For some, keeping kosher is as simple as eschewing bacon and cheeseburgers. For others, keeping kosher is a complex series of rituals that may appear intimidating to the uninitiated. Whether readers are simply curious or are considering keeping kosher themselves, Stern's resource is a good place to start. The author, a conservative Jew who started keeping kosher as a young girl, provides a clear, concise summary of Jewish dietary restrictions. This isn't a simplistic overview, but a serious and impressively researched digest that tackles basic and complex issues, and examines the historical and legal reasoning behind the laws. Stern offers both Orthodox and conservative opinions on a range of issues, from what's considered an appropriatehechsher, or symbol, to how to make a kitchen kosher, and she discusses the laws of the Sabbath and various Jewish holidays, too. Of course, many of the topics Stern covers in a paragraph or two have inspired pages and pages of Talmudic discussion, some of which rabbinic authorities still argue about today, and as Stern herself isn't such an authority, she advises readers to address further questions to their own rabbis. Her recipes for traditional Jewish foods, such as Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, as well as her suggestions for innovative kosher dishes like Enchilada Lasagna, nicely complete this enlightening book.
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