A basic lesson in Jewish food laws told through the Rugalach cookie
I spell it rugalach. Others seem to spell it rugelach, but either way, learning what a rugalach is can actually tell you a lot about the basic rules of kashrut (keeping kosher by Jewish law) in terms of food.As most of you probably know, Jewish kosher laws do not permit mixing meat with dairy. But, what you might not know is that not only can you not eat them together, but you must wait a certain amount of time after eating one, before eating something from the other. To be specific for a moment, if you consume something dairy, you have to wait at least an hour (varies by Rabbinical opinion) before consuming anything with meat. However, it isn’t the same vice versa, as you must wait 6 hours after a meal with meat, before consuming dairy products. This is longer because of the way our stomachs digest meat.
So, picture this situation for a moment. You keep kosher, and you’ve just eaten a hearty steak for dinner. To balance out the meal at its end, you need something sweet, and you just happen to have a craving for chocolate, what would often make for a very dairy dessert. Unable to wait six hours to satisfy such a craving, what do you do?
Enter: the rugalach.
While most cookies that have chocolate flavoring are made with milk, making them dairy, the ordinary rugalach does not contain any dairy products, and is therefore considered pareve, meaning it is neither meat (fleischic in Yiddish) nor dairy (milchic). Variations can include dairy, but a rugalach is supposed to be pareve.
So, there you have it. A solution! Not to mention, a delicious one. On a total sidenote, when I was in high school, my friends and I made “one smart cookie” shirts, and I was the rugalach (yes, I’m a nerd!) Anyway, the site is in dire need of a great rugalach recipe! (hint hint)
The most delicious rugalach ever: