Paper Example on Taboo Foods

Published: 2021-08-16
1179 words
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George Washington University
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In most of the traditions and religions, some foods are categorized to be fit and others unfit for eating. Jewish culture and food are broad given their events and laws governing them. They have diverse cooking traditions that have spread all over the world. In Jewish culture, food is something very distinctive. Some foods are considered a taboo to eat. A taboo is anything that is prohibited by a custom. They have laws that govern what they eat. The kosher laws set out the food that should be eaten and those that are prohibited. The rules were first recorded in the book of Leviticus in the bible (Sered, S. S., 1988). Kosher rules help the observant Jews in forming a sense of what food is a taboo to eat, and which one is normal to eat.

The Jewish food is unique because of their culture and customs. Specific food accompanies all of their events. During the Sabbath, Jews do not cook. Despite the fact that they do not put on fire, they are supposed to take hot meals. They have a range of food, kept warm overnight. Since they believe Sabbath is a rest day, cooking takes place on the day before the Sabbath. The Sabbath day is their resting day, and it is not supposed to be the day of cooking food (Sered, S. S., 1988). The type of food eaten and how is cooked is planned so that it can convenience everyone to enjoy the Sabbath. Anyone who confines in the kitchen should be allowed to prepare less luxurious food to get time for this special day of rest. The culture of observation of the Sabbath, which is very sacred to the Jews, dictates the type of food prepared (Sered, S. S., 1988). Light food is prepared overnight as they are no cooking that is allowed on that day. On Sabbath, all cooking should be avoided, and only basic light meals are allowed.

During the Passover, Jews ate the specified meals for specified reasons. Passover is a Jewish cultural event that commemorates the freedom given to them by God from slavery (Steingroot, I., 1995). During this cultural event, there are meals that people are allowed to take, and there are other meals that are prohibited. During the Passover, Israelites mark their doors with the blood of a lamb as instructed by God so that their first-born will be spared. The lamb became sacrificial during this event, and as a sign of this respect, roasted lamb is forbidden during the Passover celebrations. There is also the celebration of the Seder. This feast marks the beginning of the Passover celebrations. A Passover Seder has several types of meals. This include; Karpas which is a green vegetable which is a sign of flourishing of the Israelites. There is Charoset, which is a fruit mixture of wine and honey to represent the hard job that the Israelite slaves used to go through. HYPERLINK "" \t "_hplink" Maror, a bitter herb, to represent the hardship of slavery. Zroa , which is roasted lamb to symbolize the sacrificed lamb that the Jews sacrificed, and a hard-boiled egg to symbolize every holiday celebrated after that slavery (Steingroot, I., 1995). These meals among others were set up in Seder table.

Kosher is a word derived from Hebrew that means fit. It is a term that describes what is fit or not fit for Jews to eat which originates itself from the Hebrew Bible. Kosher foods are divided into three categories; dairy, pareve and meat (Masoudi, G. F., 1993).

Meat and all of their products fall into the meat category. For meat to be considered kosher, it must come from an animal that chews the cud and has split hooves. Cows and goats are considered kosher, and rabbits and dogs are not. Domesticated birds such as hens and ducks are kosher, and scavenger and predator birds are not kosher and should not be eaten. Specified individuals who are skilled in slaughtering does the slaughtering. There is a trained person in kosher rituals who does the slaughtering. After slaughtering, the meat is portioned, and all bloodstains are removed before it is prepared to cook. All the utensils and tools used in in the process of slaughtering and cleaning must be kosher.

Dairy products are all products that can be derived from milk or any products that contain milk. This can be milk, cheese, cream, and butter. For any dairy product to be kosher, it must have come from a kosher animal. There are distinctive rules that govern the dairy products. There is no cooking of the dairy products together with meat even if the resulting product is kosher. No consumption of milk and meat together regardless of whether it was prepared together. The equipment for producing and packaging these products must be kosher. All ingredients of the products must be kosher and should not include a by-product of meat. Jews believe that it is biblically forbidden to cook milk and meat together (Gutman, B. N., 1999).

There are foods that cannot fall into the above two categories. They are neither dairy nor meat. These are referred to as pereve which means neutral in Yiddish. These foods include; vegetables, eggs, fish fruits, tea soft drinks, and coffee. These products may not be complicated, but certain simple rules govern it. Food can lose their pereve if it is made from equipment used in processing meat and dairy products or if there are other products added to it. Cookies should not be processed with meat unless it is approved to be pereve.In fruits and vegetables, it is must to be inspected to ascertain the presence of any insects, which may not be kosher. Eggs should be clean from any bloodstains, which can make it not to be kosher. Also, the eggs found inside the hen during the slaughter are considered part of the body, and it falls into the category of meat.

Many creatures cannot fall into the category of being kosher. Majority of the seafood apart from the kosher fish are not supposed to be eaten. Insects, rodents and wild animals are not considered kosher and should not be eaten. Wine also has the rules that govern its production for it to be kosher. All the ingredients in the production of wine should be kosher, and a Torah-observant Jews should carry out the production. There are also special and unique kosher laws. During the Passover, there were no leavened products allowed even if they are kosher and any food that was leavened was not eaten during the entire festival.


Steingroot, I. (1995). Keeping Passover: Everything You Need to Know to Bring the Ancient Tradition to Life and Create Yo. Harper Collins.

Sered, S. S. (1988). Food and holiness: cooking as a sacred act among Middle-Eastern Jewish women. Anthropological Quarterly, 129-139.

Masoudi, G. F. (1993). Kosher food regulation and the religion clauses of the first amendment. The University of Chicago Law Review, 60(2), 667-696.

Gutman, B. N. (1999). Ethical eating: applying the kosher food regulatory regime to organic food. The Yale Law Journal, 108(8), 2351-2384.



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