I’m not what you would call “Kosher from Birth.” I only started keeping Kosher a few years ago. Before that, I was happily enjoying all of the Southern cooking I could stand including a lot of the food called Treif by the Kosher crowd. For those of you who aren’t in the know about Treif, the definition is as follows according to Giora Shimoni on About.com – Treif derived from the Hebrew word teref which means torn, and originally referred to non-kosher meat only. In Exodus 22:30 it is written “Do not eat meat from an animal torn in the field.” Thus Jews were forbidden to eat meat from an animal that was torn or mortally wounded. Over time the meaning of the term treif expanded from one category of non-kosher meat to anything non-kosher.
When I think of Treif, I think of shrimp, crab, lobster, fried chicken when the batter is made with milk (mixing meat and dairy), chicken sour cream enchiladas, bacon, and just about any meal I’m used to making from my favorite Southern Living Cookbooks.
I first heard the word Treif when I was attending a Judaica studies class. We were taking a snack break during which each week, a class member took turns bringing yummy treats to eat. Fortunately, I was not assigned to bring food during this particular week because an attendee found a bag of cookies on the table that was not Kosher. She immediately started yelling – “TREIF, TREIF, Someone brought TREIF!”
While I understood the seriousness of the crime, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at how crazy this attendee sounded. To this day, I still yell out those same words any chance I get. If my husband is with me, he laughs too because he knows the joke. Others however, not so much.
Over the years, I’ve amazed my family with my ability to find ways to still enjoy my favorite Treif foods but in a Kosher way. Each recipe is a new challenge, and I’ll admit that as a resident of Dallas … where Kosher food is not abundant … I spend a great deal of time driving from store to store to find one unique, pareve item that I can use in place of a dairy one or a substitue for some other Treif item that isn’t Treif but still tastes like the Treif version. Each week is a searching, shopping, cooking adventure for me. And I know I can’t be alone.
Hopefully I can share some unique Kosher food concoctions with you, and you’ll share some with me as well. Together we can make this Treif world fit for any respectable Kosher keeping citizen.
Treif Kosher Cooking!