People who follow strict kosher dietary rules are guided by religion as well as their own conscience when making their culinary choices, whether at home, when eating out at a new Australian kosher restaurant, or when playing the role of guests in someone’s home. Kosher food rules find their inspiration in the holy Torah, which means they date back several millennia ago. Today, the same ancient culinary requirements meet face to face with meat alternatives that are grown in special labs. Could all-vegan cheeseburgers be the future? Should more people make the switch to kosher food? Are the old kosher rules still valid today? Let’s dig a little deeper into the matter!
Are Kosher Dietary Rules Too Strict Today?
One important question that we could ask concerning this topic first is whether the old set of kosher rules is still desirable and valid nowadays. Eating kosher means eating food that is cooked, prepared, and handled following very strict regulations, and observant Jews are the main people who embrace these rules. Kashrut commands the way we should connect with the food we are about to eat, and the modern times we live in seems to make this process more difficult by the day. Many people might find it hard to adhere to these ideas and rituals tied to what it means to keep kosher.
Eating Kosher, Feeding The Soul
There are also those who think that the headache they need to go through when trying to decide whether the hundreds of kosher certificates are truly kosher or not according to all the divergent opinions of different rabbis is enough to take away the “soulful experience” out of the keeping kosher process. People fear the fact that the act of keeping kosher will eventually lose its genuine and original meaning when people will cease to look at it as a simple act of the soul and its connection to food and divinity.
Respecting The Food You Eat
People who belong to the Judaic religion have the utmost respect for food, and this feeling is deeply rooted in their religion. From the simple act of praying over the vegetables, they are about to eat when they are giving thanks for the “fruit that comes from the ground” to the blessing over the wine when they say “hagafen” which translates to “from the vine”, these people have received very clear instruction on how to constantly create connections with the food they consume. However, when the highly industrialised food industry comes into the story, things tend to change.
Looking Into Today’s Alternatives
Today’s modern factory farms need to obey strict kosher rules in order to obtain their kosher certificates. However, many would argue that while these farms might respect the letter of the kosher law, they certainly have a hard time respecting the spirit of the law. Animals must be treated with respect as they are slaughtered to be served as food, and strict rituals must be followed. Today, there are tons of food alternatives to choose from, which means we can also enjoy more opportunities of keeping kosher without too much hassle. At least, in theory. Aussies used to physically visit land gaming venues in order to play their favourite games of pokies when the first one-armed bandit machines first emerged. Many of them had to travel long distances and make a true effort to reach there before closing time and sit in line for a chance to play.
Today, things have simplified considerably and most Aussies prefer to play real pokies online from the comfort of their homes, while still getting the same thrills from the act of playing. Similarly, people who follow kashrut can take advantage of the kosher stamps they can find on their favourite foods from Safeway or Whole Foods and simplify their kosher eating and cooking experiences by a lot. They can still say their prayers and eat their tasty kosher chicken nuggets. However, can they still relate to this type of food at the same deep level of meaning?
Many would argue that a person’s personal food choices might not make a big difference. However, having light conversations during lunch or dinner and debating topics like the source of the food on their plates, the way the local farmers’ market works, whether they should start eating less meat, or how to join the next food movement that encouraged eating local are good ideas. Also, discussing ideas on how to limit our food waste and making sure to fully understand the way the food you eat can affect us, the planet, the air we breathe, the oceans, and the animals will also ring a small contribution to the improvement of all food sources, kosher or not. Anyone can have this conversation, and you certainly don’t need to be Jewish or follow kosher rules to help improve our food sources.
Redefining what it means to eat kosher in 2021 and beyond might get a little complicated, but the rules that have been established thousands of years ago still seem to have the same strong potential of leading our steps back to a genuine connection with the food we can find nowadays.