[Sca-cooks] New Challenge

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Fri Aug 21 09:21:05 PDT 2009

On Aug 21, 2009, at 10:59 AM, Deborah Hammons wrote:

> I have a first question. What would a Spanish jew have eaten who  
> "kept kosher" of their time eaten just before they were expelled  
> from Spain? And the Moorish counterpart living in Spain at the same  
> time?
> Aldyth

For the most part, anything that was eaten by the others in the area  
-- as long as the meat was from a kosher animal, slaughtered in a  
kosher fashion; as long as the seafood had both proper fins and proper  
scales (no catfish, shellfish, crustaceans); as long as there were no  
dairy products served in the same meal with meat/poultry products (or  
byproducts, such as chicken broth, or ghee); and as long as it was  
cooked and served using vessels and utensils that had only been used  
in kosher cooking, for their own category of food (meat dishes, dairy  
dishes, and 'parve' dishes -- parve means anything that's neither meat  
nor dairy, such as eggs, grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables). Fish is in  
a special category. It's parve, but it can't be eaten WITH meat. You  
serve the fish dish, then remove the fish and the plates/utensils,  
bring out the meat plates/utensils, and finish the meal. You can eat  
fish with dairy if you're Ashkenazi, and some Sephardi Jews also eat  
dairy with fish, though not all.

If the non-Jewish folks in your area ate kugel, bagels, borshch,  
kishkes, kasha varnishkes, chicken soup with noodles and/or balls of  
dough (matzah)... that's what you ate, too. If the non-Jews in your  
area ate cherry chicken, lamb biryani, stir-fry from a wok, apricot  
beef tajin, saffron rice, and made their chicken soup with rice or  
millet, that's what you ate, too.

If everyone around you ate pork, you'd create a substitute by finding  
a meat with a similar texture and the ability to take on other  
flavors, then give it a bit of extra salt (because pigs don't sweat  
their body's toxins out) and some more spices, add a bit more chicken  
fat if you wanted a fattier cut, and voila -- "pork." Anything you can  
do with pork, you can also do with chicken, guinea fowl, or turkey.

If the local cuisine depended a lot on mixtures of meat and dairy  
(such as a lamb marinated in yogurt sauce, or in modern times,  
pepperoni pizza or a cheeseburger), you'd choose whether to have the  
meat or the dairy be 'real' and then find a substitute for the other  
ingredient -- or just remove it. I've made some quite nice 'yogurt' by  
mixing almond meal with water, sometimes egg, and tiny amounts of  
vinegar, heating it, then letting it rest in the fridge for a day. And  
yes, tofu is Period, for much of the world. Fermented legumes, whole  
or pureed, are a very fine meat substitute. So are non-fermented  
legumes, eggs, and mushrooms.

For every non-kosher taste, there is an equivalent kosher ingredient.  
You just have to be diligent and creative in your search for it,  

Passover's rules are HELLA complicated, and I don't want to go into  
them here, but it is a HUGE pain in the tachat. let me tell you.

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