In Judaism, many laws restrict what followers may or may not eat. These laws, as a whole, are called Kashrut. Some Jews follow them very strictly, some a little more loosely, but some think that there are too many disadvantages to the laws and do not keep them - indeed, only 15% of American Jews keeping kashrut. This essay is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the Jewish kosher food laws.
The laws of keeping kosher have affected Jewish cooking in two main ways: by dictating what food Jews are allowed and not allowed to eat and how that food must be prepared.
Lots of foods, such as pig, any insects that that swarm, creep, swim or fly, animals that do not chew cud or have a cloven hoof, shellfish, any fish without fins and scales, blood (any blood, no matter whether the animal was kosher), are not kosher, an are therefore classified as treifah. Treifah is the the term for foods which Jews are forbidden to eat.
meat and dairy are not allowed to be put together, forbidding things like cheeseburgers.
Meat must be ritually killed and must also undergo a process to remove all traces of blood. The animal must be killed by a shochet, who is a 'ritual slaughterer', the killing is called shechitah. Before it is cooked it is soaked in water for half an hour, then put on a board and sprinkled with salt which draws out the blood and left to sit for one hour. Then the salt is washed off and the meat is ready to be cooked. Nowadays, however, a large percentage of kosher food is bought already packaged and ready to cook. A Hecsher, a symbol of kosher, is put on packaging to certify that it is kosher. The mashgiach or supervisor of kashrut in factories must be shomer Shabbat. A shomer Shabbat is a person who obeys the mitzvot (commandments).
Meat and poultry may not be combined with dairy products. This means that Jews must use two sets of cooking tools. Therefore, Orthodox Jews,... [continues]
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