Recent posts on Pesach got me thinking about my own kashrut practices. To my non-Jewish friends, I’m that guy that’s really Jewish. I have a mezuzah up on my front door and my bedroom door; I have thick glasses and a not insignificant nose; I work at a synagogue. And I kind of keep kosher. My apartment, for example, is kosher. I have two sets of pots and pans, I use plastic plates a lot, and I buy Hebrew Nationals. It’s not kosher though, mostly by accident.
One of my roommates used my dairy pot to cook chicken noodle soup, and you better believe I didn’t throw it away. And the silverware, there’s one set for my roommates, and one set for me, but if you think about it, there’s no way that actually works to separate meat and milchig. So my apartment’s not really strictly kosher, I try though. My roommates see me rigorously avoiding bacon and cheeseburgers and think I must be really religious. Which is funny, because I’m not.
When I’m eating out, my practice is more or less “if it’s not pork, it’s kosher”. So I won’t eat lobster or pork chops, but honestly, I know they fry with butter back in the kitchen at the diner. The thing is, I live in Allston. Vietnamese food, while delicious, isn’t hechshered. And why would I ask if there’s butter spread on the banh mi? It could be mayonnaise. It could be fish sauce. On one level, that’s something I miss about Israel—I loved keeping kosher without really thinking about it. But kosher restaurants in the US are rare, and more importantly, very expensive. I pay 3.50 for a banh mi. I’d pay 12 dollars for a sandwich from a kosher deli. Not to mention I’d have to walk a mile or so, Allston has around no kosher restaurants. It does have some good halal places though.
So maybe I semi-traditionally practice Kosher. Growing up in my parents’ house, we never had pork or shrimp in the house, and I’ve never eaten them. And I never knowingly mix milk and meat, but I don’t try to know all that much. I won’t eat pizza that has meat on it, and I won’t order say, lamb gyros because of the tzatzki sauce. But it’s more of a habit to me than a lifestyle. It’s more that I don’t eat treif. For Pesach I’m thinking just don’t eat in the apartment, since I can’t throw out other peoples’ chametz and it’s not like I eat much there but grilled cheese, Hebrew Nationals, and cereal. Not at the same time.