What Is a Kosher Diet?

It seems like every couple months there is a new fad diet making the rounds on the internet. Social media influencers and YouTube stars constantly promote new and exciting diets that, they say, will make you lose weight and be happier. Although this is the sort of thing most of us think of when we hear the word “diet,” it can also more generally describe the way a person or group of people habitually eats. It is in this second sense of the word that a kosher diet is a diet.

Misconceptions Surrounding a Kosher Diet

It is misleading to think of a kosher diet as belonging to the same family as the Atkins, paleo, keto, and other fad diets. Yes, all of these are diets because they prescribe certain rules for eating and drinking, but their reasons for doing so are completely different. Modern diets trotted out by health gurus and internet personalities offer (supposedly) a healthier way of eating that will bring you desirable physical benefits, like weight loss or clearer skin.

A kosher diet makes no such promises. It is true that some people try to buy certified-kosher food for humanitarian reasons or allergy concerns. However, the kosher diet does not exist so that people can buy ethically-slaughtered meat or bonafide vegetarian products. In other words, if the world suddenly stopped having ethical concerns about the way in which animals were killed for meat, people would still adhere to a kosher diet.

The Origins and Purpose of the Kosher Diet

The kosher diet did not originate from scientific research on healthy eating. Rather, it comes from the Jewish religion handed down from the time of Moses, thousands of years ago. The word “kosher” itself is an anglicized term from the ancient Hebrew word “kasher,” meaning appropriate or allowed. Kosher food, then, is what is appropriate to eat under Jewish dietary law. These laws are called kashrut and have been recorded in the Torah and passed down for centuries.

Thus, a kosher diet is one which adheres to kashrut, the Jewish food laws regulating which foods are permitted and how they are prepared. This is simply the way that the Jewish people have eaten from generation to generation, and the diet carries deep cultural and religious significance. If you want to learn more about the specific food and preparation restrictions of the kosher diet, check out this blog on the kosher laws.

Orlando Kosher Catering

When you need kosher food of the highest standard for your next event, you can count on Zayde’s Kosher Catering. Our service is completely dedicated to providing kosher food, and kosher food only. With a full-time mashgiach and separate kitchens for dairy, meat, and pareve, you can be sure that everything is prepared correctly. To learn more, please call 407-996-0250.

5 Reasons Why You Should Cater Kosher at Your Next Event

Big events like weddings, corporate parties, conventions, and bar/bat mitzvahs take a lot of planning to execute. Of course, the heart and soul of every large gathering and celebration is the food. In order for your event to be a massive success, the food has to be top-notch. Though many people don’t consider it, using a kosher caterer can be the missing ingredient that takes your event to the next level. Here are 5 reasons why you should cater kosher at your next event.

  1. You or most of your guests follow a strict kosher diet. Obviously, you want to be able to partake of the food offered at your own event, and you want all of the guests to as well, so it’s a no-brainer to hire certified kosher catering at a predominantly Jewish event. It also makes things so much easier to use a full-time kosher catering service rather than one that simply offers some kosher alternatives. This way, you won’t have to worry if the caterer knows what they are doing and you can eat freely knowing the food was prepared, cooked, and served the right way.  
  1. Kosher food is tasty. Sure, some foods like shellfish and meat-lover pizzas are ruled out, but there’s so much delicious food out there that can be prepared in a kosher way. For example, go with a traditional favorite like baked salmon with cracked olives and sun-dried tomatoes, or get creative with Asian sesame chicken wraps. The bottom line is that you aren’t sacrificing anything in the culinary department to serve kosher food. 
  1. It will keep you from alienating some guests. Even if you do not follow a kosher diet, and the majority of your guests don’t either, it is still a good idea to cover your bases. Again, there’s no reason not to — unless you only want to serve coconut shrimp all night. Your guests who do follow a kosher diet will feel welcome and will not have to worry if they can eat the food provided. Kosher cuisine also caters to vegetarians and some vegans, depending on the dish. It is a win for everybody.
  1. It will keep things simple. Trying to accommodate the dietary restrictions of each guest can quickly turn into a mess. If you plan on catering non-kosher food to most of your guests, and work with your caterer to provide kosher meals for others, there is a lot of potential for mistakes. The caterer probably won’t understand the intricacies of kosher food, and could end up unknowingly ruining the kosher dishes by serving them alongside the other food or by cooking them with the same utensils. By serving only kosher food, you avoid these worries.   
  1. Orlando has one of the best kosher catering services in the country. Zayde’s Kosher Catering is the only full-service kosher caterer in Orlando certified by the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinate of Central and North Florida. We have three separate kitchens to ensure that there are no kosher violations when storing, prepping, cooking, and serving food. Because of the expertise of our chefs, we can prepare a wide variety of delicious menus for any event imaginable.

Learn more about Zayde’s Kosher Catering by visiting our website and browsing through our menus. To schedule us for your next event, give us a call at 407-996-0250.

The Origin of Latkes

Who doesn’t love some latkes during Hanukkah? These crispy potato The Origin of Latkespancakes fried in oil have become one of the most popular and delicious Hanukkah traditions. There are a few different stories which purport to explain how latkes became an integral part of the Jewish tradition, but the exact historical origins of these mouthwatering fried cakes is hazy. Some trace latkes back to the historical time of the Maccabees, others to the story of Judith, and still others to crop failures in Eastern Europe in the 1800’s. Investigating the tales surrounding the origin of latkes is almost as delightful as eating the dish itself.

Maccabees and Oil

The history of Hanukkah itself goes back to the 2nd century B.C., when the Syrians were repelled from Jerusalem by the Maccabean revolt. After cleansing the temple, Judah Maccabee and his followers rededicated it by lighting the menorah, though they only had enough oil to keep it going for one day. To their surprise, the menorah kept burning for 8 days until they were able to procure more oil to keep it permanently lit. Some tie latkes back to this Hanukkah origin story by saying that the oil used to fry the pancakes serves as a reminder of the first Hanukkah celebration when the temple was restored.

Judith and Cheese

This is where things can get a bit sticky. The first latkes were probably made around the time of the middle ages by Jews in Italy, but they were made of cheese instead of potatoes for the connection between cheese and Hanukkah. What was the reason for this? It has to do with the story of Judith, and some trace the story’s events back to the time of the Maccabean revolt. The story goes that Judith played a huge part in the Maccabean victory over the Syrians because she entertained the Syrian general Holofernes, plied him with cheese latkes and wine, and cut off his head. For whatever reason, this story became popular with Jews in the middle ages, and they commemorated Judith’s purported role in Hanukkah by making cheese latkes.

Eastern Europe and Potatoes

So what about potatoes? How did today’s latke tradition get established? Jews in the Maccabean time were certainly not eating potatoes, since they are a New World crop and didn’t come to Europe until the 16th century during the Age of Exploration. It is a much more recent tradition. Some find its roots in the 18th century, specifically in the crop failures in Eastern Europe where there were a lot of Jewish citizens. Potatoes, much easier to grow than other crops, were planted en masse and became the most readily available starch. Thus, Jews began to make their latkes with potatoes, and today’s tradition was born.

Kosher Catering in Orlando

For all of your big events, you need a caterer that fully understands the requirements of preparing, cooking, and serving kosher food. In Orlando, there’s only one catering service dedicated to kosher food, and that’s Zayde’s Kosher Catering. Our kitchens are set up to ensure that meat, dairy, and pareve never mix together and are supervised by a mashgiach at all times. To learn more about our menus and services, please contact us at 407-996-0250.

The Benefits of Being Kosher

Contrary to what a lot of people think, kosher isn’t just another type of the benefits of being kosherhealth diet out there like gluten-free, paleo, or vegan. The primary purpose of eating kosher is not to increase overall health or to gain any other physical benefit. Rather, the point of keeping a kosher diet is to obey the food laws set down in the Torah to carry on Jewish religious practices. With that said, there can be some secondary benefits to eating kosher food as well.

Food Held to a Higher Standard

The kosher food laws do regulate which foods are permitted to eat and which aren’t, but many also have to do with the handling and preparation of the food. The standards for kosher food are higher than any others, including USDA regulations. To use just one example, any fruits or vegetables must be inspected for parasites or insects to be certified kosher. The belief that kosher foods are superior is reflected in buying trends – about 65% of kosher food consumers primarily buy kosher because it is higher quality.

More Humane Meats

Many people are aware of the inhumane, ghastly treatment of animals in large-scale meat production facilities, and some have serious ethical concerns about buying and consuming meat from these providers. If you buy a kosher meat product, you can be sure that the animal was slaughtered humanely because the Torah prescribes only one method: “shechting.” This involves using a flawless knife to quickly kill an animal, which is far more decent than most slaughtering methods employed today.

Avoiding Food Allergies and Illnesses

With food that has been certified kosher, you know exactly what you are getting and what is in the food. This can prevent cross-contamination issues for those who are allergic to shellfish, for instance. Because the Torah prohibits shellfish, no kosher product will have shellfish or traces of shellfish in them from other utensils. Likewise, animals with diseases or lesions are not permitted, so there’s no risk of bad meat making you sick.

For your next Orlando event, whether it’s a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, or any other special occasion, Zayde’s Kosher Catering has you covered. Our kitchens can produce the perfect kosher menu to meet your needs, under the supervision of a full-time mashgiach. Learn more by calling us today at 407-996-0250.

Simple Kosher Snack Ideas

Homeade Kosher SnacksAlthough conventional wisdom used to be that you shouldn’t spoil your meals by eating snacks, diet experts are now saying the exact opposite: a healthy diet incorporates snacking between meals. Healthy snacking can help curb overeating at meal time, stave off cravings for junk food, and keep you performing well throughout the entire day. But, it can be difficult coming up with good snack ideas for those following a kosher diet. To help get your brain jogging, here are some simple and tasty kosher snacks you can try incorporating into your diet.

Homemade Kale Chips

Kale is high in nutrients and low in calories, making it a great compliment to the rest of your diet. As a leafy green vegetable, it doesn’t create much excitement come snack time – that is, unless you make kale chips! Spread kale out on a baking sheet, coat evenly with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and pop them in the oven at 275 degrees for about 25 minutes. Turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes, and then they are ready to eat!

Lärabars

Not only are Lärabars made from a handful of simple ingredients, but they taste delicious as well. They aren’t just your run-of-the-mill snack bar. Each Lärabar displays on the front of the package how many ingredients it was made with, which is normally a combination of 2-6 fruits and nuts. But, just because they are simple doesn’t mean they are boring. In fact, you can indulge healthily with flavors like cherry pie, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookie dough!

Make Your Own Hummus

Made from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a healthy source of carbs, fats, and fiber with no added sugar. However, some store-bought packages of hummus can contain high amounts of sodium, limiting its natural nutritional value. Solution: make your own hummus. It’s not nearly as hard as you might think. All you need are chickpeas, tahini, cumin, salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, and water. For a simple recipe, check out this website.

Fresh Fruit and Nuts

Eating kosher snacks doesn’t have to be hard. In a pinch, you could simply grab an apple or some grapes and a handful of almonds for a satiating, nutritional snack. Don’t overthink it!

When it comes to kosher food for events, look no further than Zayde’s. We are Orlando’s premier kosher caterer, offering several different menus to suit your needs. You don’t have to worry about whether our food is kosher or not – we have a full-time mashgiach overseeing all of our operations and are certified by the RCF and OU. Call us today to book our services for your next event at 407-996-0250.

Identifying Kosher Foods: Decipher the Labels

Identify Kosher Foods with ZaydesIt may seem intimidating at first, but identifying kosher and pareve foods is simple once you know some basic guidelines and identifying markings. Since you’re keeping Kosher, it’s important to be able to identify which foods are safe and which ones need to stay at the store.

Kosher Identifiers

Kosher foods follow a few very important guidelines. First and foremost, they have to come from a certified body like a Rabbi in order to qualify. Kosher law dictates that there is to be no consumption of forbidden animals – pigs, camels, and hares – in any capacity. Additionally, meat and dairy cannot be mixed. Fruits and veggies are totally fine, though they must be inspected for bugs and insects – all of which are forbidden.

Kosher foods are labeled as “meat,” “dairy,” or “neutral.” A letter “P” on food packaging denotes that something is pareve – meaning it has no meat or dairy in it. In the United States, there are four main regulating bodies, each with their own symbol for kosher. If you see an OU, Kof-K, OK, or Star-K marking on food packaging, you know it’s certified kosher.

Pareve is a Yiddish word that simply refers to food that has no meat or dairy in it. And while pavere foods may not be kosher in themselves, knowing whether something has meat or dairy products in it is an important consideration when figuring out if something is acceptable for a kosher diet.

Let Us Help

Identifying kosher foods is easy once you get the markings and rules for kosher eating memorized. If you’d rather have the work done for you, Zayde’s Kosher Catering creates some of the most delicious kosher cuisine in all of Central Florida which comes in handy when you’re cooking for family on special occasions or hosting an event where kosher food is necessary. You’ll be pleased with the beautiful and creative plates Chef Michael creates for you at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. For more information call us at 407-996-0250.

The History of Cholent

Cholent is a favorite Jewish stew that is cooked slowly for several hours — up to 12 hours. Cholent was developed over many centuries to follow food preparation laws on the Sabbath. It has profound emotional significance. The smell of cholent used to permeate the wooden houses of Jewish villages throughout Eastern Europe, with the pot being sealed with flour and paste and taken to the baker’s oven to bake throughout the day. Then family members would fetch the cholent on the way home from the synagogue.

Here are some of the rules of the Sabbath, and how cholent fits into the day of religious observance:

  • According to the laws of the Sabbath, it is forbidden to cook or warm up food. The cholent sits on the stove top or a crockpot before sundown, typically on Friday evenings.
  • Individuals who are observing aren’t allowed to roast, fry, boil, or bake. However, there are permissible ways to serve warm food during Shabbat. This can be accomplished by keeping the food cooking over the stove, called a blech.

On Shabbat, it is permissable to rearrange pots which sit directly on the blech, as long as these conditions are met:

  • The food is cooked
  • Part of the blech underneath the pot that is cooking the cholent stays hot to the touch
  • The food within the pot has not been allowed to cool down to room temperature

Ingredients in Cholent

While cholent is the term typically associated with Ashkenazi Jews, chameen is the preferred name for Sephardic Jews. For Ashkenazi Jews, cholent historically consists of a combination of barley, beans, potatoes, and meat that typically adheres to the guidelines recommended by the kosher diet. The Middle Eastern variety is very similar to the Ashkenazi cholent, adding spices, as well as chickpeas and sometimes dumplings. The slow cooking of these ingredients allows the flavors to permeate and produce the characteristic taste that is cholent.

If you’re planning a traditional kosher meal this holiday season, you cannot go wrong with a quality batch of cholent.

Here at Zayde’s at the Rosen Plaza, our team of chefs and caterers can the worry and stress out of preparing holiday meals for your family, or for any kosher event you may be planning. Our dishes adhere strictly to the standards of Jewish law, and we have built a reputation as the premier kosher catering service in Central Florida. To learn more about our catering or if you have questions about our kosher foods, contact us via our contact page.

Kosher Holiday Meal Ideas

Kosher holiday meal ideas
Zayde’s Kosher Catering Can Prepare A Wonderful Meal For Your Occasion

Enjoying classic holiday meals while adhering to a kosher diet can be tough,  but we’re here to help. Take a look at some of these great kosher holiday recipes for meal ideas this holiday season.

Kosher Turkey by Jamie Geller

If you’re looking for a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving while sticking to a kosher diet, this kosher turkey recipe from Jamie Geller is an excellent starting point. This recipe involves combining garlic and herbs with chicken or turkey schmaltz, a rendered fat product. The result is a golden, crispy turkey that’s perfectly kosher.

No Spaghetti Chicken Bake

For a less traditional, but still absolutely delicious holiday meal idea, look no further than this kosher, non-dairy chicken bake from Kosher in the Kitch. Onions, mushrooms, chicken, tomato sauce, and zucchini boodles come together to create an Italian-style dish for all to enjoy!

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Pine Nuts

Every good holiday meal needs a good side dish. Pasta salad is always a crowd favorite, and adding some broccoli and pine nuts into the mix makes this high-carb dish more nutritious and delicious! Check out the recipe

New Amsterdam Apple Pie

Perhaps the most looked-forward-to part of a holiday meal, good dessert is key. Luckily, the masterminds at Kosher in the Kitch have devised a way to create a classic apple pie without using dairy, so it follows Kashrut Law like the rest of our recipe ideas! Have a look for yourself here.

Make It Easy

Cooking for the holidays is always a big task, but especially when you’re adhering to specific dietary restrictions. Luckily, Rosen Zayde’s can help make things a little bit easier for you. We have experience catering for kosher holiday meals and have a wide selection of options. If you want to make your kosher holiday cooking a bit easier this holiday season, give Rosen Zayde’s a call at (800) 627-8258.

Kosher Catering Tips for Your Next Event

Food is a central part of Jewish culture. It is also a central feature of all the big events in life, whether that’s a bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, or religious holiday. Kosher catering thus becomes extremely important when your event isn’t at a temple or event space with kosher kitchens. The problem is that the vast majority of caterers have no idea what Kashrut is or how to follow it, so you don’t have much confidence that the food they serve will be kosher. So, before you hire a caterer for your next event, here are some tips to make sure they will be a great success.

Top Priority: Selecting the Right Caterer

You have to have confidence in the caterer you select for the big event. It can’t be someone who doesn’t normally do kosher catering but says they will follow the food laws. The caterer must have a full understanding of all aspects of Kashrut. That means they not only understand which foods are kosher and which aren’t, but they also know where to find kosher-certified ingredients and follow the prescriptions surrounding food preparation and service. A true kosher caterer will have mastery of Jewish dietary laws so that your event comes off without a hiccup.

Have Something for Everyone

A trend right now in event catering is having several different fun, interactive stations. This is always a hit with the younger guests, who would surely love a make-your-own taco or pasta bar. For the adults, you could serve delicious entrees like Chicken Monaco, grilled rib eye, or something a little outside the box like oven-poached sea bass. And, even the most distinguished of guests couldn’t say no to a pareve desert bar including a variety of cheesecakes, mousses, and fruits.

Orlando Kosher Caterer

The best way to plan the perfect menu for your next event is to work directly with a knowledgeable kosher caterer. Zayde’s Kosher catering at the Rosen Plaza is the best choice for any wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, or any other event requiring food prepared according to Jewish dietary laws. Our world-class chefs can prepare a wide variety of cuisines, including American, Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean, and Jewish. To learn more about what we can do for your next event, please give us a call at 407-996-0250.

Jewish Wedding Traditions

kosher weddings
Zayde’s Specializes in Catering for Jewish Weddings

Weddings are a time of great celebration with family and friends, but the traditions surrounding them make them even more. Traditions connect us with all those who came before, and all those who will come after, who follow the same customs and beliefs. They bring us together, and elevate our lives into something bigger than ourselves.

This power of tradition is rarely seen more clearly than during a wedding, and especially during a Jewish wedding. Jewish culture is rich with religious customs that continuously point the bride and groom (the kallah and chatan) to the history of their people and their beliefs about the world. Here are some of our favorite Jewish wedding traditions which make the time distinctive and special.

Badeken

This is the part of the Jewish wedding ceremony where the groom places a veil on the bride, who is surrounded by the two mothers and other women. This marks the groom’s intent for his bride alone, and demonstrates that he is committing to the bride for the beauty of her soul, and not simply her appearance. The veiling is a simple action, but it is loaded with symbolism and hearkens back to early wedding accounts in the Torah.

Chuppah

“Chuppah” means canopy or tent, and it is where the wedding ceremony takes place. This location is rich with both past and future meaning. Historically, the Israelites dwelt in tents as they wandered before entering the promised land, so it is acted-out again in the present. The traditional chuppah’s 4 open sides also point forward to the couple’s future hospitality to all guests, just like Abraham and Sarah did in Genesis. 

Breaking the Glass

And, of course, no discussion of Jewish wedding traditions is complete without mentioning the breaking of the glass. It is a powerfully symbolic act of irrevocable change – signifying that the bride and groom have begun a life-altering commitment to each other. Some traditions see this moment pointing back to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, reminding everyone of their ethnic history, identity, and beliefs. 

Kosher Wedding Catering

No wedding is complete without a festive meal to bring joy to all! But, because of the Torah’s dietary restrictions, it can be extremely difficult to find a wedding caterer who is kosher certified. Fortunately, Zayde’s Kosher Catering in Orlando can provide full-service, kosher wedding meals for your special day. We have 3 separate kitchens for meat, dairy, and pareve storage and preparation to ensure every meal is kosher. If you are interested in hiring us for your wedding, please give us a call at 407-996-0250.