Thursday, March 25, 2010

Biblical Dietary Laws - Conclusion: Considering Changes at Home

In the preceeding three articles, I presented the basics of the original Biblical dietary laws and how they were expanded by Talmudic rabbis and eliminated by the Vatican.  Without crossing grandparents who follow the traditions of their faith, what should a modern family wishing to make meals more holy do?

Joel Salatin, a farm rights activist who has written a number of very popular sustainable and ethical farming books, is a devout Christian.  After he gives one of his rousing Revivalist style speeches, he is often asked why he thinks pork was taboo.  Joel answers that during the time the Bible was written, the only pork available was either wild boar (carrion eaters) or from filthy city lots - the ancient version of modern factory farming.  Although he would never touch feedlot pork, pigs range happily over dozens of wooded acres on his own farm.  They do not smell or bite each others' ears or tails off.  They are lean, muscular and healthy.  I've enjoyed pork not only from Joel's farm, but also from others who free range their pigs:  Double H Farm in Wingina, Virginia, Afton Field Farm in Corvallis, Oregon and Deck Family Farm in Junction City, Oregon. 

I won't claim to be the model religious citizen myself.  In college, I dabbled with Buddhism.  I wandered in and out of churches for ten years and let a whopping 23 years elapse between synagogue visits.  However, I do study Torah and Talmud almost daily, so what I lack in outward observance, I hopefully make up in education.  I now keep Biblically kosher at home, meaning I eschew forbidden foods.  Although I follow the Talmudic injunction against eating milk products in the same meal with meat, it is only because I don't like waking up the next day with a sour stomach.  I do not go so far as to keep two sets of dishes and silverware to prevent mingling of meat and milk. 

Like Disciple Paul, while I am a guest, I eat whatever is placed before me.  Tuesday, I visited my mother, who served shrimp with a delicious Askenazic buckwheat pilaf.  I saw no contradiction, ate with gusto, and returned for second helpings. 

I don't feel deprived in the least.  I don't miss pepperona pizza; I always thought pepperoni was scary stuff, anyway.  Although pork sausage is tasty, I prefer Cattail Creek Farm's expensive but delectable lamb sausage.  (Junction City, Oregon.)

Lamb is more expensive than pork (dressing out a 45-50% of weight in comparison with pork's 65%), but I've found center leg slices from Anderson Ranch (Brownsville, Oregon) at great prices at Sherm's Thunderbird.  For a treat, sometimes I go to Long's Meat Market in Eugene (at 28th Street, near the Willamette Market of Choice) and fairly salivate over their fine in-house butchered products:  very reasonably priced local lamb as well as beef. 

B&K Natural Farm in Sutherlin has excellent prices on free range poultry.  Afton Field Farm gives a discount if  you help on processing day! 

Since my kids moved out, I eat meat rarely - only two or three meals a month, but every bite is top notch, from pastured animals.  I enjoy every bite with a clean conscience and a happy belly.

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