Lightly written book explains basics of kashrut
If I’m Not Mistaken, That’s Bacon: Kosher guidance for confused Jews by Michelle Slade, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC.; ISBN 978-1-4776-2373-2 ©2012, $14, p. 47, including references
By Fred Reiss, Ed.D.
WINCHESTER, California –Kashrut, the ensemble of Jewish dietary laws, has its basis in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. Within the Books of Genesis, Leviticus and Deuteronomy are biblical injunctions about what can and cannot be eaten, called clean and unclean, as well as commands concerning the separation of milk from meat, prohibition against ingesting blood, and non-permitted foods during Passover. A clean animal, to remain clean for consumption, must, according to rabbinic rulings, be slaughtered in a particular way, and because of the separation of milk from meat, that properly slaughtered animal must be prepared in meat-designated pots and pans and served with meat-designated dishes and utensils. To be kosher, fish must have both fins and scales—hello salmon, good-bye clams.
Of course, not everything consumed falls into the categories of milk and meat, some foods, like fruits and vegetables are neither, so a kosher home will have a third set of pots, pans, dishes, utensils, etc. for the serving of this type of food called parvé. Additionally, because of biblical law about the holiday of Passover unleavened bread and foods made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats, are not consumed, unless marked “Kosher for Passover.” Because these foods are permitted to be eaten the rest of the year, “everyday” plates, utensils, and pots are not acceptable for Passover use, and so a kosher home will have a second full set (milk, meat, and parvé) of food preparation pots, plates, and serving utensils just for the Passover holiday. Does a kosher home need at least two sinks? Two dishwashers? Two refrigerators? Maintaining a kosher home is neither easy nor cheap!
If I’m Not Mistaken, That’s Bacon, by author Michelle Slade, is an enjoyable monograph written in a light-hearted way for understanding the Jewish dietary laws while, in deference to the great sages Hillel and Shammai, “standing on one foot.” Slade briefly covers all the important features of Kashrut, including hashgacha, the rabbinical supervision of food preparation, labeling of kosher food, and kosher wine, which serves the reader well at the introductory level. However, If I’m Not Mistaken, That’s Bacon is no substitute for getting a rabbi-mentor and reading more extensively before embarking on the creation of a kosher home.
Dr. Fred Reiss is a retired public and Hebrew school teacher and administrator. He is the author of The Standard Guide to the Jewish and Civil Calendars; Ancient Secrets of Creation: Sepher Yetzira, the Book that Started Kabbalah, Revealed; and Reclaiming the Messiah. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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