Thursday, August 23, 2007

Would you like some fresh Kashrut on your salad?


Longtime readers of my blog will probably not be surprised to hear me say that I don't take a very serious approach to ethical questions relating to cooking and eating at A Hunger Artist. It's not that I do not believe there are serious questions to be addressed or ponder them with a serious mien from time to time -far from it. But my treatment of them here is usually salted with irony and -okay, I'll admit it- sometimes puerile humor, because I see this blog as more of a form of entertainment than a serious forum for discussion. (I am also very much an Italian-American, which means that my psyche is ofttimes powerfully motivated by either pragmatic-fatalism or prudish-utopianism. More on that later perhaps.)

Still, there are moments like now when I like to toss in something into the blog-pot without following it with a joke or an ironic aside.

Yesterday, I discovered the blog of a remarkable group of people who write The Jew & The Carrot. The blog was linked in a story in The New York Times about eating religiously (Sorry!) and my post-click impression left me impressed.

The skinny on The Jew & The Carrot is that it is run by people who engaged in trying to reconcile Jewish dietary laws and ethical guidelines to contemporary environmental concerns while having a good time in the process. I'm not going to pretend that I understand much of anything about Kosher dietary laws (Kashrut) other than what I have read and indirectly learned from watching my grandmother's orthodox neighbors in Flushing, NY, and during a brief tenure as a teenaged cook at a kosher catering hall in 1970. But my sense of the Kashrut is that they are as much about the need to eat in a manner that minimizes the act's impact on the self and others, as they are a device designed to define the envelope of and essence of Jewish identity.

I also know that following Kashrut in the spirit in which it was promulgated is not a trivial pursuit. Especially in a globalized culture where the appetite for once arcane or inaccessible foods and drink is being increasingly supplemented with difficult to digest questions about how all this neo-fodder is being produced. So my hat's off to the minds behind The Jew&The Carrot for their cheerfully serious attempt to make sense of it all.

If you decide to click through to The Jew & The Carrot you might also want to check out the precis for the upcoming 2nd annual Hazon Food Conference to be held at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT (Holy Mollie! I used to live in Falls Village!) where, among other activities, they will slaughter and cook a lamb.

The Jew & the Carrot

1 comment:

Jennie/Tikka said...

We don't have any Kosher markets in my area or I'd go there - but we do have two middle eastern markets that are Halal (which is the Muslim version of Kosher). I tend to buy my meats there because I know they at least made an attempt at humane slaughtering (which is a part of keeping halal).

P.S. Did anybody see the South Park epi where Peta goes nuts because of South Park's Cow Mascot?? It was on last night and it really nailed the over-the-top Peta attitudes.