Need menu help for Kosher house guests...

montalvoJuly 21, 2007

My husband graciously invited his NYC stockbroker to spend the night with us while the stockbroker's vacationing in California...along with his wife and six children! Yes, my first thought was divorce but I ultimately decided to tough it out. A further complication is that they're Jewish (not Orthodox) and we're not, so in preparing dinner and breakfast, I need to make some adjustments. I'm a pretty experienced cook but have never had to contend with Kosher restrictions. Can any of you offer some help? I know bacon is off limits but what other foods are taboo?

I'm Hispanic so I thought it might be fun to prepare a Mexican dinner in the spirit of a California visit. Are cheeses a problem? As far as breakfast is concerned, I have a great and easy recipe for French toast. Are coffee and orange juice safe choices? Any guidance would be appreciated.

Carol (AKA 'Naive California Gentile')

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OMG...I vote for the divorce!

This link may help...but be careful even the info. in it may not be 100% accurate/correct. I've seen articles on some subjects that were just wrong. So check a few sorces or call the wife ... maybe you could order in????

Here is a link that might be useful: Kosher

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 10:46PM
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Thanks for the help, Carla. At this point, I'm determined to prevail on this. I've tentatively put together a menu as follows:

Salsa and corn chips
Fajitas (grilled strip steak, bell peppers, avocado, onion and tomato, wrapped in a tortilla)
Mexican rice
Refried beans (without cheese)
Wine and soft drinks

French toast topped with strawberries and maple syrup
Orange juice, milk and coffee

I saw Kosher tortillas advertised somewhere. Is that something I should worry about? Anything else look questionable?


    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 11:36PM
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Many of our Jewish friends do not keep Kosher kitchens. And I have had many Jewish friends enjoy bacon and ham --- even though other alternatives were available.

Your menu looks fine to me. In fact, delicious. You should be fine.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 2:08PM
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Many of my friends are Jewish, but not Kosher/Orthodox and they will eat anything. I think the first step would be to talk to the family that is coming to visit and just ask them if they have any dietary restrictions. Then you'll know flat out. I think your menu sounds lovely.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 4:31PM
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The others are correct; not all Jews keep kosher, and even those that do vary in degrees of strictness anyway. For example, some would eat any tortilla or any cheese; some would only eat packaged foods that had a kosher certification.

If they accepted your invitation, you can be confident that they are not the strictest even if they do keep kosher.

You are probably safest simply avoiding any meat products. People who keep kosher are usually more relaxed about dairy products than meat. For example, your fajita menu would be okay - IF you have kosher meat, not meat from the supermarket, and IF they don't care that you aren't using kosher utensils and dishes. But I think that most people who do keep kosher but who would accept an invitation to stay in someone's home would probably eat anything vegetarian or fish (but only kosher fish like tuna, sole, salmon, trout, etc. -- no shellfish, catfish, or scale-less fish like eels and squid).

The only way to know is to ask, though. If you feel uncomfortable asking about kashrut, you can just ask if there are any food restrictions (with that many people, there are bound to be allergies, too!).

Personally, I think your challenge is not food, but SIX KIDS! You are really nice to do this.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:50PM
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