IN THE 1960s and 1970s, when my four siblings and I were kids, we weren't allowed to eat Oreo or Pepperidge Farm cookies. Tootsie Rolls were off-limits, too. So were Bazooka bubble gum and Jelly Bellies. And though we often heard the commercial jingle proclaiming "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee," that was a claim the Jacoby youngsters could never verify empirically.
Our parents weren't opposed to sweets. But we grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home where kashrut — the kosher dietary laws — were observed. And none of those yummy treats was kosher.
Now, however, all of them are kosher, along with scores of thousands of other products available in American supermarkets — everything from salsa and spring rolls to salmon and scotch. And thereby hangs a tale: a tale of age-old religious commitment combining with capitalist innovation and in the process transforming a major US industry.
With kosher food as with so many other things, where there is a need, a free market will satisfy it.
America has undergone a kosher revolution. . . .