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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Adventures in Kashrut

I was exhausted Monday night. That's my story and I'm sticking with it, as to why I was a complete and utter idiot that night.

Which is when I used a meat spatula to cook a pareve soup in a dairy pot. It was only to stir the initial vegetables *and* there was neither meat nor milk around when I did so, but what I should have done is call my rabbi.

What I did do was put the meat spatula down and pick up its blue, dairy brother and use that to finish the soup. And then I took part of this soup and transferred it to another dairy pot so that I could add fish. And then I served that soup with the fish in our dairy bowls and added grated cheese (would have been better had the soup been cooked longer. I had fairly rocklike veggies.)

And I thought it was all fine until the next morning when we started thinking about it. I mean, I was half convinced I'd lost the initial spatula, which was a pain because these spatulas are heat resistant silicon and make a tremendous difference in cooking. Also, not cheap. But worth it. But that was all.

And then I started thinking, and Jonathan suggested we ask a rabbi. So I spent the day formulating a email and as I did, it got worse and worse. I used meat bowls (clean and cold) to transport the veggies to the pot. I used nonkasherable utensils. I felt like I'd treifed half my kitchen.

It took until 10 that night to reach my rabbi. I had the wrong email address and he wasn't home until then. But, to his credit, he did call me right away. And he's a brilliant man. And I told him the sad story and he said, "Treat the soup as fleishig, but nothing is treif." In other words, use disposable or fleishig bowls and don't put in the cheese.

This is a lesson. This is why we're supposed to call rabbis instead of working it out on our own. In order not to take a chance, most people tend to "rule" strictly for themselves, often far more strictly than required. Rabbis tend to rule appropriately to the people, but always on the side of leniency when possible - and one of the rules says that you do what the rabbi says - to keep from being too strict.

Humans are funny, aren't they?

(Meanwhile, my husband offered to purchase dinner because all I had was the soup. And I thought that meant take out. Except he came home with a premade noodle kugel and some raw chicken breasts. At after ten pm. Next thing I know, I'm making the kitchen meat and panfrying chicken at 10:30 at night. Came out pretty good, too. But. Grr.

Current Mood: tiredtired

It sounds rather complicated to keep track of all this while cooking.

When I read your post, I wondered about the cheese though. What is the rennet made of for kosher cheese? I assume it would be problematic if it came from the usual source of stomachs of slaughtered calves, or wouldn't it? Is it made with vegetarian rennet? I'm just curious, because here most cheeses in the supermarket aren't even labeled with from what source the rennet came from (which I think sucks) and if you buy non-packaged stuff shop assistants often have no idea, and with organic products it is labeled, but a lot organic cheese producers here seem to favor the traditional methods so many organic cheeses are made with calf-rennet, too.


I buy my cheese in packages marked "kosher" or, on those rare occasions I get cheese not packages, in stores that only sell kosher food. This means I have no idea how they get around it - I assume they use vegetable rennet today. And, in fact, after having done some webresearch, that is no longer the case. They use microbrial rennet grown on a vegetable base - something that's only recently been made feasible. Which explains why I've only been able to find good parmesan and really good brie recently.

There are processes that can make traditional rennets usable for kosher cheeses, but they are difficult, expensive and produce a very inferior product, both in terms of the rennet itself and the cheese, which is why traditional Jewish recipes using cheese used "fresh" cheeses = farmer, pot, cream and cottage - cheeses made without rennet. Vegetable rennet changed that, and this new process has made things even better.

Re: Hmmm

I think the best results (in terms of cheese quality) if not rennet from calves is used, is to use microbial rennet that has been produced by organisms which have been genetically modified to produce the same enzymes as calves to, since then chemically it's the same, but that is not an option for organic dairy producers.