Treif Steak Knives For The Hubby
06/23/2010 - 12:39

 I grew up in an uber-secular home where pork chops and shrimp were served regularly, but for a brief period I toyed with the idea of keeping a kosher kitchen.

That fell by the wayside. Now the only dietary law I uphold in the house is that no shellfish can be cooked on Shabbat. (Send on the outraged comments, I’m ready for them!)

You would think, considering that our family is mostly vegetarian, a kosher kitchen wouldn’t be all that challenging. However, while my lapsed Catholic hubby eschews fish and mammals and eats only kosher cheese (or noncertified cheese made from microbial rennet), the one living creature he does indulge in is shellfish. Or at least a few types of shellfish — mussels, clams and scallops — that are fished sustainably, have small brains and somehow meet his admittedly idiosyncratic ethical standards.

Frankly, it’s not a battle I’ve been particularly motivated to take on. I am a pick-and-choose kind of Jew and find kashrut to be not only inconvenient and expensive, but one of the least compelling aspects of Jewish tradition. I understand much of the arguments in its favor — that it builds community, that it makes every aspect of life holy, that it imposes discipline, that it’s a way of showing respect for God — and, don’t tell my husband, but I may revisit the issue one day. But for now, I’d rather study or go to services or do a zillion other Jew-y things before kashering the kitchen. Again, cue the disapproving comments.

This week one of my favorite bloggers, Amy Meltzer aka Homeshuling, has a nice post about buying steak knives for her non-Jewish husband’s treif (non-kosher) meat.

Unlike me, Amy and her two daughters keep kosher. But her husband does not, and while the kitchen, at Amy’s insistence, is officially kosher, they keep a separate grill and a few non-kosher utensils (from the local dollar store) for him.

Rather than read my paraphrasing of this beautifully written post, ruining it in the way that explaining a joke tends to ruin the joke, just go and check it out for yourself!

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Thanks, Julie!
Interesting !! I, too, keep her husband's vegetarian "idiosyncratic ethical standards", i.e. no meat or fish. But I do eat mussels, clams and scallops. The rational is that they are so low on the scale of sentiency, without a central nervous system, that they are practically plants. Her husband may like this justification for his ethical choices.