Where I grew up, we were mostly Italians in the neighborhood, The Mignione Family along with Mataloni, Pennisi, Banco, Panzita, Lombardi, Tempesta, Berardi, Trupelli, Gencarelli, etc, etc. Of course, there were others like my dear neighbor the Kaplans. They were reformed Orthodox, which meant, they did not keep a Kosher kitchen but they also followed other dietary laws. For example, once my father was away on business and my mother had to work late. So they asked me what I wanted for dinner and I said on a hot summer day “hot dogs are fine”. They looked at me with either surprise or disappointment and said “we don’t eat hotdogs because we are Jewish”. It was then I first learned that Jews did not eat pork. Keep in mind this was the 1970s, and today I know hotdogs do come in all beef and even Kobe beef. But, it was my first lesson in dietary restrictions.
Later on in life I learned that kosher kitchens meant a separate set of pots and pans, one for milk, one for meat, etc. And, even though I am Italian, I am such a purist, I can relate to that. Meats in one pan, milk and cheese in another. It actually makes perfect sense. Somehow, no matter how much you scrub a pan, if its porous, or even if not, that pan is unfit for another type of food. Again, being Italian, I cannot imagine a pot used for boiling water for pasta, being used to cook anything else but water and pasta… its odd, but I agree with the Kosher kitchen.
Glatt Kosher, it simply means that its another level above Kosher itself. Kosher food when it comes to animals means that it is killed humanely, ritualistically and butchered to wash away all blood within hours of the kill and prepared in the cleanest, most spiritual way. Glatt Kosher goes one step further and examines the lungs and/or other organs of the animals to be sure its free of any disease. I guess the logic being, that if all the organs were healthy so should to be the meat from that animal. Makes sense right? Its been proven that meat from a humanely raised animal who lives a happy life on a free range farm without stress yields better tasting food. As crazy as it sounds, there is a lot to be said for hunting. Just think about it: We spend a tremendous amount of money marketing a particular brand of meat, poultry or pork. In order to fulfill that demand, we have these farms which are really factories raising, maintaining and then killing these animals keep up with the demand in supermarkets. I can’t think of the expense and cost of this from packaging to transportation, public relations and advertising, not to mention taxes and even equipment to execute all of this. I would imagine the cost would be in the billions of dollars. I suck at math, but draw your own conclusions here: www.beefusa.org/beefindustrystatistics.aspx – my whole point is, why do we get mad at hunters who go out, pay for their own guns, license, ammunition and hopefully bring home a deer to feed a family of 4 for a year which might have otherwise ran into a dark street while a mother with one or several children in a car would be put at harm or even killed? I strongly support hunters. They, more than anyone, know how to make use of every single part of the animal just like our ancestors did 100 years ago. And, if we were to outlaw the factory farms instead of the hometown hunters, not only would the food be healthier, but you would see people eating less of it, it being less expensive, and even a healthier human being in the end.
Glatt Kosher. I am all for it. Its a small percentage of the food world, but wouldn’t you want to know that the meat you are eating was disease free and not fed antibiotics and hormones from a laboratory? The great thing about Glatt Kosher, is that it does not have to be Jewish. What you see to the above is Jamaican Jerk Chicken with White Rice. As long as the food is Kosher, it can transform into any cultural dish on the planet. While there is nothing better than pastrami and corned beef with crisp kosher pickles, its always great to have some Chinese food as well. In fact, I’ve been able to find Glatt Kosher Chinese Restaurants nearby me. The guys running it are Orthodox Jewish, but the cooks in the kitchen are Chinese.
Understanding other religions and their dietary restrictions is just not for fanatics, its for foodies too. You can experience another level of people who take their food very seriously and perhaps why you should too.