Apparently, airlines (at least Austrian Airlines) are thoughtful enough (or afraid enough of Jewish wrath) to allow their passengers the option of a Kosher meal.
En route to Israel, I had the good fortune of having been placed on the list of lucky kosher meal recipients. In lieu of the regular lazy excuse for nourishment planes offer I was presented with “sautéed eggplant” (quotes because I have no idea what it really was), stale bread, soggy chicken, some dip, and a squishy cake object. Staring at the only food I would likely see for at least another twelve hours and wondering where to begin, I found myself envious of the chicken parmesan pasta being served up to the other passengers (mediocre as it may be). Perhaps some pretzels are available? Not that I have anything against kosher eats (except cheeseless burgers), but on a plane some things are just not desirable (like snakes).
So what is kosher food exactly? Kosher foods are basically all dishes adhering to the ancient and arbitrary rules set forth in the Jewish dietary laws (kashrut). What are these laws? Well, the most noteworthy are as follows:
- No mixing of meat and diary
- Seafood must have fins and scales (no shellfish)
- Animals must have split hooves and chew their cud (no pork products)
- Poultry cannot be from a predatory bird or a scavenger (no eagles!)
- Animals must be ritually slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law (no hunting)
- No wine or grape juice not made under Jewish supervision (no Two Buck Chuck)
Not too bad, right? But what you might not realize is that this means: no lobster, no bacon, no breakfast burritos, no pepperoni pizza (no meat toppings at all), no spicy scallop rolls, no Napa Valley wine tours, no chili cheese dogs, and no cheeseburgers. Is this the kind of world you want to live in?
Many of the restaurants in Israel (including chain restaurants like McDonald’s) are kosher, but you may not even find yourself noticing your restricted dietary options. Alas, fear not – plenty of non-kosher options exist, and Israel’s larger cities offer up everything from cheeseburger joints to bacon strips.