[Sca-cooks] food likes and dislikes and ettiquette

Judith Epstein judith at ipstenu.org
Fri Aug 28 06:08:07 PDT 2009

On Aug 28, 2009, at 7:53 AM, Saint Phlip wrote:

> OK, Judith, since you're the most extremely Kosher person I've  
> talked to at any length, perhaps you can answer me a question.

I'll do my best.

> I realize that people keeping kosher will not expect to eat in a non- 
> Kosher home, and thus would avoid, for example, dinner parties and  
> invitations of that nature, however, food IS a large part of our  
> culture, and often a niblet is offered to a guest who might be there  
> for whatever reason- in one case, anyone who dropped something off  
> at my ex boss's house was fed SOMETHING, even if not more than a bit  
> of cheese and fruit from the dining room table display.
> So, that being the case, if a person such as yourself were to come  
> to a non-Kosher home, and we knew that you kept kosher, is there  
> anything we might offer you safely?

I have this problem with many of my own relatives who don't keep  
kosher, or who don't keep it as strictly as I do. My grandfather is  
particularly solicitous in this way. Normally when I go Down South to  
visit family, I stay in a hotel, where I prepare my own foods (cold,  
and/or with my slow-cooker if that's permitted there). But when I go  
into my grandfather's home, there's always a meal in progress, no  
matter what time I go. So I generally eat before going there. That way  
I can truthfully say, "Oh Granddaddy, I'm so full from what I just  
ate. But I'd really love a glass of water -- no, I'll get it myself,  
you just get off your feet and rest."

> My thought, supposing I knew you were coming, would be to hit the  
> grocery (or, if one were availble nearby the Kosher grocery) and  
> look through the stuff marked K for something that you might find  
> pleasant to nosh on. It would seem to me, that served on new  
> disposable plates with disposable flatware, you'd be covered.
> Would this be something you could do? How about beverages?

* I can always be happy with a glass of water, maybe a can of any Coke  
produce (served in a glass or right out of the can, it's kosher). What  
I usually do to satisfy someone who *needs* to provide hospitality,  
like I do, is ask for a glass of water and make sure to express the  
fullest level of my appreciation. That's easy for me to do, because I  
am nearly always thirsty, so a glass of water really does delight me.
* Fresh, uncut fruit (a whole apple, banana, orange, peach) is kosher  
in the US -- unless it comes from Israel, ironically, in which case it  
does need a certification, because Israel's produce has to be tithed  
appropriately, and the farm/production company may be relying on the  
customer to do this instead of doing it themselves.
* Anything with an acceptable hechsher (kashrut certification mark,  
see link below) that can be served right from the package without  
using a plate or utensils, or using only paper/plastic, would be okay.

The trouble about the various kosher symbols is that they're not all  
from reliable agencies. This infuriates me, because the agencies  
depend on being relied upon by people who don't know that the  
company's not reliable, so those agencies are fleecing the buyers.  
They're also fleecing the companies that pay for the certification in  
good faith, thinking that they're doing right by their customer base.  
For a list of reliable kashrut certification marks: http://www.crcweb.org/agency_list.php 
  (you can save this as a printable PDF or keep it on your iPhone if  
you have frequent guests that do keep kosher).

Also keep in mind that if an observant Jew comes to your home, it's  
not for the food. It's for the delight of your company. :) Food, they  
can get at home, but they can only see you by being near you, and  
that's what they'll appreciate even more than refreshments.


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