Kosher Bacon / Tocino Kósher

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

PAUL BLANE, SAND sculptor extraordinaire of Fuengirola, is back on the beach with his own Nativity Scene. His creation, however, includes a mother pig and her seven piglets. Not because they were listed among the animals in the original manger (I don’t think any such list exists), but simply because he likes making piglets. Some purists aren’t happy with the presence of pigs in Paul’s manger (he’s done it before), which caused the two of us to have an interesting conversation on the subject. I wondered how anyone could know there were no pigs with them in the manger when Paul (with a master’s degree in philosophy) said, “Well, Mitch, you know they were Jewish.” Maybe I should go back to school.

When I was around 11 and we were newly living in Brooklyn in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood (after moving from a predominantly not-Jewish suburban neighborhood on Long Island), I was welcomed into a new friend’s apartment one Sunday morning to the smell of frying bacon. I said, “I thought you said your family was Kosher [pork products aren’t kosher]?” He said, “Yeah. It’s Kosher bacon.” I had no idea! But my mother later explained that it was just turkey made to look and smell like bacon; although, she added, “It’s not as good.” Turkey bacon was a rarity at that time, I think, but it’s much more common now, mostly because it’s thought to be healthier than real bacon. Anyway, I wonder what they had for breakfast at that inn in Bethlehem.

Click the images for a closer look at the manger.


PAUL BLANE, ESCULTOR de arena extraordinario de Fuengirola, vuelve a la playa con su propio Belén. Su creación, sin embargo, incluye un cerdo y sus siete cerditos. No porque estuvieran incluidos entre los animales en el belén original (no creo que exista tal lista), sino simplemente porque le gusta hacer lechones. Algunos puristas no están contentos con la presencia de cerdos en el belén de Paul (ya lo ha hecho antes), lo que nos hizo tener una conversación interesante sobre el tema. Me preguntaba cómo alguien podría saber que no había cerdos con ellos en el belén cuando Paul (con una maestría en filosofía) dijo: “Bueno, Mitch, sabes que eran judíos”. Tal vez debería volver a la escuela.

Cuando tenía alrededor de 11 años y recién vivíamos en Brooklyn en un vecindario predominantemente judío (después de mudarnos de un vecindario suburbano predominantemente no judío en Long Island), un domingo por la mañana me recibieron en el apartamento de un nuevo amigo con el olor a tocino frito. Le dije: “¿Creí que dijiste que tu familia era kosher [los productos de carne de cerdo no son kosher]?” Él dijo: “Sí. Es tocino kosher”. ¡No tenía idea! Pero mi madre luego explicó que era solo pavo hecho para que pareciera y tolerara a tocino; aunque, agregó, “no es tan bueno”. El tocino de pavo era una rareza en ese momento, creo, pero ahora es mucho más común, principalmente porque se cree que es más saludable que el tocino real. De todos modos, me pregunto qué desayunaron en esa posada de Belén.

Haz clic en las imágenes para ver más de cerca el belén.


Don Corleone by a lesser-known artist (click here).
Don Corleone por un artista menos conocido (haga clic aquí).

It looks like someone made him an offer he shouldn’t have refused.

Parece que alguien le hizo una oferta que no debería haber rechazado.


Happy Holidays!

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “Kosher Bacon / Tocino Kósher”

    1. anne marie:
      I agree regarding the turkey products. And, although I hate beef jerky, I like turkey jerky.

  1. Why not pigs in the manger? I believe space was a real problem back then…..wasn’t it?
    Great work by this fellow once again, Mitch. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jim:
      I guess you don’t have much experience with kosher laws. My grandmother wouldn’t have stayed in that manger.

  2. I have a friend who is an archeology professor, the default answer on his exams, is look for the bacon. The history of humankind, is parallel to swine.

    1. David,
      Apparently that’s how they routed out the Jews and Muslims in inquisition Spain and why pork became so prevalent here.

  3. Amazing sculptures; the artist obviously understands the “physics of sand” and how it needs to be supported. Fascinating. Well, the inn and stable might have been run by gentiles, hence the pigs. Happy New Year!

    1. Mistress Maddie,
      Good luck, huh? Not at my grandmother’s house, it wouldn’t. Hope It works for us this year.

  4. Never had turkey bacon… don’t intend to– ha!
    I missed a few days, and what a set of photos to miss! Those sunset photos… holy cow, I’ve never seen anything like those. Merci! And, those sand sculptures! And, the three kinds arriving in the REAL Bethlehem… all, a treat.
    Happy New Year, almost!

  5. Well, the only reason to raise pigs is to eat them later on, and seeing as Bethlehem at that time was mostly Jewish, the odds seem against pigs being there, though I suppose that man who owned the inn could have been the odd Roman polytheist (or, as ancient Jews, and later Christians, called such a person, a “pagan”.) There are theories that ancient Hebrews somehow became aware that undercooked pork was a cause of trichinosis, and, to discourage people from eating it, presented it as a sin against God. Jesus, not aware that there really was a health risk, saw it as a silly superstition, as he did many of the Jewish dietary laws, now seen today as simply a matter of good nutrition, as valid today as it was back then.

      1. Jesus said there was no such thing as “unclean” food, i.e., food that is inherently sinful. He didn’t actually specify pork, but my faulty memory kind of turned it into that.

  6. Turkey bacon is an abomination! UGH! On the other hand, turkey disguised as ham is kind of tasty 🙂 Sand or flesh, piglets are adorable.

    1. Deedles,
      SG always wanted a pet pig. We use ground turkey instead of ground beef, but turkey bacon just didn’t work for me.

      1. Ugh! I can only use ground turkey if it is mixed with ground beef and highly seasoned for tacos and burritos. It’s so dry and tastes icky. To each their own.

  7. When I lived in Amman, Jordan I use to drive to Tel Aviv, it’s a straight line from the Allenby Bridge, only open to us Dip. I use to go to Israel do buy pork. None available in Jordan, except for wild boar which is not the same thing at all. In Tel Aviv I had been told that a certain butcher on King George st near Mazaryk sq. So I went and bought ground pork and pork chops etc. no problem. It was explained to me that the pigs were not living in Israel per se. I was confused how could this be, well apparently a group of rabbis had devised a scheme where the hoofs of the pigs did not touch the soil, they were raised on platforms about 2 feet above ground, this way no religious Laws were broken. Which made a colleague of mine say; you see in Israel pigs fly.

    1. Larrymuffin,
      Fascinating… and very funny. I should tell Paul to build his pigs a wood platform next year!

    1. Walt the Fourth,
      Well… she knew what she was supposed to do; she just didn’t do it. She loved cheeseburgers and strawberry shakes, too.

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