Opening of a new vegan and kosher food line in Dewick
At the start of the fall semester, the Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center opened a new food line featuring vegan kosher dishes. The new station increases food availability for students with dietary restrictions.
The new food line, which is located across from the salad bar in the dining room, replaced the “Beans, Greens and Cereals” station that used to be there. Because the line is both vegan and kosher, it doesn’t include any meat or dairy options, primarily serving foods like grains, beans, tofu and more.
Jeannine Pecoraro, a sophomore who eats vegetarian and sometimes vegan, said the new range has helped expand her food options at Dewick.
“I prefer [the kosher line] to the vegetarian section they had last year,” Pecoraro said. “I definitely have a lot more choices and tons of fresh veggies and all the vegetarian meals I could ask for.”
For food to be considered kosher, its ingredients and preparation must adhere to kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws outlined in the Torah. Foods restricted under kashrut include pork and shellfish. Also, meat cannot be eaten with dairy products.
Some foods in a kosher kitchen must be kept separate from each other; meat and dairy products should not be stored together and different utensils will generally be used for each product.
Asher Berlin, a sophomore who keeps kosher, explained how he finds options for eating in the lunchroom, even when there are no designated kosher items.
“If I’m in the mess hall, it’s basically a process of elimination, just checking the ingredients,” Berlin said. “If anything with meat has milk in it, worse is worse… I’ll get some pizza and maybe some rice. Or I try to do the best I can [with] vegetables, boiled eggs or pasta.
So far, some popular options at the kosher station have been the varied tofu dishes and the build-your-own cereal bowl station, which offers a variety of toppings such as roasted vegetables, nuts, and homemade dressings. home.
The need for a kosher food option was brought to the attention of Tufts Dining by Rabbi Naftali Brawer, executive director of Tufts Hillel and the university’s Jewish chaplain. Patti Klos, Director of Dining and Business Services at Tufts, described how this new option aims to increase dining options for students with different dietary restrictions.
“Tufts Dining strives to be inclusive and to provide solutions to the dietary needs of students, including those rooted in their religion,” Klos wrote in an email to The Daily. “Rabbi Brawer and we saw the need for an all-kosher food option at a residential catering facility, and we worked closely to create that option for college students. A full kitchen of meat and/or dairy was not currently feasible, and a herbal option was feasible.
This new line is just one of many efforts in recent years to increase accessibility for students with dietary restrictions. Dewick also has an “All-9 Free” section, which offers foods free of the nine most common food allergies. Last year, the Carmichael Dining Center moved to a nut-, peanut- and gluten-free facility.
To ensure full kosher compliance, the catering center has worked closely with Rabbi Brawer as well as a team of trained mashgichim students, who oversee the resort to ensure kashrut is adhered to. Since kosher meat and dairy should normally have their own sets of plates, the kosher station uses compostable plates to prevent cross-contamination.
Despite the positive reviews for the new station, other students found the station’s offerings disappointing.
“Personally, I wasn’t very impressed,” Berlin said. “I’m not someone who regularly eats vegan food. So, in general, I would consider it a bad night if the only thing I could eat was at that time. [station]. But someone who is vegan might have had a different experience.
Klos said Tufts Dining plans to continue to increase vegan options at all restaurants, while accommodating the dietary needs of all students.
“We continue to introduce more and more vegan items to menus throughout the dining hall, to match student dietary preferences and to be more sustainable,” Klos wrote. “The Tufts Dining team continually evaluates our menu to meet the dietary needs of our students.”
Despite Berlin’s personal opinion on the new line, he recognized the importance of increasing accessibility to kosher food.
“It’s significant that the university is doing more to make it easier for Jewish students to follow their religion on campus, and I think that’s a step in the right direction,” Berlin said. “But I would say there is still a lot of work to do if they are to achieve that goal.”