Book More Jewish Weddings with Pat Blackwell

#22 What is kosher food?

June 23, 2021 Pat Blackwell Season 1 Episode 22
Book More Jewish Weddings with Pat Blackwell
#22 What is kosher food?
Show Notes Transcript

Kosher food is any food permitted by Jewish dietary guidelines.  There are lots & lots of details to kosher food, but the primary rules contain the type of food that can be consumed, and the not mixing of meat & dairy at the same meal.  According to Jewish guidelines, there are four types of food:

  1. Meat:  beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, goat
  2. Dairy:   milk, cheeses,  butter, yogurt
  3. Pareve:   plant based food, fish, eggs, any food not meat or dairy
  4. Traif:  food not acceptable under Jewish dietary guidelines like pork, shrimp, crab, birds of prey, catfish, etc.

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Welcome to podcast number 22. Today we're going to talk about kosher food and everything you might need to know about kosher food. Even if you're not Jewish, in fact, especially if you're not Jewish, I once had a photographer's assistant, bring a ham sandwich for lunch. Only trouble was, the wedding was in a kosher synagogue. Oops. The whole wedding was almost shut down. You don't want to be that vendor. As a Catholic farm girl in Minnesota, I certainly never expected to ever be the Jewish party Maven, but 4400 parties and 26 years later, I am indeed an expert at Jewish parties. I am fiercely committed to helping the best vendors book more parties in this amazing, lucrative and incredibly loyal Jewish party market. Let's go. Likely you've heard the term kosher food bandied about but what does that really mean? kosher food is any food or beverage that's permitted under Jewish dietary laws? Technically, kosher means pure or suitable for consumption. Now do you understand? Probably not. When someone says they keep kosher, it's not likely just about cooking a certain way. Keeping kosher is much more complicated than that. There are three main categories of kosher food. Number one, meat, number two dairy, and number three parve. So meat or flotek includes all mammals or fowl, not just meat. I've had somebody think chicken is not meat. In the Jewish world. There's meat there's dairy and there's part of and chicken is definitely in the meat category here. So all mammals are fall or any products derived from them. So chicken stock is still considered meat. gelatin made from the beef bones that's found in most marshmallows is considered meat. Dairy includes all milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, anything made from dairy, all considered dairy products. parve includes any food that's neither meat nor dairy. So part foods include fish, eggs, and almost anything that grows up out of the ground. Almost all plant based foods are part of the biggest rule to understand is that meat must never be eaten in the same meal as dairy. perv is sort of like neutral food per foods can be eaten with either meat or with dairy meals. It's not just the food you consume, though. kosher rules apply to all the utensils and equipment used to process and clean the meat or dairy, including how the knives and cutting boards and even the sinks are used to wash the equipment. If the equipment used to prepare the part foods is used for dairy or meat, then that classifies that formerly part food as either meat or dairy as well. Are you confused yet? kosher rules are complex. Every kosher certified kitchen has a miscue, whose duty whose primary role is to ensure that the food entering the facility is kosher, and that all those rules of construed are followed in preparing and in serving this kosher food. As a red coat lady, we pick up treasures from family week after week. And we bring those treasures to the party. And we often have to remind or even educate our clients about keeping everything kosher when they're at a kosher facility. The typical mistakes are like big tubes of candy for deejay prizes, or toiletry baskets when they put in mints or gum. We read cut ladies are on the lookout for you. We've got your back. So let's get back to talking about kosher foods. In particular meat foods. kosher rules require that the animal be killed in a certain way, and then soaked in order to remove any traces of blood prior to cooking. These same rules govern which portions of an animal are suitable for consumption. typically only the four quarters the front part of the animal. kosher meats must come from ruminant animals with cloven hooves. That means split hooves. So kosher meat can come from cows or sheep or goats or lamb, or oxen or even deer. kosher meat also includes domesticated fowl like chicken geese, quail, dove Turkey, but there are some specifically excluded meats as well. So never ever, ever can pigs or rabbits or squirrel or camels or kangaroos or horses because The same with any predatory birds. I will Eagles hawks, those are all specifically excluded from ever becoming kosher meat. Remember that photographer's assistant I was telling you about earlier, he broke the cardinal rule of never mixing meat and dairy. But even worse, he brought ham pork into the mix, which breaks all the rules. I once had a local chef who was contracted for a kosher style party, kosher style, not kosher, kosher style, meaning they wanted to have either a meat party or a dairy party. So they chose to have a dairy party. The mom patiently explained many of these kosher rules to the chef and he said, I got it, I got it. On the day of the big party, I looked over the buffet line he was setting up and I noticed the soup at this otherwise dairy meal. The chef proudly said yeah, I know all about not mixing meat and dairy. So I didn't use meat, I use chicken stock. Oh, clearly he did not understand that in the Jewish world, there are only three choices, meat, dairy, and parve. And given those choices, chicken is clearly in the meat category. The required time to wait after consuming meat before consuming dairy varies from place to place. But somewhere between one hour and six hours is customary. The basis of kosher food was health and safety, but it's also about religious tradition and reverence. Let's talk about dairy for a bit. kosher dairy must come from a kosher animal. So there can be kosher goat cheese, but there could not possibly be kosher casualties because camels can be kosher. cheeses even get more complicated because they cannot have any meat derivatives, specifically gelatin, or rennet. Of course, the equipment used to prepare kosher dairy products must never have been used for meat products either. Part of kosher products include fish and eggs. Remember, those are neutral. Neither meat nor cheese. But of course, it's more complicated than that. The fish is only considered kosher. In the wild it has fins and scales. The most common kosher fish includes tuna, salmon, halibut, or mackerel. Anything that crawls along the bottom of the ocean is specifically prohibited. So not ever can shrimp or crab or oysters or lobster or shellfish ever be kosher, so no kosher shrimp for you. Eggs must come from kosher fowl. grains and breads are generally kosher, but not as equipments been contaminated with either meat or dairy. Fruits and vegetables are pretty much all kosher in their raw form. But the insects that come on those, those bugs are not kosher. So the fruits and vegetables have to be inspected again by a mosquito. And again, you cannot slice or process any fruits or vegetables on any equipment that's been used for meat or dairy. Passover has a whole different set of rules, and that's for another podcast another day. But for now, the best way to tell if a prepared product is kosher is to look for a kosher symbol on the package. There are dozens of different certifications and kosher labels. Every group every vide has slightly different standards. So find out what your school standards are and go from there. There are lots of oil vais stories about kosher food. There's the story of the country clubs serving a kosher style meal, meaning all dairy. Well, they serve split pea soup. And if you know the basis and flavoring of split pea soup, you guessed it, hey, um sometimes you have a guest or two or 20 who require kosher meals. likely the kosher caterer will deliver those meals on Friday for a Saturday event. Because kosher kitchens are never open on Shabbat. Meaning never open from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Those meals will be wrapped and tightly sealed, and they should stay wrapped and tightly sealed until the guest themselves removes that seal. These meals should never be transferred onto the Country Club plates. The kosher food should never be transferred to a different container at your club. Most of the time if you have a kosher meal delivered for a wedding, it will be served cold. kosher meals can come on disposable plates, but many times for a fancy kosher wedding the meal will come on a china plate. These plates do not need to be returned that kosher caterer will never use those plates again, because they don't know what you've done with them at the club. drinking glasses that are actually glass are acceptable for use by Orthodox Jews. guests who keep kosher might still be comfortable drinking from your bar glassware, but sometimes not. Each guest decides on their comfort level. Well, there you have it, everything you ever wanted to know about kosher food in 10 minutes. As you can see, there are lots of rules and lots of room for discussion. The basic things that you as a vendor need to know is that you should respect the kosher food rules of the facility that you're going to, you should train your staff to understand these rules to remember that photographer's assistant. That wedding nearly didn't happen all because of a ham and cheese sandwich. Mark Twain famously said, life is short break the rules. But this does not apply to kosher rules regarding vendors. It's important for you to learn these rules and follow them for the sake of our clients. Thank you for listening to this podcast. Hope you found it helpful. Every week we're going to talk about some new aspects of Jewish celebrations. Keep listening and you'll have a much better understanding of Jewish customs and traditions. If there's something specific you'd like to hear about in these podcasts, send me an email write to pat at Jewish party I'd love to hear from you. And of course I have to ask you to leave me a review as well. Thank you again for spending your precious time with me. I appreciate it.