It’s a well-known fact that trayf is defined as such in part for religious reasons, but also in part because its consumption causes news stories like this. But now Gawker informs us that, “Contrary to popular belief, keeping kosher does NOT protect you from tapeworms.” Can it be? In the New York Times, Dr. Larry Zaroff discusses “the Jewish housewives’ disease:”
My mother, like her mother, was an expert Jewish cook, their specialties famous in our extended family. Their secret: taste as you go. Season slowly until the perfect flavor comes through. It’s a safe technique with latkes or kreplach but not always with gefilte fish, a ground concoction of freshwater fish, spices, eggs, salt and matzo meal.
It continues, and gets progressively more graphic, but this is all you need to know: gefilte fish and sushi should not, under any circumstances, be confused. Don’t taste gefilte fish until it’s good and ready, or, perhaps, at all. In the historical transition from shtetl Judaism to Jewish nationalism, perhaps the greatest achievement was the move from slimy lumps of pureed fish to crispy lumps of pureed chickpea.