Ducks 'n a Row: Kosher Dairy Main Dishes - A Simple Guide To Jewish Foods

15 April 2014

Kosher Dairy Main Dishes - A Simple Guide To Jewish Foods

By Sinea Pies

Marrying into a Jewish family? Visiting some new Jewish friends? You've heard that there are some kinds of food that Orthodox Jews cannot eat and you don't want to offend anybody but what is the proper etiquette?

 Jewish holidays, Hannukah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year
First, expect to love it...both the food and the people! Sure, it's territory that is unknown to you but soon you will find yourself looking forward to the next opportunity to dine together! Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Purim, Passover, Hanukkah all come with delightful delicacies and lovely traditions to be enjoyed.

Jewish recipes are full of flavor and, for those who have not grown up with it, a bit of mystery. Some of the names are peculiar: knishe, knadel, challah, latkes, lokshenkugel, kuchen. And there are rules. Dietary laws, derived from Old Testament scripture, distinguish between what is "kosher" and what is not. Kosher means "OK" to eat. The rest is, well, not OK to eat.

One of the greatest rules to take note of is that a meal can have dairy in it but, if it does, no meat can be served. This may be news to you, if you are not Jewish. Don't worry about the lack of meat or poultry at a dairy table. There are so many exciting meat-free dishes that you'll hardly miss it.

What Foods Are Dairy
Foods that are considered to be "dairy" are any foods that have been derived from the milk of mammals:
  • Milk - includes all types of milk and cream
  • Cheese - including hard and soft cheeses, cottage cheese and cream cheese.
  • Butter - not margarine, which is a vegetable product
  • Sour Cream
  • Ice Cream, Ice Milk, Frozen Yogurt, Sherbet - sorbet is OK, it is made with water not dairy
  • Yogurt

Jewish Words
As you are exploring the world of Jewish cooking, it is helpful to become familiar with the language.
  • Kosher: food that is acceptable to eat according to Jewish Dietary Law.
  • Pareve: the dish is neither meat nor dairy and, therefore, can be served at any meal.
  • Meat vs. Dairy: rule of thumb is that no meat or poultry can be served with dairy. Fish, eggs, grains, vegetables and fruit all can be part of a dairy or meat table.
  • Trayf (or traif): Yiddish* for "not Kosher". Pork, seafood, certain birds (like crows), fish that do not have both fins and scales, and rodents are all "trayf". They are never part of a Kosher recipe or to be eaten in the diet of a Jewish person. Never!

What is Yiddish?
*"Yiddish" means "Jewish". It is a language that was spoken prior to World War II and the holocaust and with roots in High German .
Yiddish is still used richly today in day-to-day conversation by many of us, as it is so expressive! Just watch American TV and soon you will hear a Yiddish word: chutspah, maven, shlamiel and shlmaziel (ala Laverne & Shirley) and oy vey.
Sometimes Yiddish words are loving terms of endearment and, other times, as a backdoor insult, with a hint of humor on the side. 
Resource: The Yiddish Handbook

Dinner / Lunch Entrees
Kugel is a delicious noodle casserole that can be presented as the main dish or a side. Noodles are not allowed at Passover because they contain yeast. (Yes, another rule!) For Passover, potato or matzo kugel can be served. Kugel Recipe:The Best Kugel Recipe

Lasagna is an Italian dish but there is nothing saying it can't be part of a dairy table. Enjoy a variety of cheeses--ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella-- and red sauce...just leave out the meat! Lasagna Recipe: Lasagnafor Dairy Meals

Latkes are potato pancakes which are traditionally served at Hanukkah. This Jewish recipe tastes oh, so good with sour cream and applesauce for dipping. That's why you'll want to make your meal a dairy one. 
Recipe for Potato Latkes: Latkes

Jewish food includes delicious breads, except on Passover where they eat unleavened bread

What goes on a Hanukkah dairy table? Some families include bagels with cream cheese and lox, challah bread and butter, tuna salad and egg salad for the festivities but know that the latkes are definitely the main-fare. How much to make? Ten pounds of potatoes will make latkes enough for a very hungry party of 10-15 people.

Salmon, grilled or poached, makes a wonderful entree for dinner. Add steamed asparagus, wild rice and a tossed salad to the menu and you have an elegant meal that anyone would be proud to serve!                           
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese. Yes, this southern comfort food is perfect for a Kosher dairy meal (except on Passover). This dish is great for main fare or as a side. Make a lot. It will go fast!

Breakfast / Brunch Entrees
Vegetarian Breakfast Strata. Strata is a breakfast casserole primarily made with eggs, bread and cheese. It is layered, letting the eggs soak into the bread overnight and baked prior to serving. Though non-Jewish people add some form of sausage or ham to their stratas, to make it Kosher and dairy then make it vegetarian! Mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, olives or onion can be included to make your breakfast party a great success! 

Breakfast Pizza. Serve a yummy breakfast pizza featuring eggs, cheeses and veggies! Everyone will love it. Breakfast Pizza 

Blintzes. Similar to crepes unleavened pancakes are cooked then rolled with various fillings, sweet or veggie. Sweet filling may be a cream cheese combination with a fruit topping. The word "blintz", by the way, is Yiddish! Recipe: Cheese Blintzes

Guide to Jewish Holidays
While enjoying these marvelous Jewish recipes, it's helpful to have a little understanding of the special celebrations you will take part in.

Rosh Hashanah is the first of two High Holy Days on the Hebrew calendar. This holiday is the Jewish New Year, celebrated on the first and second day of Tishri. Rosh Hashanah is thought to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.This important holiday is followed by 10 days of reflection called "the Days of Awe".

Yom Kippur, or "The Day of Atonement" concludes the ten Days of Awe with a day of fasting and prayer. This is the most holy of Jewish holidays, centered on repentance and atonement for sins. A 24-hour day in Jewish culture goes from sundown to sundown so, following sundown, families may enjoy a nice meal together.

Sukkot, or the "Feast of Tabernacles", is celebrated the fifth day after Yom Kippur. This holiday is a time of remembrance of the Lord's deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt. Just as the refugees lived in huts made of branches, Jewish families make "sukkahs" to reinact the event. Meals are eaten in the sukkah.

Hanukkah is the "Festival of Lights", a minor holiday where God's deliverance of Israel at the time of the Maccabees is celebrated. This 8-day event is marked with the lighting of the Menorah. One candle per day is lit until all of them are glowing on the final day of the holiday. Note: Hanukkah is NOT the Jewish Christmas. It stands all by itself as a holiday which just happens to be sometime in December.

Purim is a fun celebration where the story of Esther from the Bible is told. Her courageous stand against tyranny and God's rescue of the Jewish people is reenacted in children's plays or told in story form. The villain, the evil Haman, wore a three-cornered hat. A fruit-filled triangular pastry, called a Hamantaschen, was created with his hat in mind and is eaten during Purim. If you've never had one, look for Purim on the calendar next March and go to a Jewish bakery and buy one. They are delicious!

An excellent movie about the life of Esther is "One Night With the King". Filled with spectacle, drama and romance!
Movie about Queen Esther #Purim #Bible #movies Ducks 'n a Row

Passover or Pesach is a high holiday observed in the spring. For eight days, Passover is celebrated. It commemorates God's deliverance of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. God delivered them but they had to make haste. There was no time for yeast to rise in the bread. Thus, at Passover, all breads and grains must be yeast-free. Passover Matzo is a priority on the shopping list for Pesach!

Learn more about Passover: The amazing account of over 400 years of Egyptian bondage and God's miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from Pharaoh's hands--including 10 horrific plagues and the spectacular parting of the Red Sea--can be found in the Bible in the book of Exodus. 

On film? Two of the greatest family movies about Passover are: 
The Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt

Prince of Egypt family movie #Exodus #Moses #movie #DVD Ducks 'n a Row The Ten Commandments epic movie with Charlton Heston #BIble #Moses #Exodus Ducks 'n a Row

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Note: this author is an Amazon affiliate. Anything purchased from Amazon through this site will result in 
a small commission for me. In advance, "thank you."  Sinea
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