This was one issue I thought I had some personal closure on. I first wrote my own statement on eco-kosher to follow around four or five years ago. I was sure that traditional kashrus held no pull for me and that honoring the spirit of it was enough. Considering I have an interfaith marriage and a husband who cures his own bacon and makes bacon vodka, it was really for the best that traditional kosher held no allure.
Right. So. The voices in my head just mean I’m crazy right?
Nope. See, when you talk to G!(d)dess(s)(es) and take the time to listen — G!(d)dess(s)(es) talks back. And my friend and mentor Angela Raincatcher has always taught me that you never bargain with G!(d)dess(s)(es) because s/t/he/y only bargain up.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s getting clear messages that explore a more traditional kosher path is important for spiritual growth and she’s got hams curing in her fridge that aren’t hers?
No, really, I’m asking!
I started thinking about the people who keep a kosher home, but will get their noms on some lobster anywhere else. I always thought it was kind of hypocritical, but my recent explorations have given me a new perspective. I think it’s about where you feel like you have control over your food. I still think it’s kind of hypocritical because you do have some control over the food you eat when you are out and about.
In my case, I realized that I don’t have total control over the food in my home — but there were options. I can not cook treif or buy treif. If my husband does, well, he does. If he serves it to me, I’ll eat it and enjoy it, but I won’t ask for it or suggest it. When I’m out and about, I can just not eat treif. I do have control over that. This sounded so simple and was working quite well until we went to the Eastern Shore this weekend and I was confronted with the so yummy crab cakes, steamed crabs, and crab dripping with butter…
Sorry — lost my train of thought there for a second. See, I grew up in Massachusetts and my people ate shellfish. No, we elevated it to an art — we didn’t just eat it. What my sister and I can do to a lobster, well it deserves to be an Olympic sport at least. I grew up digging for clams and picking up mussels off the beach. My uncle even used to set a few of his own lobster traps. Seafood, especially yummy, yummy shellfish kind of defines my family.
Now back to the crab restaurant. I realized that this was a defining moment for me in this exploration. Would I eat it or not. There really wasn’t much else on the menu, but there was another option – and I chose it. I opted for the broiled rockfish, without the optional crab stuffing. It was fine, but not as yummy as steamed crab.
I don’t know where this experiment with more traditional kashrut is going. I know that for now I feel called to not eat pork, shellfish, other traditionally non-kosher animals or mix meat with milk from the same animal whenever I have control over my food. I also know there will be exceptions and I will not feel guilty about them. There will be moments when it is wholly appropriate to eat these foods and enjoy them, and I’m the only one who knows when those moments are right for me. I also know that this new layer will not remove my long-standing commitment to eco-kosher, it will just enhance it.