Kosher USA : How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
LJ Reviews 2016 April #1
In a work that is equal parts history, memoir, and cultural analysis, Horowitz (Putting Meat on the American Table) traces the dramatic rise of kosher food products, specifically how they made their way into American food culture and were later popularized in the mass market of consumer products. The reconciliation between ancient Jewish religious principles and modern kosher standards is filled with interesting twists and turns. Popular brands such Coca-Cola and Jell-O posed unique challenges for modern Jewish households seeking kosher products, and the author's rabbinic back-and-forth makes for a fascinating look at the search for accommodation within the "letter of the law." The author traces the many Kosher products that have become increasingly popular with non-Jews and explains that the market for kosher meat has been shrinking because of the increasingly prohibitive costs associated with production along with ethical concerns regarding the slaughtering process. VERDICT A valued addition to a conversation that spans several interests, including history, business, and religion.—Herbert E. Shapiro, Lifelong Learning Soc., Florida Atlantic Univ., Boca Raton[Page 108]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2016 January #3
Horowitz's engrossing, in-depth book explores how modern food manufacturers get their food labeled as kosher, which effectively allows observant Jews (and the growing number of shoppers distrustful of the quality of their nonkosher food) to eat it. He touches on themes of tradition, identity, and assimilation. With the greater reliance on mechanization in the 20th century, determining whether foods and drinks were kosher met a host of new challenges. Coca Cola, previously deemed kosher, was an early litmus test for the Jewish community when concerns arose in the 1930s about whether it was kosher for Passover, which requires a stricter standard. The old way of determining the matter (rabbinical conference) had to give way to the importance of scientific knowledge of the chemical processing utilized to manufacture Coke and the value of that data in reaching accurate, updated conclusions. Even more debates raged about Jell-O, because the key ingredient of gelatin, derived from animal bones, may not be kosher. These decades-long arguments took place between Orthodox and Conservative Jews, revealing deeper rifts and decidedly different ideas about what being Jewish meant to each. Although the subject matter might seem bizarre or needlessly complicated to outsiders, Horowitz provides a fascinating window into a rarefied world. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC