Say hello to Cigall Goldman, her site and blog mazelmoments.com is a one stop shop if you are looking to plan any type of jewish event. I met Cigall while at Alt Summit a few months ago and asked if she would share some of her tips for planning a dinner with kosher guests. I have a few friends who keep kosher and have no idea how to make sure they are take care of so figured I wasn’t alone. Take it away Cigall!
Whether you’re planning a wedding, party, or simply entertaining guests at your home, you may find yourself hosting kosher guests. Keeping kosher is more than just dietary restrictions, but a lifestyle deep rooted in tradition and value. If you have kosher guests attending your next event, here are some great ways to serve them well!
What Does It Mean?
Simply put, keeping kosher means not mixing dairy and meat, and not eating shellfish or pig products. If one follows the kashrut (kosher law) strictly, it is not just about the type of food or animal being served. It’s also about where it comes from, how it was killed and where it was prepared (for example – the pots, pans, dishes, silverware and kitchen must be kosher).
Many Jewish guests who keep kosher may end up requesting vegetarian meals at events if a strict kosher option can’t be provided. Food that does not contain any dairy or meat eliminates the concern for mixing the two. These foods are referred to as pareve. Vegetables, fruit, and most fish are pareve.
If you are serving meat, and your guests observe the rule of not eating dairy products for 3 hours after eating meat, be sure that the cake and desserts contain no milk or dairy products. The good news is that today’s Kosher Pareve cakes and desserts are scrumptious and make any dessert table look appetizing and inviting.
What To Do?
If you are having kosher guests either at your home or event, speak to them directly to find out to what degree they follow kosher law. While you’re at it, find out what they like and dislike so you can plan a menu they’re sure to love. Your options include:
- Kosher Catering – Kosher Catering is much more than the knishes, stuffed cabbage and beef brisket of yesteryear! Today’s kosher caterers offer many exotic kosher ethnic dishes as well as trendy food presentations. You can find organic kosher caterers also! Find a kosher caterer using mazelmoments’ directory.
If you are hosting an event with Jewish guests and you don’t want your entire menu to be kosher, you can always offer kosher options:
- Individual Plates – You can order individual plates from a kosher caterer. These will come with their own china or serving dishes.
- Buffet – In general, a buffet is a great way to feed a crowd, and you can then ensure the kosher food remains separate from the non-kosher selections. Be sure to have brand new service wear for kosher guests, even if it is disposable.
If buying kosher products, there are many symbols that will help you determine what qualifies as kosher. Many standard supermarkets now have kosher aisles or sections where all these products are together, though there may be some items scattered elsewhere in the store. These are the symbols to look for:
The most common Kosher symbol is a letter “U” in a circle. This stands for Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, an organization that supervises the production of kosher foods.
Another one is the letter “K” in a circle, which stands for The Organized Kashrus Libraries. The two symbols are the most commonly seen, though there are many others, either for certain types of food (i.e.: dairy) or regional symbols representing local organizations.
We hope that these tips help guide you as you welcome kosher guests to your special event.
Cigall Goldman is the founder of Mazelmoments.com, the award-winning website that makes it easy and fun to plan any Jewish-inspired event including a wedding, bar & bat mitzvah or baby celebration. At mazelmoments, find your perfect venue, photographer, décor, invitations, music & entertainment and more! The mazelmoments blog keeps you up to date on the latest trends, and shares expert advice to help you create an unforgettable celebration!
image via: Celebrations Glatt Kosher Catering