Kosher Italian food? Of course.
The Jews, like the Italians are great chameleons. They blend
in wherever they are, using the ingredients on hand to create their own form
of cuisine. In the late 1500s, under opression from the rise of
Christianity, the Jews were forced into the ghettos of Rome. The whole
idea of Kosher food is actually one tradition that I am glad is still alive
and well, especially in this day and age where every day there is a different
news report about how something is no good for you (red meat is no good for
the heart; chicken may have salmonella; vegetables may have high levels of
pesticides; fish may contain mercury; and now even milk does NOT do a body
good??). In any case, many do not understand the concepts of Kosher
food. Yes, some of it does have to do with ritualistic preparation
of the food, but it is the food itself. In North Jersey, there is a
large Hebrew community in West Orange which has a Glatt Kosher Chinese
restaurant, yes Chinese, I have been in there and it is actually supervised
by an orthodox Hebrew. "Glatt" means something even more pure than
kosher. With over 50 million tainted meat related illnesses, and over
5,000 deaths attributed to salmonella (and related cases) in the USA alone,
you might want to take note:
Basic Rules of Kosher Food:
Milk is never
served with meat dishes because you do not mix dairy products with meat.
There are separate
pots for cooking dairy and meat
Animals are killed
as painlessly and humanely as possible
The animal is sure to be free of bacteria, disease, etc.
The meat from those ritualisticaly slaughtered animals are cleaned with
great scrutiny, it must be hung and washed free of any blood and/or
veins less than 72 hours after the animal is killed.
After you take a look at the list of rules above,
its seems like such good common sense, especially in an age of mad cow disease,
anthrax, increased steroid-injected consumer meats, etc. etc. It makes
someone like myself (who is not a big meat eater) to want to do all my shopping
at a Kosher butcher. But here is where it gets more difficult, for
Kosher Food Excludes:
Shellfish: Because they are bottom feeders and unclean.
Fish without Scales or
Fins: Again, because they are considered bottom feeders and unclean.
Pork: Because pigs
hoofs are split and since they roll around in the mud and their own filth,
The obvious problems with the exclusions of these
food, as it relates to Italian cooking, is that the Italians eat anything
and everything, wasting nothing, ever. I am not sure I am in agreement
with either side, quite frankly. While I love the idea of eating only
Kosher meat, I also love my shellfish more than anything. And while
I love all aspects of Italian cooking and its culinary delights, I am not
a big fan of veal (I actually never eat it) nor do I eat liver, tripe
(intestines), etc. It is all a personal choice, but again, the whole
Kosher tradition is a trend I would love to see become more mainstream.
Where to Find Kosher Products: Usually there
are special sections of supermarkets setup for specifically kosher foods,
especially around the Hebrew holidays where you can find Kosher candy, gum,
Snapple: Believe it or not, yes Snapple, look for the
letter "K" in a circle for all supermarket Kosher foods. Another myth
is that a "K" in a circle or triangle is a pagan, satanic and/or
KKK symbol, but those are all false, it simply means Kosher.
Bartenura: Kosher Wine