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  Kosher Caterers

If It's a Jewish Celebration, There Must be Food!
Is there a way to celebrate any of the Jewish Life Cycle ceremonies without food? Of course not!  Sitting around the table, enjoying the spread, and schmoozing with your table mates about all that's news and not... that's a Jewish Celebration!

Planning such events requires giving thought to Kashrut - the dietary laws that govern how and what Jews eat. Even if you do not observe Kosher laws as a rule,  by observing kashrut at your affair, you are avoiding discomfort and hunger for observant friends and relatives.

Kosher in a Nutshell
The Hebrew word "Kasheir," or "Kosher," means fit or proper. When applied to food, the term indicates that an item is fit for consumption according to Jewish law. The word "Kashruth" refers to the general subject of Kosher food.

There are three categories of Kosher food - Meat, Dairy and Parve (or Pareve).

Meat - For an animal to be Kosher, it must have split hooves and chew its cud. (Examples: cow, goat, lamb.) Non-Kosher animals include pig, horse, camel and rabbit. Kosher fowl include chicken, turkey, goose, and certain duck. Animals and fowl must be slaughtered by a specialist, called a shochet.

Dairy - Milk and milk products (cheese, cream, butter, etc.) of a Kosher animal are Kosher-Dairy. These may not be eaten in combination with meat or fowl.

Pareve - Foods which contain neither meat nor dairy ingredients are called "Pareve." All fruits, grains and vegetables in their natural state are Kosher and Pareve. Fish which have fins and scales are Kosher and Pareve. A Pareve item can become either dairy or meat when it is cooked together with food in either category. (Example: fish fried in butter is considered dairy, not Parve.)

The separation of meat and dairy products also applies to the utensils used for storing, preparing and serving these foods. Therefore, completely separate sets of pots, dishes, cutlery, etc. must be used for meat and dairy foods. Kosher food prepared in pots used previously for preparing non-Kosher food may become not Kosher.

Choosing A Kosher Caterer
Before calling caterers, do your homework.  Research online, consult with friends, read review (if you can find any). Once you find a caterer with whom you feel you can have a good, respectful working relationship, verify the following:

Practical Advice - Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Kosher Caterer

Search the Jewish Celebrations DIRECTORY for fine kosher caterers that will make your party an affair to remember.
Have a clear idea of what you want or do not want served at your affair.
Remember your budget, and stick with it. Often times, caterers will try and persuade you to go beyond your initial desires.  Remain firm.
Get a list of recent clients and contact numbers.  Any reputable caterer will be more than happy to supply you with this information.
Verify if price includes china, linen, liquor, silverware, glassware, wedding cake, waiters, and bartenders.
Remember to add to your list of "eating guests" the photographers and musicians.  You don't want them to go hungry!
To avoid misunderstanding, your contract should DETAIL the services are included
Discuss cost in detail, and verify if there any hidden or extra charges, such as travel expenses.
Have everything documented in WRITING.



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