When looking for a good Kosher style Delicatessen or Kosher food in Westchester County, select from
The Westchester Restaurant Guide's list of Kosher (kosher style) Delicatessens.
Kashrut is the body of Jewish law dealing with what food we can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten. It is the same root as the more commonly known word "kosher" which describes food that meets these standards. Kosher food is food that meets certain criteria of Jewish law. Invalidating characteristics may range from the presence of a mixture of meat and milk or even the use of cooking utensils which had previously been used for non-kosher food. Kosher food is food prepared in accordance with Jewish Dietary Laws.
The word kosher means proper or acceptable and it has informally entered the English language with that meaning. But kosher laws have their origin in the Bible, and are detailed in the Talmud and other codes of Jewish traditions. Although the details of Kashrut are extensive, the laws all derive from a few straightforward rules.
The Bible lists the basic categories of food items which are not kosher. These include certain animals, fowl and fish such as pork and rabbit, eagle and owl, catfish and sturgeon, and any shellfish, insect or reptile. In addition, kosher species of meat and fowl must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner. This restriction includes the flesh, organs, eggs and milk of the forbidden animals.
There is no such thing as "kosher-style" food. Kosher is not a style of cooking. Chinese food can be kosher if it is prepared in accordance with Jewish law, and there are many fine kosher Chinese restaurants in New York. Traditional Ashkenazi Jewish foods like knishes, bagels, blintzes, and matzah ball soup can all be non-kosher if not prepared in accordance with Jewish law. When a restaurant calls itself "kosher-style," it usually means that the restaurant serves traditional Jewish food, and it often means that the food is not actually kosher. Food that is not kosher is commonly referred to as treyf.
Other species of meat and fowl must be slaughtered in a prescribed manner to be kosher. Of the animals that may be eaten, the birds and mammals must be killed in accordance with Jewish law. Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
All blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out of it before it is eaten.
Meat and dairy products may not be made or consumed together. Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. Note: Some interpretations state that fish may not be eaten with meat.
A kosher food that is processed or cooked together with a non-kosher food, or any derivative of a non-kosher food, becomes non-kosher. Processed foods may contain ingredients that are not kosher. For example, cake products or bread may contain fats that are derived from animal products.
Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa. Utensils that have come into contact with non-kosher food may not be used with kosher food. This applies only where the contact occurred while the food was hot.
Why Do We Observe the Laws of Kashrut?
Many modern Jews think that the laws of Kashrut are simply primitive health regulations that have become obsolete with modern methods of food preparation. There is no question that some of the dietary laws have some beneficial health effects. For example, the laws regarding kosher slaughter are so sanitary that kosher butchers and slaughterhouses have been exempted from many USDA regulations.
However, health is not the only reason for Jewish dietary laws. Many of the laws of Kashrut have no known connection with health. In light of modern scientific knowledge, there is no reason why camel or rabbit meat (both treyf) is any less healthy than cow or goat meat. In addition, some of the health benefits to be derived from Kashrut were not made obsolete by the refrigerator. However, there is some evidence that eating meat and dairy together interferes with digestion, and no modern food preparation technique reproduces the health benefit of the kosher law of eating them separately.
The short answer to why Jews observe these laws is: because the Torah says so. The Torah does not specify any reason for these laws, and for a Torah-observant, traditional Jew, there is no need for any other reason. Some have suggested that the laws of Kashrut fall into the category of "chukkim," laws for which there is no reason.