Dr. Roger Horowitz discusses the history of modern kosher food and the growth and development of the kosher food industry in the twentieth century. In explaining how Coke became kosher he talks about how rabbis used Jewish law and modern chemistry to determine what food products were kosher and how food manufacturers could change their ingredients and methods to adhere to Jewish dietary law. Horowitz also discusses the mass appeal of kosher foods to non-Jewish consumers. He cites a statistic that at one time only one quarter of kosher food purchasers were Jewish. Horowitz concludes with a brief section on kosher meat production and how the output of a once large industry has become a specialty product due to issues of economy and changes in the meat industry. Throughout the lecture Horowitz discusses his own family history and personal background, having grown up in an observant Jewish household.
Roger Horowitz is a historian of American business, technology, and labor and an expert on the nation’s food. He has written widely about the consumption and production of meat in America. Most recently, his research has turned to kosher food, incited by powerful personal connections and intellectual curiosity. Dr. Horowitz is also the Director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library
This talk was held at Hagley's Soda House on September 22, 2016.