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How to Keep Kosher: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Jewish Dietary Laws [Hardcover]

Lise Stern
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)


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Book Description

August 17, 2004

"Traditional Judaism injects sanctification into the ordinary habits of everyday life.Keeping kosher helps us pause and think about what we eat, and how we eat it, and elevates the act of eating."

What does it mean to keep kosher? Many may be familiar with the basics: no bacon, no shrimp, no cheeseburgers. But the Jewish dietary laws go deeper than that, and How to Keep Kosher explores the ins and outs. Why are some foods deemed kosher while others are not? Why can't you mix meat and dairy dishes? How do you turn a nonkosher kitchen into a kosher one? Do you really need multiple sets of everything -- dishes, pots, pans, and utensils? How do you keep track of what's what?

Whether you are thinking about adopting a kosher lifestyle or already have a kosher home and just want tounderstand what it is all about, Lisë Stern's How to Keep Kosher is essential reading. You will learn about the biblicaland historical origins of keeping kosher, the development of the kosher certification system, specific food preparation requirements for Shabbat, Passover, and otherholidays, and how to actually set up a kosher kitchen.

In straightforward language, drawing upon explanations from the Torah and Talmud, along with interviews with rabbis, academics, and laypeople who keep kosher, Lisë explores all aspects of Judaism's ancient dietary traditions as they are carried out in today's kitchen, with its range of modern appliances -- dishwashers, food processors, and microwave ovens. For the first time, one book explains both Conservative and Orthodox perspectives on kashrut, as well as opinions from other Jewish affiliations.

When Lisë was nine, her parents decided to make the change -- transform their home to a kosher one -- as a core part of their evolving commitment to Judaism. Because Lisë experienced the transition as a child and keeps a kosher home today, she is uniquely qualified to explain all aspects of this traditional practice.

Setting up a kosher kitchen lays the foundation for implementing the tradition; the proof is in the potato pudding. As Lisë notes, the Talmud says, "Room can always be found in one's stomach for sweet things," and the wealth of information is sweetened with more than forty recipes for Shabbat dinners and lunches as well as holiday and festival celebrations. Traditional recipes include Chicken Soup with My Mother's Ethereal Matzo Balls, Sliced Potato–Onion Kugel, and Hamantashen; new classics are Chilled Cucumber–Yogurt Soup, Rosemary Sweet Potato Kugel, Enchilada Lasagna, and Chocolate-Flecked Meringues.

Stern's How to Keep Kosher is an inclusive, user-friendly handbook filled with answers to the fundamental who, what, where, when, why, and how questions surrounding the Jewish dietary laws -- making these laws both accessible and appealing.


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For some, keeping kosher is as simple as eschewing bacon and cheeseburgers. For others, keeping kosher is a complex series of rituals that may appear intimidating to the uninitiated. Whether readers are simply curious or are considering keeping kosher themselves, Stern's resource is a good place to start. The author, a conservative Jew who started keeping kosher as a young girl, provides a clear, concise summary of Jewish dietary restrictions. This isn't a simplistic overview, but a serious and impressively researched digest that tackles basic and complex issues, and examines the historical and legal reasoning behind the laws. Stern offers both Orthodox and conservative opinions on a range of issues, from what's considered an appropriate hechsher, or symbol, to how to make a kitchen kosher, and she discusses the laws of the Sabbath and various Jewish holidays, too. Of course, many of the topics Stern covers in a paragraph or two have inspired pages and pages of Talmudic discussion, some of which rabbinic authorities still argue about today, and as Stern herself isn't such an authority, she advises readers to address further questions to their own rabbis. Her recipes for traditional Jewish foods, such as Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, as well as her suggestions for innovative kosher dishes like Enchilada Lasagna, nicely complete this enlightening book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Cookbook author and food columnist Stern, who keeps a kosher home, explains not only the daily aspects of kashruth but also how and why following the Jewish dietary laws can reinforce the spiritual experience. She begins by looking right to the biblical source, the Torah, presenting a detailed commentary on traditional interpretations of the written word regarding food and food preparation--from meat and dairy products to beverages and additives. She follows up with thorough guidelines for cleansing and equipping the modern kitchen to adhere to the religious requirements and a month-by-month review of dietary obligations and food traditions associated with holiday celebrations, including extensive sections on Shabbat and Passover. A satisfying if not extensive or unusual roundup of recipes and some very helpful further resources round out this highly practical book, which links food to the fabric of the faith. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (August 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060515007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060515003
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(14)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Reference with More Info, Less Angst! November 24, 2004
Format:Hardcover
"How to Keep Kosher" isn't just about the food, thank goodness. For many culturally assimilated Jews, kashruth (Jewish dietary laws) is an endlessly nitpicky religious construct. For the observant, it's a richly satisfying, comprehensive philosophy that gives structure and meaning to everyday life and special occasions. And for almost everybody else, kosher or not, it's an ongoing source of, shall we say, spirited discussion.

You want "faith-based"? Here it is, fresh from Leviticus. Stern combines Biblical knowledge, extensive interviews with religious authorities,and wide-ranging research in chapters that are well-organized for easy ad hoc reference. Her writing style is conversational: clear, precise, even humorous. I find myself dipping into the book at random and getting caught up in intriguing details. That resinous glaze used for candy coatings is made from a Southeast Asian insect: not kosher.

What makes the book such an engaging read is Stern's tone:

warm and authoritative, inclusive of Conservative and Orthodox perspectives, and respectful of personal choices. Oh, and there are recipes, and lists of resources for further investigation. Yes, it's an ideal Chanukah present, but "Keeping Kosher" will

also fit comfortably on the bookshelves of any cook, whether committed to keeping kosher or merely curious.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Helpful February 15, 2005
Format:Hardcover
I am finding How to Keep Kosher a valuable tool to explain and de-mystify the how tos and whys of keeping kosher. This book is a must read for a Jew by choice, or a Jew wanting to live a more kosher life.

Lise Stern explains the process of kashering a kitchen, something which may seem very over whelming. I appreciate that she acknowledges how work intensive the kashering process can be, but as she explains the reasons for keeping kosher, it becomes more achieveable and worthwhile.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Educational November 28, 2004
Format:Hardcover
How to Keep Kosher : A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Jewish Dietary Laws is very helpful for all audiences to kosher law. Many issues are discussed relating to holiday customs, not mixing milk and meat, the role of paerve foods, and kashering a kitchen. The differences between Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform views are discussed although it seems as if the Orthodox and Conservative views seem to get the most emphasis. Also some discussion on the customs of Succos, Passover, Chanukah, Shabbat, and High Holy Days exist.

Also very helpful are a list of recipies and Jewish information resources make a comprehensive glossary. Overall How to Keep Kosher : A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Jewish Dietary Laws is a helpful resource particularly to those trying to learn about Kosher law.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Kosher for Dummies"--and that's a good thing February 12, 2008
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a clear, informative, comprehensive, and flexible guide for creating a kosher life. With this in hand, you can make decisions that fit your own inclinations toward keeping kosher, to whatever extent you might wish to. The book explains all the basic elements and offers a comparison among several branches of Judaism. It is not a rabbinic text, but a practical and useful one which also recommends consultation with one's rabbi of choice. It also provides some information on the food rituals of Succot, Passover, Chanukah, Shabbat, and High Holy Days.

In the back of the book is a helpful glossary, a selection of recipes, some tied to holidays, and a number of very useful web resources. Depending on your interest and commitment, this may not be the only book on the subject you will ever want, but it's a great introduction or refresher course, and will come in very handy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Complete May 21, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I am the mother of the author. Lise has written a book about Kashrut that has something for everyone--those just starting to consider "how to keep Kosher," and those who want to adopt the practice fully. She explains the historical reasons for each aspect of Kashrut, and then adds recipes of friends and family at the end--including my own matzah ball soup recipe. This is a very user-friendly compendium that I know everyone will enjoy. The book came out several years ago, but has not been surpassed in its field. I still buy copies as hostess gifts and engagemnt presents as it serves those purposes wonderfully.

Joyce Stern
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quite good November 18, 2006
Format:Hardcover
A useful introduction to keeping kosher, and to the differences not only between Orthodox Jews and more liberal denominations, but even between stricter and more lenient Orthodox views- although as the author repeatedly points out, there is no substitute for consulting the rabbi of your choice on details.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to understand December 26, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Converting my kitchen to a kosher kitchen, conservative laws. This explained exactly how to do that in simple to follow guidelines. I asked my Rabbi about it before purchasing it, and he ordered a copy and thought it was great. It is also nice because it gives you some history as well as recipes.
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