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Kosher Cooking


msphoebe
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New neighbors have moved in next door and are the nicest people I've met in a long time. A father, his son (about 22), and the son's 5 year old daughter.

A couple of days ago the son and his little girl knocked on my door and gave me a Rosh Hashana card. These are just going to be the best neighbors I've had since moving to this neighborhood four years ago.

My point. This morning I made a pot of homemade soup...was thinking of taking some next door for them to enjoy, but thought I'd better inquire first as to whether they are strictly kosher. So this afternoon I asked. I was told they keep dairy kosher (?)

Can anyone briefly explain this to me, perhaps point me to a website that explains kosher concepts, and even perhaps give me some ideas of the types of food I could prepare in my kitchen to share with these bachelors and a little girl? I don't want them to accept food gifts to be polite, then not be able to eat them.

Thanks in advance for any information. I love learning!

d

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Agreed. You're a good neighbour.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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If they keep strictly Kosher, and you do not, then either purchase something from a strictly Kosher bakery to bring over or just bring them flowers. I don't mean to be a naysayer but most people who keep strictly Kosher won't accept food that they can't absolutely guarantee is Kosher.

Perhaps as you get to know them better you will find out how strict they are or aren't. And if they're not that strict, then you can bring them some foodstuffs from your kitchen. Or they can tell you how strict you need to be to satisfy their dietary needs if you're really eager. I wouldn't try to just wing it or read up on a few laws though--Kashrut is a whole way of life.

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Malawry, after reading the link provided by dougery (above) I agree with you 100%. I had no idea the extent of the rules of keeping kosher. Although I may purchase Kosher products and try to prepare a dish for them, I now understand there is much more to it...the utensils used for cooking...even the cooking method (oven, microwave, etc.)

So thank you all for your input and I really appreciate this opportunity to learn! Flowers sound like a great alternative...and I'll bet the little girl will especially enjoy them.

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Flowers sound great, but so does a fruit basket.  They're bound to eat fruit; everyone eats fruit.

Fruit and Vegetables are "Pareve" meaning they are neither meat or dairy, and are in effect neutral food items. A Jew that is keeping kosher will readily accept a gift of fresh fruit or vegetables.

EDIT: Just spoke with a very Orthodox friend of mine and he said "Fresh fruits and veggies are definitely your best bet, as some people are picky about the Kosher symbols on packaged goods -- and you have OU, OU-D, Kof-K, Triangle-K, Star-K, all of which have their adherents, don't get me started."

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Appreciate the continuing input. A fruit basket! Why didn't I think of that?

And Jason, from your friend's response and from my reading, I've concluded that it is a lot of work to keep kosher. Sure, in many cases it's family tradition (what you grew up with), but in my eyes I see it as pure devotion to the faith. I have a new admiration for those keeping kosher!

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a must-read for this thread from Pittsburgh Live.com

Rabbi Sara Perman of the Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg, said there are more than 300 kosher certifying boards, each with its own symbol, and each with its own criteria for determining the kosher status of foods.

"It is a very complex system," she said. "Kosher is defined in a variety of ways, which means Jewish consumers have to be label readers and be aware of what symbols mean so that they can follow the rules of their traditions."

Trust me, it is more complex than one even realizes, but I have done this for some 30 years and no one is complaining! They love to eat in my home ... :wink:

First there is this comment, from the article:

Keeping kosher has become a much more complicated procedure than it was even a generation ago. Unless they are experts in food production, consumers cannot possibly make an evaluation of the kosher status of a particular food item.

Then this:

Perman said that despite these requirements, it isn't difficult to keep kosher while shopping at larger chain grocery stores. In fact, many of the brand names found in households throughout America are kosher, including Kraft, Entenmann's and Heinz.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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When buying a fruit basket, also make sure that the fruit is whole. In other words, it shouldn't include pineapple chunks or 1/4 of a cantelope, etc.

People who keep strictly kosher will not accept cut fruit unless it was cut and wrapped at a kosher grocery store.

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According to a good friend who is Orthodox and strictly Kosher...he and his family go by the circle-U, which is the Union of Orthodox symbol. Also, here in the Chicago area, a triangle with CRC written in it stands for Chicago Rabinnical Council, which he also accepts. They can't even use our plates or glasses, so when we have them over, it's Coke from a can, or a disposable plate or glass. He even checks the hot dog buns at Wrigley field that are sold with the Best's Kosher dogs. Also, a stricltly Kosher household, and even those that keep Kosher on the Sabbath only, have, basically, two different kitchens with two sets of dishes, pots, etc. I once read that at the White House, when the Israelis or anyone else keeping kosher would dine at a state dinner, a Rabbi would come in and supervise using blowtorches on the stainless steel counters to make the kitchen kosher.

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If you can find How to keep Kosher in your local library, that should help a lot.

I took a look at this book today and, as someone who is modern orthodox and keeps a stringently kosher home, was very impressed by the level of detail and clarity in the book. The book provides an overview of Kashruth from both Orthodox and Conservative perspectives as well includes information about the other branches of Judaism. Furthermore, some of her sources have impeccable reputations.

BTW, what city are you in msphoebe? Perhaps we can refer you to good kosher food sources.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I am making a kosher thanksgiving this year, since my brother-in-law's girlfriend is coming and she is Jewish. There are a LOT of rules. I thought I'd keep it simple by avoiding ALL dairy, so we don;t need two sets of everything and have to eat twice.

You also need to kosher your cookware, counter tops, stoves, cutlery, dinnerware, etc...

Then, as I reveiwed the various laws, I found a little rule that seems to be overlooked and unknown to many of my Jewish friends: If food is prepaired soley by non-Jewish cooks then the food is NOT kosher even if you follow every other rule. :unsure: Looks like my brother's girlfriend is going to have to help me in the kitchen this year if she wants to eat! :biggrin:

-- Jason

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Then, as I reveiwed the various laws, I found a little rule that seems to be overlooked and unknown to many of my Jewish friends: If food is prepaired soley by non-Jewish cooks then the food is NOT kosher even if you follow every other rule.

This is also true of Kosher wine. As I discovered in my research for my article on kosher wines last Passover, for wine to be kosher it must be produced and handled only by Sabbath observant Jews.

Since it's Rosh Hashannah and apples are symbolic of a sweet New Year, perhaps a lovely basket of heirloom apples would be a well received gift? If there's a Farmer's market near you it should be a simple thing to buy several varieties of apples and/or other fruit and place it in a lovely basket purchased at a craft store.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Including a jar of honey would also be appreciated with those apples. Apples are traditional in this country, but the idea is to eat a new fruit of the season, something you haven't been eating all summer. A lot of people use pomagranates for that reason.

I've never heard of someone keeping "dairy kosher" before.

My cousin once described their home that way to me. Basically, he meant that they are lacto-ovo vegetarian.

I am making a kosher thanksgiving this year, since my brother-in-law's girlfriend is coming and she is Jewish.  There are a LOT of rules.  I thought I'd keep it simple by avoiding ALL dairy, so we don;t need two sets of everything and have to eat twice.

Itch22, you may want to check if your brother-in-law's girlfriend is kosher before going to all the trouble of koshering everything. An orthodox girl who keeps kosher is very much less likely to be dating a non-jew than a girl who is pretty secular and doesn't keep kosher. She may very much appreciate an oyster sausage dressing as something she would never have had while growing up and might be dismayed to hear you went all vegetarian sides just because of her. If you have a couple vegetarian sides, everyone will be able to eat something.

One note however, even though I don't keep kosher, and it is likely to share freezer space with pork chops, I highly recommend getting an Empire brand kosher turkey. They are only a little more expensive than other brands available in supermarkets, but unless you are going to order an organic free range fresh bird, it is liikely to be the least processed turkey available. It has already been kashered, which results in a similar taste and juiciness as a brined turkey. But it doesn't have all the gunk added to it, like a Butterball.

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I just want to add that different people make different choices. There are few "hard and fast" rules as far as kashrut is concerned. No one who keeps kosher will mix meat and dairy. No one who keeps kosher will cook a ham dish. Stuff like that. But aside from the basic, larger things of that sort, people can, and do, make individual decisions. So if you are eating with someone who keeps kosher, you might want to ascertain with them exactly what they do and do not follow. For the most part, I think they'll appreciate your questions.

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Then, as I reveiwed the various laws, I found a little rule that seems to be overlooked and unknown to many of my Jewish friends: If food is prepaired soley by non-Jewish cooks then the food is NOT kosher even if you follow every other rule.  :unsure:  Looks like my brother's girlfriend is going to have to help me in the kitchen this year if she wants to eat!  :biggrin:

Actually, that's not true. If it was you wouldn't be able to have kosher restaurants and caterers where non-jews do the bulk of the cooking. I'm not going to get into the details, but suffice it to say as long as a jew turns the oven and burners on you're ok.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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This is something which takes quite a while to learn and internalize .. the rules ... and each individual has his/her own unique way of keeping kosher ... it is something not to be entered into without some instruction and education on the issue.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Actually, that's not true.  If it was you wouldn't be able to have kosher restaurants and caterers where non-jews do the bulk of the cooking.  I'm not going to get into the details, but suffice it to say as long as a jew turns the oven and burners on you're ok.

After doing some research into Jewish dietary laws, I wondered that myself. I am not Jewish, nor am I an expert, but I did come accross that as a rule. It was not specified how much involvement is needed. Simply turning on the burner may very well indeed be all that needs to be done. I do not have my notes here at work, so I can't reference my sources.

-- Jason

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This is something which takes quite a while to learn and internalize .. the rules ... and each individual has his/her own unique way of keeping kosher ... it is something not to be entered into without some instruction and education on the issue.

This is true. Eight years after first kashering the kitchen, I still screw up sometimes. (shhh...don't tell Mr. alacarte)

edit: whoops, copied the wrong quote

Edited by alacarte (log)
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Also, a stricltly Kosher household, and even those that keep Kosher on the Sabbath only, have, basically, two different kitchens with two sets of dishes, pots, etc. 

Most of us do not have two kitchens because we cannot afford it. We have separate dishes, utensils, pots and pans, plastic containers, etc. for meat, dairy and Passover. We have separate washing up bowls for the sink and we put the dairy items on a separate shelf or in an enclosed box in the refrigerator.

It all sounds quite complicated, but the truth is that you just get used to it (those of us who haven't kept kosher from birth) and as Alacarte said, we do sometimes make mistakes. There are rules for correcting mistakes, too.

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bloviatrix - I'm in south Kansas City, on the Kansas side. If anyone knows of a good market or bakery that specializes in kosher, please let me know. I think a gift cert. would make a nice housewarming gift.

AND, the basket of apples (with a bottle of local honey!) sounds like a great gift! They will know I've put some thought into the gift...and there are several apple orchards on the outskirts of town, many of them either produce their own honey or have honey farmers near by. Excellent suggestion and a good excuse to get out of town this weekend!

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