NYC has seen a recent spike in high end, good quality Kosher restaurants, particularly of the steakhouse variety. I’m talking about places like Prime at The Bentley Hotel on the east side, and Prime KO (Japanese inspired) and Talia’s on the west side. Shit, even Strip House offers a Kosher steak on the menu in midtown. I was intrigued by some of the things my buddy was telling me while we chomped away on the tasty Kosher beef at Prime at The Bentley Hotel. He now keeps Kosher, and he knows I’m a steak man, so a Kosher steakhouse was naturally a perfect fit for this bro-date. I had always thought to myself that Kosher simply meant a Rabbi had to bless the slaughter according to a specific process, and of course the prohibition on certain foods, but there’s much more to it than that. I have to hand it to those who make the effort to keep Kosher. I applaud your willpower and your dedication. I’d have serious trouble with several of these. Read on to get the basic Johnny Prime primer on what Kosher looks like through the eyes of a meat-loving gentile.
Clean Animals vs Unclean Animals
An animal is considered clean, and therefore okay to eat, if it “chews the cud” and has a cloven hoof. That means no pigs, rabbits, squirrels, bears, camels, elephants, etc., among others. Wait, wait, wait a second, Moishe… no pigs? EVER? Yeah, that’s right. NO PORK, which means NO BACON! Which means NO FUN! I kid. Beef bacon is a really fucking nice alternative, and so is duck bacon.
Shechita is the method by which the slaughterer severs the jugular vein, carotid artery, esophagus, and trachea in a single continuous motion with an un-serrated knife. Think Patrick Bateman.
Then the carcass is checked for diseases and injuries to make sure it wasn’t going to die within a year, which would make the meat unsuitable. It is forbidden to consume certain parts of the animal, such as certain fats and the sciatic nerves from the legs. As much blood as possible must be removed, but blood inside the meat is okay – YAY FOR MEDIUM RARE! However only the fore-quarter of the animal is used (front). That means no loin/short loin, flank, sirloin, or rump. Dayummm!
No bats, birds that eat fish, or birds of prey. More Patrick Bateman, I mean Bruce Wayne, references.
No bugs other than locusts or whatever may be living inside a fruit. I immediately wondered if this included fungus, mold or bacteria. If so, that would be bad news for the aging process of beef, and anything with mushrooms or truffles. The answer is that those are all okay. Whew!
Meat & Cheese Combo
No Meat & Cheese together – DOH! But you CAN have cheese either 1 or 6 hours (depending on how safe you want to be about it) before eating the meat – just don’t mix. Apparently you can’t have the meat before the cheese, because the meat takes longer to digest and will ultimately be mixing with the cheese in your gullet. So get cheese in the app, not in the dessert. Biggest problem here: NOOOOO CHEESEBURGERRRRS, MAAAAAAN!
Shrimp? Oysters? Clams? LOBSTER?!??
Of course, the Bible says no Shellfish – DOH!
“Torn by Beasts”
Another interesting item for discussion is how the Good Book also says that people shouldn’t eat already-dead animals that have been partially eaten by other animals. I’d say it’s probably a good idea to avoid carrion anyway. I suppose there should be exceptions for starving people wandering through the dessert, like Bear Grylls.
But the upside is that it looks like Moses was wise enough to bring some non-perishables with him on that whole Exodus thing. Yes… Twinkies are apparently Kosher.
Serious photo credit goes to The Internet on this post. I’m not that funny. These images, however, are. The drawing at the top of the page was done by my brother. You can see more of his sick artwork at DeviantArt.