Kosher Goes Fashionable: Part 1

Keeping kosher is an ancient tradition, made up of what many Jews believe are divinely-ordained rules for eating. Rules include not eating milk and meat together, not eating pork, and separating utensils for cooking meat and milk (known in Yiddish as fleishig and milchig).

However, many today are abandoning keeping kosher because it is seen as too difficult. It is particularly difficult to separate meat and milk, requiring entirely separate sets of plates, pots, pans, and utensils for fleishig and milchig. Many often use separate sinks and separate dishwashers to clean as well.

Additionally the milk and meat separation requires much kitchen trickery to put a full meal on the table. Even meals are separate, being made up of only milk or only dairy. So imagine serving a meat meal, and then wanting to have cheesecake for dessert. You would have to opt to use vegan cream cheese, which requires a lot of work to make taste like your normal cheesecake.

Many young people remember the work that their mothers put into kosher meals, many of whom did not work. Given the work involved, it seems too hard to keep kosher in the modern world. Add in the requirement of eating only at kosher restaurants, and it seems downright impossible.

But authors and restaurants alike are attempting to make kosher doable for the modern lifestyle. For example, Susie Fishbein’s popular series Kosher by Design attempts to make kosher food fashionable and easy, including books like Kosher by Design Short on Time.

“The secret, if there is one,” Susie ventures, “is that I’ve never stopped being ordinary. But I’ve looked for creative ways to enhance the visual appeal of foods while keeping the preparations uncomplicated for the average, busy person. As I’ve traveled the country doing cooking demos, people constantly tell me that they are cooking more and loving to cook more with Kosher by Design recipes. They feel like I’m there coaching them through the process.”

Books like How to Keep Kosher also attempt to provide an easy way of sorting out all the rules.

So what is being done in Seattle to make the kosher lifestyle easy and fashionable again? Stay tuned for part 2…


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