Whether you and your family keep kosher, or you are expecting guests who keep kosher, knowing how to create a kosher breakfast menu can be helpful. Kosher refers to foods that people sell, make or eat in accordance with Jewish food laws. These food laws, known collectively as Kashrut, restrict many of the common breakfast items that Americans are accustomed to, including bacon, pork breakfast sausages, and omelets that contain a combination of meat and cheese.
The rules and regulations that Jewish kosher food laws outline are extensive, but there are a few rules and regulations that are especially relevant when planning a breakfast menu. For example, kosher law outlaws the consumption of cloven-hoofed mammals that do not chew their cud. Chewing cud refers to the chewing of partially-digested food that animals regurgitate. While cows have cloven hooves and chew their cud, pigs have cloven hooves but do not chew their cud. As a result, kosher law restricts all food that comes from pigs, which includes bacon and pork sausages. Another kosher rule that pertains to breakfast is the restriction of combining dairy products with meat in the same dish. This is why a person who keeps kosher cannot eat omelets that contain a combination of meat and cheese.
While some might consider the bagel to be an American creation, Jewish people from Eastern Europe brought the popular breakfast item to the U.S. during the nineteenth century. Whether toasted or un-toasted, bagels are a simple option for a kosher breakfast menu. Popular kosher toppings for bagels include cream cheese and lox, the latter of which refers to a smoked filet of salmon.
Provided that the grains used to create the batter have been inspected for bugs, American-style pancakes are a suitable kosher breakfast option. For those who have a super-strict take on what "kosher" means, tracking down some pancake batter that is labeled "kosher" is the safest option. A kosher alternative to American-style pancakes is potato pancakes, known as "latkes" in Jewish culinary lingo. Common kosher accompaniments for potato pancakes include sour cream, applesauce, scrambled eggs, and, for a sweeter flavor, powdered sugar.
If you plan on serving breakfast to guests from Israel, you can provide them with a taste from home by serving traditional kosher breakfast treats that do not commonly grace American breakfast menus. Two examples include matzo brei and shakshuka. Matzo brei consists of crumbled, softened matzo -- which is a thin, unleavened bread -- that is fried in a pan with eggs. Shakshuka, in comparison, consists of eggs that are cooked with onions, tomatoes and several spices, such as turmeric and chili powder.
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