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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Kosher Kitchen - Meat, Fish, & Dairy Products

Kosher Meat & Meat Products

It is commonly known that Kosher means not eating any Pig or pig by-products. Horse-meat is out too, just in case you were wondering. What is not so commonly understood, is that all the meat we are allowed to eat, must be slaughtered in a specific way. This is called "shechitah". Though we are allowed to eat the meat from a cow, lamb, turkey, chicken and so on, if it has not been slaughtered through the method of "shechitah" it is still not Kosher. Thus there are Kosher butchers and meat in the Kosher section of the supermarket. Snakes, turtles, frogs, snails (escargot), creepy crawlers are all not Kosher. But then again, I really never wanted to feed my kids a turtle.


Fish

Here again, Kosher means only certain fish. Shell-fish, lobster and shrimp are all out, (though today there is something called kosher shrimp.) A great many other fish are really off the books too.

Once on a trip to back to my old neighborhood in Manhattan, I had to make a purchase in the kosher butcher shop. The woman in front of me was giving her order.

"Five Rib Steaks, some lean Roast Beef, and a pound of shrimp," she said.

The butcher who wore a gigantic skull cap and had ear-locks (payot) down to his chin, did not bat an eyelash.
"Sure, Mrs. Klein," he answered respectfully.

"Shrimp?" I couldn't help myself. "Shrimp?" I said again this time louder. I looked around the store to make sure I had not made a mistake.

"Yes, kosher shrimp. All the rage now," the butcher said to me as he shrugged his shoulders.

Well, if shrimp can become kosher, then I guess Oreo's are not such a big deal. So lobster lovers, hold on for a bit. Maybe they will somehow produce a kosher lobster.


Milk Products

Bet you thought this was an easy haul. What can go wrong with milk products? Well, cheese has to be certified Kosher, mostly because of the process used in making it. Though you can find an incredible amount of Kosher cheeses, they still must be marked as Kosher. Many traditional Jews will not even drink milk if it is not certified kosher. Remember this then applies to every dairy product in the supermarket - from yogurt down the line.

(See the post on: How Do You Know A Processed Product Is Kosher? for information on kosher certification and markings of a product.)


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