From Publishers Weekly
In this informative and revealing primer on kosher food, practice, business, and history, Fishkoff delves into the ins and outs of why the kosher industry continues to grow at an astounding rate despite the small number of observant Jews who actually require kosher-certified food. Having spent years researching and following mashgichim (Orthodox Jews who supervise the production of kosher food and ingredients around the world), Fishkoff has an impressive arsenal of firsthand stories and inside information to keep the narrative moving. The volume provides in-depth chapters on what kosher means, what mashgichim do, the growth of the kosher supermarket, kosher winemaking, and going kosher globally, among other related topics. With an obvious zeal for what she writes, Fishkoff will engage readers with both the religious and professional facets of this complex and misunderstood standard as she explains why so many people prefer kosher cuisine despite its higher costs. (Oct. 12) (c)
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Why is kosher food so popular in the U.S.? Eighty-five percent of the 11.2 million Americans who buy it are not Jewish. Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, vegetarians, and people with food allergies are among those who are willing to pay more for food that is certified kosher. Fishkoff traveled all over the U.S. and to Shanghai to learn about the consumption and production of kosher food, interviewing food manufacturers, rabbis who oversee the production and service of food, ritual slaughterers, wine makers, and restaurant owners. She also examines the eco-kosher movement and the recent scandal at a kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa, which made Conservative and Orthodox Jews demand higher ethical and environmental values for kosher food production. This informative and entertaining look at the state of Jewish dietary practice in the U.S. will be enjoyed by those interested in food, religion, and/or business. --Barbara Bibel