For a while Mrs. Yid and I had been musing over the idea of experimenting with keeping a "kosher-ish" household, albeit in our own way. We both read Sue Fishkoff's Kosher Nation and while neither of us was inspired to toivel our plates or hunt down some Glatt, it did get us thinking a little about the intersections between kashrut and community. This is particularly relevant because our new shul hosts a potluck once a month and, foodie that she is, Mrs. Yid would like to be able to prepare something people feel comfortable eating without it being cast to the "kosher status questionable" table. We decided that since we now are in a new place, this could be a chance to try something different.
But, here's the rub: as someone who already has a wide swath of things their own body forbids them to consume (any cow dairy products), the idea of further limiting myself to only kosher meat (ok, fine, and all things pareve) is not particularly appealing (pricing and availability are also issues around here). While I can get behind the idea of being thoughtful and careful about what food you eat and where it comes from (and, in the case of proteins, how they were treated/slaughtered), I'm still not decided on whether I need my meat to have been schetched, per se. For where I am right now, I think treating kashrut as cultural foodways and guidelines (and general food taboos) makes more sense than deciding that everything I eat needs to have a hescher.
So the plan as it presently stands is this:
- No pork or shellfish in the house (I gave Abbot Yid a giant bag of frozen shrimp yesterday after packing out our old apartment).
- When possible, only organic poultry, beef, and other proteins (yes, it may not be kosher per se, but it's a step up in thinking about where our food comes and how it was treated. I'm already sighing in frustration upon realizing how many non-pork sausages are in pork casings. Farewell, my beloved Aidells!)
- For now, the very few times where we mix milk and meat (goat cheese pizza is the only example I can think of) will stand, but may be revisited later.
- Per our new shul's guidelines, we will be purchasing some new utensils and cooking implements to prepare food for their potluck and will only use them for that purpose.
- When possible, we will try to have Shabbat meals not be obviously non-kosher. (Oh, and speaking of Shabbat, working on that screen-less Shabbat thing more.)
In the interest of shalom bayis (and in not triggering major irritation/feelings of deprivation), the idea is that these rules will be followed inside our new home but that we'll reserve the option of eating treyf out, following in the longstanding (if slightly hypocritical) footsteps of my ancestors. Our biggest concern is not wanting to alienate any friends or family, as well as not wanting to jump too far before we're ready.
I haven't told my family much about this yet, and it only came up the other day because I had to explain to Abbot Yid why I was bestowing a giant bag of shrimp upon him. His response was totally unsurprising, if slightly irritating:
[Annoyed stare:] "You're not going to get all... weird on me, are you?"