Pork Cookbook in Israel? Who-Hah!
Dr. Eli Landau has written “The White Book,” touted as the first Israeli pork cookbook.
With 80 mainly Mediterranean recipes and Eastern European dishes, “The White Book” tries to reveal the secrets of the pig for cooks who have never prepared it nor perhaps even tasted it.
Since the mid-1950s, Israel has had laws restricting the sale of pork and banning its farm production in deference to biblical proscriptions. But because of legal loopholes, it was possible to raise pigs for science or in areas considered Christian. Pork buyers included secular Jews, Christian Arabs and more recently, immigrant workers and the hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who don’t keep kosher.
Now it is up to individual municipalities to determine whether pork can be sold in each neighborhood and whether shops will incur fines for selling it, much as they would for staying open on the Sabbath. Many Jews who ignore other kosher rules will not eat pork for cultural and historical reasons. Observant Muslims also abstain from it.
Even more than other nonkosher foods, pork is seen by many Israelis as an affront to Jewish nationalism. Pork sellers routinely face protesters, and in recent years, arsonists have attacked shops in cities like Netanya and Safed, where Orthodox Jews live near secular immigrant communities.
“People are reluctant to cook pork at home,” said Dr. Landau, who is not an observant Jew. “I want to make it easier for chefs and personal cooks to bring it home and to the menus. If that happens, I’ll be more than happy.”
The book, which Dr. Landau self-published in January, has not caused much of a stir so far.
Dr. Landau said that ultra-Orthodox Jews, who would be most likely to protest, haven’t heard of it because they don’t watch cable news or read the mainstream press.
Pretty interesting tale. Landau reaches out to modern Mediterranean cuisine, shows good sense.
Life in a theocracy has got to be incredibly frustrating to anyone who makes contact on a regular basis with the real world.