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Hanukkah Food Traditions: Forbidden Jewish Foods

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Orthodox Jews follow Kashruth dietary laws, which regulates the list of forbidden Jewish foods and permissible foods.  These Kashruth laws have governed the Jewish cooking for centuries, no matter in whatever country you reside. The kosher laws adapt to the local produces and availability of the ingredients because one thing, which is available in one country may not be available in other, still the basic rules of kosher remain the same.


 


 


The kashruth or kosher laws are comprehensive, but you can try to follow some of these laws during this Hanukkah or Chanukkah season.


 


  • You can eat any animal that possesses cloven hooves and chews its cud and the meat of an animal, which doesn't possess any of these qualities is forbidden as a food. Even the animals, which have any one of these qualities are forbidden too. The animals which possess both these qualities are known as pure and the ones which don't possess any of these qualities or either one of these qualities are known as impure. Means you can't cook meats like camel (it has hooves, and chews cud too, but its hooves are not divided), hyrax (it doesn't have cloven hooves), hare (without cloven hooves) and pig (has cloven hooves, but doesn't chew the food).


 


  • Certain parts of the slaughtered animals and birds are forbidden. The slaughtered animal should be checked for signs of diseases. If the animal is clean, then you need to remove certain fats, blood and sciatic nerves. The kashruth laws demand that blood of the animals should be removed immediately after slaughtering. The blood veins should be cut immediately and the meat should be soaked in cold water and sprinkled with kosher salt. If the meat that you are planning to cook does not follow this prime rule, then it is considered to be unfit for use.


 


  • Of the seafood you can eat anything that has scales and fins, which means that seafood like shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, and lobsters are forbidden.


 


  • Although the criteria for birds are not very clear, still Torah provides the list of forbidden birds. These forbidden birds generally fall into the league of scavengers or preys.  Of the winged swarming things few are permitted, but the sages are not.


 


  • Reptiles, rodents, insects and amphibians are prohibited.


 


  • Products derived from forbidden animals such as their meat, milk, fat, eggs and organs are forbidden. The milk is considered kosher if it is derived from a kosher animal. But cheese is forbidden because the enzyme used to harden it is obtained from non-kosher animal. But the kosher cheeses are not easily found in the market.


 


  • Certain food combinations are forbidden such as flesh of mammals and dairy products.  Means fish, fruits, eggs, grains and vegetables can be teamed with dairy or meat.   But some experts say that fish cannot be eaten with meat.


    For example if you are planning to cook Risotto, and then you need to make certain changes to the menu because in regular manner it is prepared by using vegetables and meat stock and is sprinkled with cheese.  But meat stock and cheese combination is forbidden. You can simplify the menu by eliminating the cheese or meat stock.


 


Image courtesy: freewilliamsburg.com

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