|Updated: 4/16/2007 1:29 pm
||Published: 4/16/2007 1:29 pm
Your budget, size, and style of your event will help determine your decision about a caterer. Your choice may also be defined by the customs and requirements of family members, friends, and or employees who observe Jewish dietary laws, which will govern your selection of food, beverages, and utensils. 'Kosher' means that meat is slaughtered and prepared according to the dietary laws of the Bible, including the exclusion of many categories of prohibited foods and not combining others, such as meat and dairy. If you're holding an event at a Conservative or Orthodox synagogue, you may be required to use a kosher caterer the synagogue approves. Less-observant congregations may allow a choice of caterers but restrict the menu to foods that aren't forbidden. Traditional Orthodox practice, however, doesn't accept such a meal as being kosher because the dishes may have been used for non-kosher foods. Hotels and clubs usually have their own banquet services, and some may be certified kosher. Some restaurants are also completely kosher. If there's no kosher meal service available, you may arrange for a vegetarian, dairy, or fish meal. Make sure there's no shellfish or swordfish, that none of the soups is made with animal stock, and that there aren't such things as bacon bits in the salads. Some grocery stores and delicatessens carry certified kosher products. Keep in mind that 'kosher-STYLE' is not the same thing as kosher. When an establishment other than a synagogue represents itself as kosher, you may need to ask whether the kitchen is under the supervision of a recognized rabbinical authority, and whether a supervisor is present during slaughter, food preparation, and service. Part of the higher cost of kosher food comes from this required supervision.