16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher… In A Muslim Country

It is complicated between me and Turkish food. A tribute to Emily’s 16 Most Annoying Things About Keeping Kosher.

1. 1. Everyone thinks it is the same thing with eating halal meat. (It is not!)

And you need to explain that it is similar, but it is not the same thing.

2. 2. You need to explain that it is not about cleanliness! Jews don’t think that Muslim food isn’t clean!?!?!!

Especially to the Teyze’s who have amazing cooking, but you just can’t eat that amazing etli dolma (zucchini dolma with ground meat).
(note: The meat needs to be cut a certain way, with a rabbi present and so on.)

3. 3. Then the entire conversation becomes Judaism 101.

It is a great interfaith conversation, but it is a little tough to be the ‘Jewish ambassador’. You need to keep Jewish history fresh in your memory all the time, just in case!

4. 4. You need to act quick (and change the subject) before all questions become Israel related.

image / Via wespeaknews.com

Being a Jewish ambassador is okay, but being an Israeli ambassador is a little too much. (AND I AM NOT ISRAELI!)

5. 5. A sad point is when you explain you can’t eat this.

Because every Turkish dish NEEDS YOGURT, including delicious kebabs.
(note: Yogurt is dairy, and you can’t mix meat + dairy.)

6. 6. Consequently, this is what you eat when you go to a kebab restaurant with friends:

That is, a type of pizza (called pide), but with ‘just cheese.’ With a vegetable, if you are lucky.

7. 7. The Meditarrenean diet calls for Olive Oil and not butter, except for the best rice in the world.

This rice is specifically called “rice with butter” and it smells amazing. GREAT!

8. 8. More non-kosher food that smell AMAZING (and this sounds gross) includes Kokorec…

…and you can only WATCH :( 30 people eat it on the streets at 3AM.
(Google what it is, if you don’t already know it.)

9. 9. At home, especially if nobody else keeps kosher, your life is a constant battle with yogurt.

Why is there yogurt on and in ALL the appetizers and home-cooked meals? And why are they served with meat? Once the yogurt is on there, there is no going back.

10. 10. It is tough to explain friends why you can’t have pepperoni pizza take-out for dinner in the house.

Yes, even if they don’t use the kosher cutlery, it is still not okay. (I’ve had friends eat in the balcony.)

11. 11. It also hurts to know that this is what they ate when you couldn’t make it to dinner that one night.

This is a type of restaurant which has a grill in the middle of 5 tables, and they just grill you delicious meat until you can’t eat anymore.

12. 12. If you choose to cook kosher meat at home, the meat is not only double the price, but also high in demand and low in supply.

You need to CALL your butcher in advance to guarantee that you will have meat on the table next week on Tuesday night.

13. 13. You know you will never be able to make this at home, so you just give up on eating good Turkish döner.

Except for the frozen ready-sliced ones, or that one small restaurant which is only open in the summer on an island.

14. So the staple to-go wrap of your people is not an option for you :(

15. 14. You need to explain how you can’t eat the calamari or the shrimp at that beautiful fish restaurant.

Particularly because you CAN eat the fish.
(note: no shellfish if you keep kosher.)

16. 15. But no one can understand how midye dolma is not an exception, especially after midnight.

Because these portable midye dolma sellers start to multiply on the streets after midnight.
(midye dolma: mussels with spiced rice)

17. 16. Overall, if you can’t just eat vegetarian-style outside, you will be hungry all day.

Because no restaurant will ever be 100% kosher certified.

18. However, you probably grew up with amazing food. Including this for breakfast:

minus the meat, of course.

19. …this for dinner:

minus the calamari, of course.

20. …and for lunch, the school chef probably saved you a portion before mixing the meat to the veggie meal.

so you got to eat this, without the meat, with your friends.

21. You ate sarma for snacks:


22. And this for desert.

At least one each time you visit someone’s house for the holidays, even if you can’t eat anymore.
(note: it is mogado.masapan. Has lots of almonds and sugar.)

23. So it really is not as bad as it may seem :)

24. L’Chaim & Afiyet!

Keep in mind that this is what I did when I kept kosher at home, and there are many different ways to keep kosher. Refer to #3 here above (and #2 on Emily’s post)!

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