Friday, August 13, 2010

Demystifying kosher lingo

With all the jargon thrown around in the kitchen, catering talk can get a little confusing. Now throw in those essential need-to-know kosher catering terms and you might as well get yourself a Hebrew-English pocket dictionary! To make planning your event just a little bit easier we have provided some definitions to those important kosher catering terms that are often just on the tip of your tongue…

Glatt Kosher- Glatt is the Yiddish word meaning smooth, and refers to beef from kosher slaughtered animals whose lungs are free of adhesions. Kosher consumers, who are very stringent in accepting only high standards of kosher, demand that all meat products be "glatt." The term is often mistakenly used to differentiate food items which have higher standards of kashruth from those which have a more relaxed level of kosher certification.

Hechsher- comes from the same Hebrew root as the word kosher. This is a symbol that identifies the Rabbi or organization that certified approval of the ingredients used to make the food and the preparation process. This is the seal of the agency that periodically inspects the processing facilities to ensure kosher standards are maintained. Here at Esprit Events we are supervised by the OU (Orthodox Union) which is the world’s most widely recognized kosher certification agency.

Mashgiach- A person who supervises the kashrut status of a kosher establishment. The Mashgiach usually works as the on-site supervisor and inspector and enforces the policy decisions for what is or is not acceptably kosher. Common duties of a Mashgiach include checking lettuce and vegetables for bugs, and in general supervising the facility to make sure everything stays kosher! Our Mashgiach is on site from open to close to ensure all kashrut standards are met. The Esprit Events kitchen even has several cameras which monitor kashrut production standards.

Cholov Yisroel- refers to all dairy productions, including cheese and non-fat dry milk powder, which have been under constant Rabbinical supervision. Under Jewish law, milk is kosher only if it comes from a kosher species of animal (such as cows and sheep) and milk from a non-kosher species (such as horses, and camels) is forbidden.In the past, it was not uncommon for farmers to mix the milk of their various animals together, without their customers knowing. Cholov Yisrael milk is monitored by a Rabbi to make sure that milk’s from different animals are not being mixed together and sold as cow’s milk.

Pas Yisrael- This term defines bread or baked goods that have been baked by a Jewish person(or assisted in baking). Even the simple task of lighting the oven is considered as assisting.