It’s strange that so many Kosher people are as round as they are, seeing as they’re stuck with the dreck of the kosher culinary world. Tasteless black and white cookies, stale pizza that’s been sitting under a heat lamp for way too long and dairy platters are about as exotic as it gets and truth be told, I would rather go hungry. It’s true that many Jews feel the nostalgia factor kick-in when faced at a kosher bakery with those crowded bins of babka and rugalach, but biting into one of the crumbly, almost cardboard-like goodies always has me craving a buttery croissant crammed full of ham and cheese.
Question is, why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Is it really that hard to make a stellar kosher baked good? “When I started my business, I considered making it kosher, and then I found out how hard it is,” says Galit Greenfield, owner of the Chicago-based pastry business sweetgalit.com. Between the cost of getting certified and the type of clientele who often buy kosher goods, Greenfield just couldn’t justify it. Lets not kid ourselves here, Hassid’s with 12 kids are not likely to shell out seven bucks for a mille-feuille when they’ve got nine mouths to feed. “You have to pay out tons of money to get supervision and even if I were to go that route, it might not excel because the people who buy kosher goods want bargains. They have more kids, and don’t really care about quality in the same way.”
Good news is, things are slowly changing. Sex and the City staple, Magnolia bakery, have made sure their cupcakes are given the United Kosher Supervision’s stamp of approval from Orthodox Rabbi Yaakov Spivak. And in Israel, café’s like Mazzarine and Ben Ami are light years ahead of where we are here in the North America, creating tasty French/Austrian influenced desserts for just about every customer. Pray to aloheim we catch up soon enough.