As the global marketplace becomes a local reality at the doorsteps of every consumer, more and more top-quality European specialty products as never before imagined are increasingly available on these shores. While this is the case in general, it is especially notable in the kosher market, where kosher consumers now have neighborhood access to numerous overseas products that are renowned for their quality and branding across the Atlantic but were heretofore unavailable on this side of the Pond.
The balance is a delicate one in an era when brand loyalty has diminished and tastes are ever more fickle.
The flavor industry has grown from rather humble origins in the mid-nineteenth century, when processed foods first came to prominence, into a $1.5 billion dollar industry that churns out 10,000 new flavors a year. For purposes of kosher certification, chemicals and natural ingredients the raw components of a flavor are divided into three categories: natural, non-kosher, and “in between.” The natural category includes tea, cocoa powder, honey, lemon oil and other inherently kosher materials, as well as chemicals derived entirely from natural sources, such as heliotropin, a transmutation of petroleum.
Educated kosher consumers are well aware that kosher fish require two characteristics, fins and scales. However, many are uninformed about the relevance of insects to the kashrus of fish. Despite a familiarity amongst consumers about tolayim issues in fruits and vegetables, many are unaware of discussions in Shas and Shulchan Aruch about how this area…
As temperatures continue their upward climb, in many instances posting record highs, tired and thirsty families take refuge in the treats of summer: creamy ice cream bars, tangy fruit punches that paint one’s teeth, sticky chocolates that melt in the hand. These are the rewards for another day of heat endurance, pulled from the recesses…
Misconception:There is no valid reason to use kosher soap.
Fact:There is a solid halachic basis for using kosher soap exclusively.
Misconception: Although the giraffe is a kosher animal, it is not slaughtered because it is not known where on the neck to perform the shechitah (ritual slaughter).
Fact: The makom shechitah (region of the neck in which ritual slaughter is valid) on a giraffe is precisely defined by halachah, just as it is for all animals, and the only impediments to shechting giraffe are cost and practical considerations. (They are among the most difficult animals to restrain.)
Misconception : “Glatt Kosher” means something like “extra kosher” and applies to chicken and fish as well as meat.
Fact: Glatt is Yiddish for smooth, and in the context of kashrut it means that the lungs of the animal were smooth, without any adhesions that could potentially prohibit the animal as a treifa, an issue only applicable to animals, not fowl or non-meat products.
Misconception: Nikkur achoraim (rendering the hindquarters of an animal fit for kosher consumption) is a Sephardic practice that is banned by rabbinic fiat for Ashkenazim and thus not performed in the United States. Fact: There is no such ban, and nikkur was practiced in many Ashkenazic communities into the twentieth century. The practice of some communities to refrain from eating hindquarters, owing to the difficulty in excising the forbidden sections, continues to exist among both Ashkenazim and Sephardim.
In Switzerland it is inconceivable to celebrate a joyous occasion without a glass of kirsch – cherry brandy. For tourists, it is compulsory to take home postcards of the Alps, a package of Swiss cheese and … a bottle of kirsch [German for “cherry” ].
There is a definite connection between New Yorkers and the New York City bagel. New Yorkers are tough and firm on the outside but gentle and caring on the inside. A real New York City bagel too, is hard and crispy on the outside but moist and chewy on the inside. New Yorkers are shiny and flamboyant on the outside but good old down-to-earth and friendly on the inside. A real New York City bagel too, is burnished and slick on the outside but mushy and snug on the inside.