Shrimp…Squid…Lobsters…Oh My!

If there’s one thing that I have learned in culinary school so far, it’s that I am not cut out for killing animals.  I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t kill the lobster. We had to stab it and cut the limbs off while it was still moving.  The chef even said he doesn’t look forward to it and gave us an option not to do it.  There is nothing wrong with doing this halachically because “Ever Min Hachai (look at the bottom of the page)” doesn’t apply to shellfish and fish. I can work with dead ones, no problem, but alive to start…not my cup of tea.  As ugly as it was, I had no reason to kill that little bugger.  I did have a deep debate in my head about this though.
Why did I go to a non-kosher culinary school? Easy answer: To learn EVERYTHING! Crabs, lobsters, pig, shellfish, shrimp, and anything else you can name. I want to touch it, cook it and learn about it! Even if we cook something that is technically “kosher”, it was made in treif/non-kosher pots and pans and therefor is forbidden for me to eat.   Even if I wanted to try and taste it, I wouldn’t be able to get the full flavor unless it hits every taste bud on my tongue (Check out my Halacha section in the blog for more information).  By doing that, it risks actually consuming the item.  It is just really difficult, so I pretty much avoid it.  Guess I gotta practice on a lot of kosher food at home!
So why in the world am I putting myself through this?  Why can’t I just go to CKCA or the Jerusalem Culinary Institute?  Both, kosher culinary institutions.
Ever since I could remember I wanted to go to culinary school, and I promised myself that when I went, I was going to do it the whole way through.  I was going to prove that I can do this within halacha and get the full culinary experience and learn everything there was to know; kosher and non-kosher.  I got the kosher part down and there are Rabbis in easy access to ask questions to along the way.  So if I really want to increase my knowledge I was going to a place that had it all.
I can’t eat anything, and that’s not fun a lot of the time (especially when I’m in class from 6pm – 10pm without break), but that’s life and the end goal is worth it.   Before any orthodox Jew goes into an establishment or even more relevant to a lot of you, a secular work place, you have to be strong in what you believe and have a good grasp on the halachot pertaining to that area.  The techniques and variety of things I have learned and cooked with thus far are unimaginable.  Items which I never thought i would touch or let alone see without being behind a television screen or glass in a grocery store, I am now getting up close and personal with.

Goal: Use these techniques I learn in school to make kosher food as expansive as possible, in appearance and in flavor/taste!

1)Clam and Muscle Tomato Cream Stew
2)Lobsters before the kill

3) Squid (and its insides), shrimp, scallops (all prepared)
4) Clams, Oysters and Muscles    
Note: I wasn’t supposed to open the muscles before they were cooked. Oops! I was on a roll 🙂

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