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Book review: Kosher Nation by Susan Fishkoff

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I just got an interesting book out from the library, called "Kosher Nation: Why More and More of America's Food Answers to a Higher Authority" by Susan Fishkoff. It's a history of kosher (and kosher-style) food in the US including accounts of how the major national kashrut organizations got started, how we went from checking ingredients to hundreds of heimiche hashgachas and also some info about some historical as well as modern day kashrut scandals. She interviewed people involved in the business of kosher food, although she misses a few high points. (How can you write about deli and not mention Jeff's in LA or Essex on Coney?)

I expected the book to be the usual orthodoxy bashing one generally reads in the secular press, but it's pretty straightforward. She gives a good explanation of the intricacies of what makes something kosher that is probably understandable to those who don't keep kosher, and a lot about the business side of the kosher food business. She also spends some time talking about non-orthodox kashrut practices.

All in all an interesting book and certainly worth the trip to the library. She is the author of "The Rebbe's Army" which I have not yet read but now I want to.

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  1. This book is a 'must read' for any one keeping kosher or interested in the background of the kosher food industry.

    1. I'll check this out for sure; it's a fascinating subject. I'll add a rec for "Miriam's Kitchen" by Elizabeth Ehrlich for a domestic view of a Kosher kitchen.

      1. Thanks for both recommendations! Placed both on hold at the library and will let you know what I think...