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Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
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Columbia University Press 2016
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Kosher USA follows the fascinating journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus.

Kosher USA is filled with big personalities, rare archival finds, and surprising influences: the Atlanta rabbi Tobias Geffen, who made Coke kosher; the lay chemist and kosher-certification pioneer Abraham Goldstein; the kosher-meat magnate Harry Kassel; and the animal-rights advocate Temple Grandin, a strong supporter of shechita, or Jewish slaughtering practice. By exploring the complex encounter between ancient religious principles and modern industrial methods, Kosher USA adds a significant chapter to the story of Judaism's interaction with non-Jewish cultures and the history of modern Jewish American life as well as American foodways.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/12/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780231540933
ASIN:
B01CIO1A1I
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Roger Horowitz. (2016). Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food. Columbia University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Roger Horowitz. 2016. Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food. Columbia University Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Roger Horowitz, Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food. Columbia University Press, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Roger Horowitz. Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food. Columbia University Press, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Roger Horowitz is a food historian and director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library. He is the author of Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation and Negro and White, Unite and Fight: A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930–1990.

      • name: Roger Horowitz
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Kosher USA
fullDescription

Kosher USA follows the fascinating journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus.

Kosher USA is filled with big personalities, rare archival finds, and surprising influences: the Atlanta rabbi Tobias Geffen, who made Coke kosher; the lay chemist and kosher-certification pioneer Abraham Goldstein; the kosher-meat magnate Harry Kassel; and the animal-rights advocate Temple Grandin, a strong supporter of shechita, or Jewish slaughtering practice. By exploring the complex encounter between ancient religious principles and modern industrial methods, Kosher USA adds a significant chapter to the story of Judaism's interaction with non-Jewish cultures and the history of modern Jewish American life as well as American foodways.

reviews
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        January 18, 2016
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2016
        In this informative history, the author shows how Jewish dietary laws challenge food producers and consumers. Food historian Horowitz (Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation, 2005, etc.), director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at Delaware's Hagley Museum and Library, grew up in a family with varying relationships to kosher food. His Orthodox Jewish grandmother observed strictly; his maternal grandfather, a Conservative Jew, was less rigid; his mother sometimes bought cheaper cuts of nonkosher meat in local supermarkets. For Horowitz, his family's behavior raised a question "about religion and modernity. How could a set of practices and beliefs rooted in antiquity persist, and in some ways flourish, but at the same time also struggle to survive" in contemporary times? That struggle included the complicated, sometimes-controversial process of reformulating iconic American products to meet kosher standards. Coke, for example, used alcohol from grain in the manufacturing process, making it unsuitable for consumption at Passover, when leavened bread is prohibited. Changing the recipe to get alcohol from fermented molasses solved that problem. But Jell-O posed another: gelatin was derived from nonkosher animal bones. After much debate, a Lithuanian rabbinical scholar rang in: "When a forbidden substance is reduced to dust," he said, such as bones to gelatin, "it ceases to be prohibited by Jewish law." Although some kosher products are popular with non-Jews--sweet Manischewitz wine has broader appeal, and prisons find kosher food suitable for its Muslim inmates--the market for meat has been diminishing, partly because of cost, partly because of opposition to the ritual slaughtering process, in which cattle are hoisted by their hind legs, their throats cut while they are conscious. The author considers this and other ethical issues--responsibility to the environment, workers' health, and fair pay--involved in meat koshering. A thoughtful look at the convergence of faith, ethnicity, and the business of food.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from April 1, 2016

        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

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

Kosher USA follows the fascinating and surprising journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. Drawing on episodes from the lives of the author's own family, it traces how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside of the American culinary consensus.
With stories about the key figures in this process, Kosher USA presents a tale of great accomplishments and stubborn limitations. Drawing on a range of sources, Roger Horowitz's history is filled with big personalities, rare archival finds, and surprising...

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How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
publisher
Columbia University Press
tableOfContents

Prologue: Uncle Stu's Question
1. My Family's Sturgeon
2. Kosher Coke, Kosher Science
3. The Great Jell-O Controversy
4. Who Says It's Kosher?
5. Industrial Kashrus
6. Man-O-Manischewitz
7. Harry Kassel's Meat
8. Shechita
Conclusion: Kosher Ethics/Ethical Kosher?
Epilogue: Remembering, Discovering, Thanking
Notes
Index