A pairing that didn't work . . .
Illustration by R. Kikuo Johnson
In the NYT's Sunday Book Review is posed the question "Which Books Do You Read Over and Over Again?" (March 3, 2015), to which Rivka Galchen responds, beginning with an anecdote:
Recently at the checkout of a grocery store, the young man bagging my goods mentioned that he had brought the very same prosciutto to the Rosh Hashana meal he shared with his Jewish roommate's family. He had brought that prosciutto . . . and he also brought a lavender goat cheese that he would recommend, it was delicious. He had ended up eating . . . both the prosciutto and the goat cheese himself. The family, he said, had laughed at him about what he had brought . . . . [T]hey were nice about it, but also they were kind of rude, but he didn't care, he'd enjoyed the food, even though, he emphasized, they really had been very weird about it. The young woman working the cash register interjected that the reason Jews don't eat pork is because, in their holy book, God punished some people by turning them into pigs, and so eating pork was cannibalism. Then the young man said, Oh, that makes sense, but still I don't think they had to be so weird about it.At least, the Jewish family didn't cut the young man's head off for profaning a holy day, unlike what a devout group from one of the other 'Abrahamic' religions might have done in a place where its laws are enforced.
Speaking of which, the young lady at the cash register seems to have learned the pig tale from that other Abrahamic religion, since we often hear its religious leaders referring to Jews as the offspring of pigs. Actually, though, I've read somewhere that the pig tale comes originally from a Jewish source warning that God was displeased with the Jews of some city or other and transformed them into pigs as punishment. But as far as I recall, the change was temporary. Perhaps some reader can fill us in on that.
Anyway, the amusing part of the young man's story - to get back to my real point - was that he was not only bringing the wrong meat, i.e., pork, an 'unclean' meat, he was pairing the meat with a dairy product, which is not a kosher pairing since observant Jews can't pair meat with 'milk'! The young fellow couldn't have gone much further wrong.
Unless the cheese itself were unkosher, but I don't think it is.