November 26, 2008, - 12:00 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
One of the benefits of keeping kosher is that we don’t have to spend any time brining our turkey. It’s already done when we buy it from the store.
All kosher meat and poultry is automatically salted to remove the blood. Thus, the term “Kosher Salt”. In fact, people I know who don’t keep kosher can note the difference in taste between kosher and non-kosher meat and poultry, in that our meat and poultry is slightly saltier–not enough to make it taste bad, but just enough for a light seasoning that makes it taste good.
I have a little extra background in this because my late grandfather, Isaac, a Holocaust survivor, came from post-war Europe to Detroit to be a shoichet, a kosher slaughterer. Eventually, he got out of the biz because of overreaching government regulation and built a kosher poultry distributor business.
A lot of people ask me whether Jews in America celebrate Thanksgiving or do so any differently from anyone else. Of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s an American holiday, and we are proud Americans and thankful for everything we have, including the fact that we can practice our religion (for now) more freely than anywhere else in the world (including Israel).
As I’ve noted here in the past, the only difference I’ve noted is that my gentile friends start their Thanksgiving feast in the middle of the day, whereas, at least in my family, we always ate our Thanksgiving Dinner at dinnertime. When we’re starting, most of my non-Jewish friends are already done and have preceded me in their tryptophan-induced turkey coma. I’ve also noted that we call our stuffing, “stuffing”, whereas a lot of my non-Jewish friends call it “dressing.” To me, the only dressing is the kind you put on a salad.
Other than that, Thanksgiving for us is the same as it is for any other proud and thankful American (except Muslims–go to Dearbornistan tomorrow, where it’s just like any other weekday and all of their shops are open and the people are working; they’ll celebrate “Thanksgiving” when we’re a Muslim nation; they’re not thankful for what America gave them, but for what they’re gonna do to America). Except, unlike everyone else, we (those of us who keep kosher) don’t have to do the brine. It’s something that’s already done, since in most cases, the kosher butcher does the salting for us. Also, people who keep kosher do not eat poultry and meat products with dairy products, so we do not use any kind of butter on the turkey or with any of our side dishes. (And we also do not eat the sciatic nerve, which is always removed from our meat.)
Kosher–the Original Brine.
Read a brief synopsis of what constitutes kosher and about our “brining”.