buy us sodas and desserts at seafood restaurants.

Another one she made up was that if you get up and switch seats while eating a meal, you'll be divorced the number of times you switched seats. So years later, I think I was in high school or so, she told me to switch seats and sit elsewhere, so I looked at her disbelievingly and said, "but remember your superstition about switching seats?" and then she answered "It's better to be divorced than be in an unhappy marriage". God we were gullibile children.

ANyway, regarding the salt over the shoulder, does anybody here watch 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, she always tosses salt, and says it's for "good luck". I've even see her on $40 a day and she's made chefs do that too!

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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I only have one superstition and it is somewhat based in fact.

Whenever I am shucking oysters and someone asks, "Do you cut yourself often?"

I usually end up with a cut.

I tend to get a little pissed off at constantly being asked this dumbass question and usually reply with a question of my own.

"Do you ask a fireman if he gets burnt or a cop if he gets shot often? Then, why are you asking me if I cut myself?"

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it and really don't need any reminders.

Please, please refrain from asking an oyster shucker this question.

Of course, he/she cuts himself but don't jinx them all the same!

Thanking you all in advance for your cooperation.

Oyster Guy

"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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I've been thinking of the difference between my superstition about the gift of knives. The best I can figure is that it's truly a cultural-based thing. My ancestors did not posess iron or steel until acquired as trade goods or tribal gifts. Lewis and Clark's expedition might have not gotten too far had they not had blacksmiths on hand to repair pots and make hatchet-heads with which to trade for corn with primarily the Mandan for their first winter.

It took awhile to realize that what was being traded was not the right to pass through a hunting ground, but the very property itself. Especially when you return to an established area and people were settled on it...something strictly unthinkable, and indeed, sacreligious to the native mindset.

Anyway, back to the knives. When they were given, not traded, you were supposed to give a coin, and the recipient was supposed to bury the coin in a secret place. As long as the coin was safe, so was the recipient. So it would really root from the native custom of always reciprocating, gift for gift, and, two, the scarcity of silver coins to natives. If you were serious enough about the gift, you would go to the trouble of obtaining the protection for the recipient that was required.

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"According to Scandinavian traditions, if a boy and girl eat from the same loaf of bread, they are bound to fall in love. "

I'm Scandinavian and has never heard about this!!

Must be strange to believe in it though, then I've must have been falling in love with loads of girls in the lunch cafeteria at high school.. (but to think about it, that was actually true - I was)

We had a tradition in sweden though, that if you get "the almond" (there always was just one) in your bowl of christmas rice-pudding, you're about to get married or filthy rich within the next year. (what would you choose). In the past they've had a coin instead of an almond.

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Re: Salt over the shoulder: The Bad Boopies that hang around to do mischief cannot resist counting things---anything. The salt grains keep them occupied and they forget about YOU.

You can borrow anything from a neighbor, but you NEVER pay back salt.

A dime in the pot of New Year's Blackeye Peas brings good luck. In our family, each person at the table gives one pea to each other person, to share the luck.

What's with the Bread-and-Butter thing when people separate to walk around an object?

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