Kosher Cooking And What It Really Entails

Once retailers realize that there’s a new trend in food, they latch on. When the trend was vegan or vegetarian dishes, marketers slapped the label anywhere they could. Gluten-free was the next big diet trend. Subsequently, items like Rice Krispies were given the label. Companies hoped that consumers would see the label and purchase the food, even though healthier options may exist.

Another trend – one with deeper roots than gluten-free eating – might be on its way in. Kosher diets are all the rage thanks to their perceived purity. Before you start using your online culinary courses to cook a kosher meal, you should learn about the designation.

Kosher sales
According to Kosher Fest, there are over 12 million kosher customers in the U.S. from Jewish backgrounds. Another 3.5 million people of other religious views buy kosher food products as well. Sales of these items increased by 10 percent from June 2008 to June 2010. Many well-known food companies, including Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Kraft and General Mills, produce some kosher products.

“Coca-Cola and other giants are not paying millions to participate in kosher programs to exclusively reach the observant,” Yaakov Horowitz, Rabbi of the Manischewitz Company, told Forbes. “They are doing it to meet the needs of mainstream Americans who perceive that all kosher products are better in every way, which may or may not be true in all instances.”

Most Americans don’t know what requirements a product must meet in order to be considered kosher. The term itself means that the food passes the dietary requirements of Jewish law. Clarifying myths is simpler than detailing Jewish food law, as the specifications are numerous and books and studies on the subject have been done.

Kosher does not simply mean that food was blessed by a Rabbi. Rather, a Rabbi must deem a food item kosher before it can be considered thus. Kosher is also not a culinary tradition. Chinese cuisine can be kosher if it has met Jewish law requirements. Kosher requirements can be broken down into categories: permitted and prohibited food sources, preparation of meat, separation of meat and dairy, and ingredients and equipment. For example, mammals can be eaten if they have hooves and chew their cud. This includes sheep, bison, cows and more. However, it excludes rabbits and pigs.

When a company would like to produce kosher food, it is assigned a Rabbi who oversees changes that must be made. This Rabbi helps the company in the process of choosing food sources, implementing equipment changes and more.

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