[Sca-cooks] "Glatt Kosher" and "Ashkanzic Kosher"?

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Aug 1 16:33:14 PDT 2008

On Aug 1, 2008, at 6:48 PM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> We've discussed Jewish and other religious food restrictions here  
> before, but I thought Kosher was Kosher.

Yes and no. At the risk of incurring angry disagreement from someone  
better versed in this than I, the short version is, observant Jews  
maintain a standard based on somebody or other's interpretation of the  
rules. Of course, interpretations differ, and what you end up with are  
varying degrees of liberal versus conservative interpretations. In  
practice, this can be discussed as the difference between liberal and  
conservative interpretations, but also is sometimes interpreted,  
depending on which side of the line you fall on, as either, "I keep  
Kosher but he/she is a fanatic," if the speaker is somewhat liberal,  
and, "I keep Kosher but he/she does not," if the speaker is more  
conservative.   So, as I said earlier, yes and no.

> So what's with this "Glatt Kosher" and "Ashkanzic Kosher" and  
> perhaps others?

The two terms aren't opposite, similar, different, per se, mutually  
inclusive nor exclusive. They just happened to appear close to each  
other in my post.

"Glatt" is a [Yiddish?] term meaning "smooth," used in reference to an  
examination of the lungs of slaughtered animals. Animals with smooth  
or unblemished lungs are acceptable for the Glatt Kosher standard.  
Some animals might not meet that standard, but either because the  
lungs aren't checked as closely, or because a blemish or two can be  
overlooked, or for whatever other reason, they may still be accepted  
as Kosher (or maybe certain cuts of them can be, I'm not sure) by some  
authorities. It may be akin to being USDA approved Prime, Choice,  
Good, etc. In the U.S. government's system of standards, there are  
many variations on approval before you get to meat that is not  
actually approved in some form.

>  I seem to remember that Ashkanzic Jews were those who migrated  
> through eastern Europe? and others, Sepharic? Jews across Africa and  
> up through Spain,

Yes, more or less.

> but I hadn't realized that the food restrictions were different

I'm pretty sure they are, to some extent. For example, I seem to  
recall there being much discussion on whether seeds that aren't grains  
are or are not (like various spices, nuts and legumes) acceptable for  
Passover use, with much divergence of opinion largely falling on the  
lines between Ashkanazic and Sephardic Jews.

My reference to Ashkanazic Kosher was not to a type of Kashrut  
described by linked adjectives; it was just using two adjectives;  
maybe I should have stuck a comma in between them. Kosher food in the  
style of Ashkanazic Jews, such as is often found in Kosher  
delicatessens. Steamed pastrami on rye, stuffed cabbage, stuffed  
peppers, braised brisket or flanken, stuffed derma or kishkas, all  
that stuff.

On the Sephardic side, we've got, among other things, couscous and  
tagine-type dishes, lots of stuff fried in olive oil (in fact, it has  
been alleged that Jews brought deep-fried fish to England, where they  
would later pair it with chips), and a generally lighter touch with  
vegetables (which, given the respective climates from which Ashkanazic  
and Sephardic Jews have spent so long living in, isn't so surprising).

> and hadn't heard of this "Glatt Kosher" before now.

It's more of a concern for the stricter forms of observance, I  
suspect. I doubt Kinky Friedman worries about it too much ;-).

> An article in today's Austin paper did mention an increasing Jewish  
> community here in Austin, but I haven't had a lot of direct  
> experiences.

I think everybody on earth was basically put there for someone else to  
learn something useful from, and the more important issue [than a lack  
of direct experience] is that it's never too late to start.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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