By Karimah Bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain& Wellbeing Writer.
As director of Karimah’s Cuisina, a faith based well being charity, I am a firm believer in food as a form of dowaa and tonight’s event was no exception. The Interfaith Forum Of Kensington And Chelsea was meeting at the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre to learn about Kosher and Halal food and to sample some of our cuisine.
My orthodox Jewish contemporary , Deborah Lewis, told us what is considered kosher in terms of food and the animals that Jews are allowed to eat. Jews have more restrictions than we have in Islam, it’s interesting once again to see Islam as the middle way because Christianity has little if no restrictions on what a person can eat and Islam sits somewhere nicely in the middle of restrictions and no restrictions.
There is lots of similarity of Jewish and Muslim food from the middle east but the food that we were given to night was Eastern European Jewish food; potato, apple and celery salad with pickle fish and sour cream ,gefilte fish balls and a beetroot horseradish relish. This is known as Ashkenazi (Central and Eastern European)food. It was delicious mashallah.
Interesting as this is the sort of food I would associate with countries like Poland, Ukraine , Russia where the common ingredients of that area are beetroot, cabbage, potatoes, fresh water fish, smetana( soured cream product).
Where ever people of faith go we adapt the local produce and recipes to our own dietary laws and taste, creativity within holy restriction produces some of the best cuisine around.
As Muslim we are no exception to this and not to be outdone by the delicious Jewish dishes that were made and provide , we presented succulent halal Malaysian food and surprisingly and an item of great curiosity of the group- an English breakfast plate complete with halal turkey bacon and sausage; served up daily by the Makan Restaurant. This “bacon” is actually halal smoked turkey slices. As a revert I do miss the taste of bacon and this stuff is pretty convincing and amazingly halal at the same time.