New vegan and kosher food line opens in Duwick

New vegan and kosher food line opens in Duwick

At the beginning of the fall, the Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center opened a new food line serving vegan, kosher food. The new station is increasing the availability of food for students with dietary restrictions.

A new food line, located across from the food court’s salad bar, replaced the “Beans, Greens and Grains” station that had been on this site. Since the line is vegan and kosher at the same time, it doesn’t include any meat or dairy options, primarily serving foods like grains, beans, tofu, and more.

Jenin Pecoraro, a sophomore who eats vegetarian and sometimes vegan, said the new line has helped expand her food choices in Duke.

“I am better [the kosher line] To the vegan section they had last year,” Pecoraro said. “I definitely have plenty to choose from and lots of fresh vegetables and all the veggie meals I could ask for.”

For food to be considered kosher, its ingredients and preparation must adhere to the laws of kashrut, the Jewish food laws explained in the Torah. Foods prohibited under kosher include pork and shellfish. In addition, it is not allowed to eat meat along with dairy products.

Certain foods in a kosher kitchen should be separated from each other; Meat and dairy products may not be stored together, and generally different utensils will be used for each product.

Asher Berlin, a sophomore who raises kosher, explained how he finds dining options in the dining hall, even when there are no kosher items.

“If you’re in the food court, it’s the process of getting rid of the ingredients, just checking the ingredients,” Berlin said. “If something with meat has milk, the worst is worse…I go get some pizza and maybe some rice. Or I try to do my best. [with] Some veggies or a boiled egg or some pasta.”

Some of the popular choices at the kosher station so far are the various tofu bowls and your go-to cereal bowl station, which offers a variety of toppings like roasted vegetables, nuts, and homemade dressing.

The need for a kosher dining option was brought to the attention of Tufts Dining by Rabbi Naftali Prawer, CEO of Tufts Hillel and a Jewish university chaplain. Patti Close, Director of Food Services and Business at Tufts University, described how this new option aims to increase eating options for students with various dietary restrictions.

“Tufts Dining strives to be inclusive and provide solutions to students’ nutritional needs including those rooted in their religion,” Kloss wrote in an email to The Daily. “Raby Brewer and we saw the need for a fully kosher dining option in a residential food center, and we worked closely together as we created this option for students. A full meat and/or dairy kitchen was not currently possible, and a vegan option was possible.”

This new line is just one of several efforts in recent years to increase access for students with dietary restrictions. Dewick also has an “All-9 Free” section, which offers food free of the top nine most common food allergies. Last year, the Carmichael Dining Center moved to a nut, peanut, and gluten-free facility.

To ensure full compliance with kosher, the dining center worked closely with Rabbi Prawer as well as a team of trained Meshgishim students, who oversee the station to ensure kashrut adherence. Since kosher meat and dairy are usually required to have separate sets of dishes, a kosher station uses compostable plates to avoid cross-contamination.

Despite positive feedback for the new station, other students found the station’s offerings disappointing.

“Personally, I didn’t like it very much,” Berlin said. “I am not someone who eats plant food regularly. So, in general, I would consider it a very bad night if the only thing I could eat was to find it at the time [station]. But a vegan may have a different experience.”

Kloss said Tufts Dining plans to continue increasing vegetarian options at all dining venues, while also adapting to the nutritional needs of all students.

“We continue to introduce more and more plant-based items on menus throughout the course of eating, to match students’ food preferences and to be more sustainable,” Kloss wrote. “The Tufts Dining team is constantly evaluating our menu to meet the nutritional needs of our students.”

Despite Berlin’s personal opinion of the new line, he acknowledged the importance of increasing access to kosher food.

“It’s important that the university does more to make it easier for Jewish students to follow their faith on campus, and I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Berlin said. “But I can say that there is still a lot of work to do if they are going to achieve this goal.”

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