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Friday, May 20, 2011

Kosher 101

[image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/18198179/]

The other day, a friend was asking me about keeping kosher. While it was on my mind, I figured I'd give you all a little explanation as to what keeping kosher entails--complete with fun photo assistance!

Kosher Rule Numero Uno: Eat the right animals.

In the Torah, certain animals are listed as kosher and some are not. To qualify as a kosher animal, an animal has to have split hooves and chew its cud.

Here are some classic kosher animals:

[image source: http://cow.gallery.sytes.org]

[image source: www.google.co.nz]

And a very classic NOT kosher animal? Pigs!

We don't eat any pig products, from ham to bacon to pork. Even though I didn't grow up keeping kosher, I never ate pig, so I don't know what I'm missing.

And to tell you the truth, ever since I watched Charlotte's Web back in the day I'm not sure I could eat a pig. They're so cute!

[image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45562778@N02/5304355986/in/faves-kristyns/]

And just to emphasize my point:

[image source: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://pixdaus.com/pics/]
But I digress.

Kosher Rule Number Two: If you're eating meat (just wrote "meating" my accident--ha!), it has to be killed the kosher way.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, it's a complicated answer, but the basic idea is that the animal has to be killed as quickly and humanely as possible--any animals not killed according to the specific kosher method aren't kosher (even if they're cows).

Kosher meat is specially marked in the grocery store:

[image source: http://www.google.com/imgres?]

A classic Empire Kosher. You can also tell if meat is kosher by the price tag:) Given all of the supervision and transportation that goes into kosher meat, it's more expensive.

Kosher Rule Numero Tres: No meat and milk together.

You can't munch a piece of cheese and a piece of steak at the same time.

And none of these bad boys:

[image source: blog.heritage.org]

But, you can always get your cheeseburger fix this way:

[image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/6134464/]

Couldn't resist!

In addition to not eating meat and milk in the same sandwich, we also don't eat them in the same meal (ie, no hamburger + chocolate milk). We have two sets of dishes and pots and pans for milk and meat. We also wait 6 hours after eating meat before eating dairy (which is why I'm not a fan of weeknight meat meals--no time to eat your chocolate!).

Some Final Odds and Ends: Mind your Ps and Qs

When we go grocery shopping, we only buy products that have kosher symbols on them (except for fresh fruits and veggies).

Here are some common kosher symbols:

[image source: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://web.mit.edu/burton2

We also clean vegetables for bugs, and do a few other little things. But since this is a quick summary, I won't give you ALL the details!

After reading this, you're probably like, "WHAT??? So many rules? And you can't eat anything!" But the truth is, when you live kosher, you don't think about the rules--it's pretty seamless. And that's coming from someone who did not grow up this way!

So there you have it--a short and (hopefully) sweet description of keeping kosher. Any questions?

And since this post has made me kind of hungry, what's YOUR favorite food? (And to feed my curiosity, are YOU familiar with kosher stuff at all?)


  1. What a great explanation! I remember babysitting at a Kosher house once, and I was so stressed about using the wrong plates! The mom took a strawberry tart out of the fridge, put it on a blue plate, and that was my snack. :)

  2. SO interesting keshet! i love it! i was wondering a few things... 1. is there a short explanation to why no dairy and meat mash-up? (ps love the burger photos ha!) and 2. what makes Kosher Salt kosher????

  3. Wow. I feel so enlightened now. Thanks for breaking it down for me, I never knew what the true meaning of Kosher was.

  4. Very interesting. I never knew it either. love the burger photos too.

  5. Yes I'm very familar~excellent blog post!

  6. I love reading about your customs and holidays, so enlightening!

  7. It's good, more for the rest of us! :)

  8. I studied the laws of kashrut for a research paper I wrote about dietary outside influences and what I really loved was how these seemingly arbitrary rules actually come from medical knoweledge of how the human body digests and uses food. Oh yeah and those pigs are too cute!

  9. Very interesting! I knew about the meat rules but not about the dairy. I like to buy Hebrew National hotdogs because I know they're not filled with who-knows-what like most other hotdogs!

  10. I was alittle familiar with Kosher, my first job as a nurse was @ a Jewish kids camp and they kept Kosher. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I thought that chicken was kosher b/c it was chicken and never understood the difference between Kosher chicken and chicken. Thanks for the info! Really all meat products should be treated the kosher way.
    Just out of interest...if you didn't grow up kosher what influenced you to live that way now?

  11. My fave Kosher food is Hebrew Nationals! I just had one a few weeks ago at a baseball game. :) We actually buy a lot of Kosher because my daughter is allergic to dairy.

  12. I don't know if I have a favorite Kosher food. I remember eating chocolate matzoh in kindergarten and loving it.
    Thanks for sharing this Keshet!

  13. I did not know any of this. Great summary!

  14. Thanks for the explanation. I grew up across the street from the nicest Jewish family. I knew they followed certain rules regarding their diet, but was not sure why. Frankly, I would prefer to only buy Kosher meat, especially now that I know the reason why it's considered Kosher. The way you explained it, it makes complete sense. Thanks for enlightening us! :-)

  15. I'm very familiar...:) GREAT explanation, though...my favorite food is sushi!

  16. Great post Keshet! Photos cracked me up!

  17. Very informative...I knew very little about Kosher food!
    I am curious though as to the reason behind no meat and milk together...I find that fascinating.
    How I wish all meat was treated Kosher!!!

  18. Thanks for the information Keshet. I know you've mentioned it a bit but I never knew exactly what it meant for you. Thank you xxx

  19. For Jenni - the not eating meat and dairy together is due to a line in the old testament which forbids eating "a lamb in its mother's milk".

  20. Such an interesting and informative post:) Thanks for sharing!

  21. Amazing post! So interesting. I only knew of kosher pickles. I love to learn about others' culture and lifestyle.

  22. My hubby is not Jewish, but he abides by the same rule as far as type of animals you can eat...split hooves and must chew its cud. He believes it's Biblical.

  23. I love your explination! The pigs are so cute! That is so simple! I love Latkas with sour cream! Also good Matza ball soup...if I have a cold or it is rainy and grey. Ooh! I had to explain the shark one to my kids...and no bottome feeders...because they eat poo (my kids are glad that we do not keep kosher because they love shellfish and fresh catfish).

  24. love that you posted this. I am familiar, I was a lifeguard at a jewish kids camp in the poconos when I was in college and the kids always kept me informed.
    My daughter has recently sworn off all pork products she refuses to eat pigs. But I am guessing she does not know where beef comes from yet. She thinks turkey is made by a turkey ...like eggs and i don't want to tell her the truth!!

  25. Thanks for sharing this. I never knew exactly what eating kosher was all about. Now I do :)

  26. I love when you share these posts, so educating for me! :) I never knew!

  27. Hi... As someone that keep kosher and had to explain this same things more than once, I think you did a pretty good job.

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