Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The OS has been reinstalled, and my computer is happy.

I know that everyone's all wrapped up in the primaries, but I've promised myself not to get into the habit of blogging about politics. Instead, back to the subjects of Judaism and food.

Lawrence writes, "something really has to be done about the kashrut culture in this country. Some things are just kosher, even if nobody puts a hekhsher on them. The moment we gain the ability to engineer a banana that grows brown spots in the shape of an O-U as it ripens, we'll probably see the end of ordinary fruit in frum households."

While my sympathies are with him, I think it's worth noting that the trend toward ever-increasing stringency existed in Judaism at least as early as the Second Temple period. And have you read Leviticus? We have been glorifying OCD since ancient times.

As much as it hurts, I will venture one further defense of kashrut standards in the U.S.: If you think we're bad, you should visit our brethren up north. The Montreal Vaad Hair is deeply concerned by the prevalence of insects and worms in modern-day vegetables:

"Due to this serious problem and the great effort required to check them properly, only certain vegetables are permitted for use in MK establishments. Others have restrictions and can only be used after the vigorous cleaning and checking procedures set forth below. . . Should you wish to use these products in your private home, please consult your Rabbi." (Your rabbi may recommend a fluorescent light box of the variety used by Mrs. Maimonedes.)

Certain questions aren't worth asking your rabbi. Don't even think about eating artichoke hearts, for example: "Heart of Artichoke may not be used at all even with Hashgacha. This applies to fresh, frozen or canned."

And, I hope you like stems: "Fresh Asparagus may only be used if the whole floret is cut off, the sides peeled and all brads have been removed. . . Only fresh broccoli stems may be used and must be washed with a brush under running water."

Are you a fan of berries? Sorry to break it to you, but raspberries and blackberries are completely off-limits; so are certain varieties of blueberry. Fresh herbs? Parsley, dill, and oregano are trayf, but basil may be eaten if soaked in detergent (yum). Brussels sprouts are forbidden, as are the green portions of scallions and leeks. Spinach and most other types of lettuce are, of course, a problem, but you will be happy to learn that Boston and iceberg are acceptable if properly inspected.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that any God-fearing Jews among you visit the Solgar website immediately and purchase some Kof-K certified vitamins. I wouldn't want you to get scurvy.

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