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Bee

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PostSubject: are mushroom kashrut?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:16 pm

It's a fungus right can we eat them?
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:34 pm

You mean, are mushrooms kosher. Yes, but check for bugs. Also, if you say blessings the blessing for mushrooms isn't the same as vegetables that come out of the ground. You can use the "generic blessing" for foods.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:59 pm

So they are kosher? I had stopped eating them and checked veggie burgers and bought ones without it thinking it can't possibly be ok to eat because they grow from decay. I have been trying to screen everything I buy and will not eat if in doubt. Bugs? Are they tiny? How do you find them or will they come out if I soak them? Great I didn't know they had bugs, how do vegans live? I stopped eating meats and occasionally eat turkey or chicken. I won't eat organic for fear of bugs...I like pesticides...no juicy bugs for me.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:35 pm

Do the veggie burgers have a hechsher (kosher symbol)? If that's the case you already know they are fine so long as it's a reputable company (like the circle with a U inside). To check for bugs just wash the mushrooms, soak them if you'd like and then cut them. Personally I eat about 90% organic and I don't fear bugs.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:05 am

Bee,

This (small) book is good for learning the basic ideas behind Jewish dietary laws from the spiritual aspects to the basic practical rules of implementation and what things can and can't be eaten (such as a list of which fish are kosher) [link is to the Google books that will let you read most, but not all of it online]:
"The Jewish Dietary Laws" by Samuel H. Dresner, Seymour Siegel, David M. Pollock"

There are uncountable additional stringencies required in super-strictly-observant communities, but you shouldn't worry about those until you get the basics down. There are also many ideas about the best way to incrementally adopt kosher dietary laws. Some rules are more important than others, so you should follow those first. Some rules like not eating pork or shrimp are from the Torah; others, like keeping separate cookware and dishes are Rabbinic.

Here's a website (written by a convert Very Happy ) I just found describing a very reasonable path for going kosher over a period of one to two years:
Going Kosher
If you try to do it too fast, you will end up making a lot of mistakes (which can be costly if you have to throw out dishes or utensils that can't be kashers), and it will become burdensome and frustrating. The "Kosher in 30 days" type of books are designed for people who know all the rules and just haven't implemented them, not people new to the basic concepts.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:44 am

Some people may find this gross but I have utilized thrift stores for buying more dishes in order to have separate sets. I don't work so it didn't seem to fair to spend a tremendous amount of money replacing or buying new. Also, I am not yet ready to kasher everything so I don't want to spend money on a new set of pots, for example. I can get a pot at the local thrift shop for $3 and I was able to buy over twenty pieces of dishes for $13. It's just an option if you are at the in between phase where you have separate dishes for everything but perhaps you aren't ready to go ahead and kasher the entire kitchen and all your dishes. You'll have enough for keeping everything separate while not spending too much money on things you may not be able to keep. Of course, this only works so long as it doesn't gross you out.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:55 am

I don't think that used dishes from thrift stores are "gross" although if they are ceramic they are not kosher. If they are clean, they are clean. A pot with burnt on residue that could not be scrubbed off would be "gross", but I'm sure the ones you buy are clean.

However, there is an alternative that is only slightly more expensive and because you can keep them after going to a strictly kosher kitchen, it is cheaper in the long run than getting stuff you will have to stop using later: buy cheap glass dishes.

I think I got my first set of glass dishes for about $20 for a 16 piece set for 4. I used the dishes for hosting observant friends before our whole kitchen was made strictly kosher. Here are glass dishes for only 6 for $10:
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=131137

The great thing about glass is that they can't really become treif. No matter what food is put on them, they are kosher after they are washed. Or if you want to be really sure, say to make the kosher for Passover, you can either soak for three days changing the water every 24 hours, or kasher by boiling (modern glass dishes will stand up to this because they are tempered glass).

So if you get glass dishes and use them with food that was not cooked in kosher pots for example, or make a mistake and eat meat on them when they were designated for dairy, you just have to wash them and they are kosher again. (Technically one could use one set of glass and alternate whether you use them for dairy or meat, but no Jews who care about kashrut think this is OK.)
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:10 am

Debbie B. wrote:

However, there is an alternative that is only slightly more expensive and because you can keep them after going to a strictly kosher kitchen, it is cheaper in the long run than getting stuff you will have to stop using later: buy cheap glass dishes.

Everything I've bought so far is glass. Not the small pan but it's $3. No big deal to get rid of it later. But yes, when I can I do get glass because I know I will be able to keep it. I still need more bowls. I looked tonight but didn't find anything I liked well enough to buy it new. Glass is best from a health standpoint too, in my opinion Wink and Smile




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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:25 am

Well, if the dishes are glass, then I don't think it is "gross" at all. I often use a small glass plate that is in the department office kitchen to cover the glass bowl that I use to microwave leftovers at work. I don't care that I don't know whose it is (probably some staff member who is long gone) or what kind of treif food may have been placed on it in the past. It's kosher by me.

Sometimes the "Import" stores have cheap glass dishware. I found beautiful cobalt blue bowls in the large size I needed and which matched my blue glass dishes perfectly at some 'Pier X" type of store. They were feature in a sale flyer that came in the mail. I had to go to two stores to find a store with them in stock and then I bought all 13 that they had. I really just wanted 12, but figured that then I would still have a dozen if one broke. I think they cost $3 each.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:48 am

Thanks, its very difficult especially not growing up in a Jewish community or family. My husband and I feel we are heading down the orthodox path and are practicing first separating foods with animal casings, pork or beef products, dairy etc. At restaurants we Google first their menu so we know what we can eat. I have not learned what symbols mean what yet. It's so confusing at times and in our town there is not a Jewish community, much less kosher food. It takes me hours to shop for food because I scan ingredients on items. My list of foods we can eat is shrinking, I learned they trick you with chicken or turkey sausages because they have pork or beef casings and I now won't eat eggs with turkey sausages either because all I keep thinking is eggs in its relatives mother and it freaks me out. My husband finished one of many tractates but most recent is about food laws. I'm not ready. I'm just learning the basics and dealing with no pork or cheeseburgers for the last 3 months. Can I have goat cheese on a burger? This is so hard, I looked up fries at McDonald's and it has beef and dairy as ingredients....my life is so over!
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:35 pm

It shouldn't take you hours to shop. What kinds of things do you eat? Fresh foods are not an issue. Eggs should generally be fine. You should be able to find dairy with the U inside a circle. Meat and cheese is more complicated and you need a store that sells kosher food or you'd have to order online and have it shipped.


Bee wrote:
and I now won't eat eggs with turkey sausages either because all I keep thinking is eggs in its relatives mother and it freaks me out.

Well unless you eat turkey eggs then they aren't relatives. Wink and Smile


Bee wrote:
Can I have goat cheese on a burger?

As far as kashrut is concerned? No. You cannot.

Quote :
This is so hard, I looked up fries at McDonald's and it has beef and dairy as ingredients....my life is so over!

Mcdonalds is terrible anyway. Consider it encouragement to quit eating their junk. You life won't be over. However, after you convert with an Orthodox Rabbi you probably won't be able to eat out anymore. You've said you have a very small Jewish community so I am assuming that means no kosher restaurants?

I eat at a few places but that's just been my decision since my husband isn't into kashrut in the least. I also eat gluten free so I'm very very limited. However, I've managed to find a few things I can do like baked potatoes.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:17 pm

Bee, if by "tractates" you mean that your husband is reading English translations of the Talmud, I'd like to suggest that he'd be much better off starting with intro to Judaism books. Talmud is not a good place to start and you can easily misinterpret what is written. You could end up believing in stringencies that no Jews follow (like avoiding eating chicken and eggs) or miss some of what is now considered normative and basic. Trust me: you need to start out with books on the basics. Do not try to figure out Jewish observance rules directly from the Torah (you won't get the rabbinic prohibition of chicken with dairy from the Torah, for example) or from non-intro sources like Talmud translations. Try reading the little book I mentioned above. It's really a good way to start.

The most fundamental rule: all foods fall into one of four categories: dairy, meat, pareve, treif (non-kosher, such as pork or shrimp). You can't mix any dairy with any meat, so goat milk and beef is still a forbidden combination. A pareve food like eggs can be eaten with either dairy or meat (so matzoh balls with made with eggs are fine in chicken soup). The one exception for very strict observance is that although fish is pareve, some strictly observant Jews do not eat fish on the same plate or mixed with meat. Here is a good summary webpage on Kashrut:
Judaism 101: Kashrut
In fact, the whole Judaism 101 website is an excellent guide to all kinds of topics in Judaism.


The only way to have a kosher meat "cheeseburger" is to use non-dairy imitation "cheese"---usually made of soy and tasting more like plastic than food IMHO! If you have such a craving, I suggest a veggie burger with cheese instead.

When it comes to meat sausages, you basically need to stick with ones that are strictly kosher and carry a hechsher (kosher certification mark) since many will use pork casings. If you think you'll eventually want to keep strictly kosher, you might as well get used to eating far fewer processed and pre-prepared foods. You also need to become familiar with the most common kosher certification symbols: "OU" (U inside a circle), circle or triangle K (K inside a circle or triangle---although very observant and Sephardic Jews don't trust triangle K's meat because it is not "Glatt"), plus perhaps the local ones like the cRc (common around the Chicago area)---there is a Texas hechsher with a state outline and a heart. Those symbols are on lots of standard foods like most pasta brands, a number of cereals and cookies, tuna….
Here is a webpage showing many of the recognized kosher symbols:
KosherQuest: kosher symbols
Note that a plain K is not trade-marked and is on some products that are actually rabbinically-supervised (e.g. Crispix cereal), but also on other products that simply have kosher ingredients and the producer just slaps the K on the package. Also, you have to be careful because often only some products in a brand are kosher---for example, some of the Barilla pasta sauces are kosher and some are not. There are some common processed foods with a hechsher, though like several national brands of frozen fish sticks and fish fillets. If you see a hechsher on a product, you don't have to read all the ingredients.

Gradually, you'll learn which products are kosher and you won't have to spend as much time looking at labels. Even so, I still have to check labels all the time for items that are new or I haven't bought before, even though I already know the status of most of the foods I usually buy. That's the great thing about my local rabbinically-supervised supermarket---no label-checking (except for noting if the product are in the well-marked Kitniyot sections during Pesach, but that's a whole other issue…)

People with food allergies and vegetarians have to do the same kind of label-checking. Actually, eating vegetarian is the easiest way to keep automatically kosher. Observant Jews who live in areas without a good kosher meat source often end up essentially eating pescatarian (vegetarian + fish).


Last edited by Debbie B. on Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:48 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added webpages)
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:32 pm

Debbie B. wrote:
Bee, if by "tractates" you mean that your husband is reading English translations of the Talmud, I'd like to suggest that he'd be much better off starting with intro to Judaism books. Talmud is not a good place to start and you can easily misinterpret what is written.

I was coming back to say something similar. It sounds as if Bee's husband is putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. You need to start with the basics. It'll be much easier and you won't get overwhelmed with information.

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:28 am

I know it seems like that, but if you know us you would not be surprised. I understand your concern but in his case he is more likely to run before he learns how to walk. He has ready written three journals and just bought him more for his notes. He reads 5 tractates at a time, plus his research studies, and just started his tutorials to learn how to say all the prayers in Hebrew to properly cant them, Davens morning and night, we have Talmudic discussions almost everyday and on his leisure loves to help me on my studies of the Tanach. Thats our life basically and we enjoy it. During our Sunday drive for a few hours we discussed Rambam, sage stories and how we are grateful to be on this path. What I love about my hubby is that he teaches me on certain things and other stuff I learn on my own. Then we share our thoughts but I love when we have Talmudic debates! Sorry I am off topic, but two things I am having trouble with is kosher foods and the other will be in the future regarding head coverings. I don't have a problem keeping meats apart from dairy and we don't eat pork anyways..its where to buy kosher food and how to cook kosher. I have nut allergies and cannot stomach fish. I can barely cook as it is!
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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:41 am

But properly interpreting Talmud requires a knowledge of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and Mishnaic Hebrew (which is different from either Biblical or Modern Hebrew) and a lot of background about many standard assumptions and conventions and often knowledge of the history of the time. You need the background knowledge of normative Jewish belief and observance in order to understand Talmud correctly---you can't use Talmud to get the basics. Especially with Kashrut. The rabbis of the Talmud had many rather strange ideas about food which are rather at odds with modern scientific knowledge. As an example of this, check out page 376 of Klein's Conservative guide to Jewish practice:
Guide to Jewish Religious Practice
See all the weird Hebrew terminology? And that is only an intermediate level discussion of kashrut.

Lots of reading and studying is great, but if you are doing it with the intention of becoming an observant Jew rather than simply for personal interest irrespective of Judaism as practiced by Jews, then you need to study the things in the right context. You really should find a rabbi to work with. Your study needs to be guided.

There are many ways that you could do things that are fundamentally wrong from a Jewish perspective if you try to figure out this stuff on your own. Jews are all supposed to be constantly studying to learn more whatever their level of Jewish knowledge, BUT the understanding and interpretation of the Law ("Halacha") and aspects of observance are determined by rabbis and other deeply knowledgable scholars and it depends on a history going back for many centuries.

Back to Kashrut: start with the small book I gave the link to or other basic book on Kashrut such as this one by Lise Stern:
How to Keep Kosher
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: are mushroom kashrut?   Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:19 am

I completely agree with Debbie. Your husband may be happy to dive right in but it can cause serious issues with your observance or conversion in the future.
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