The most well known law of kashrut, which you’ve probably heard of, prohibits the consumption of pork.
However, there are many other laws involved in keeping a meal kosher, ranging from the type of meat served (no pork or shellfish) to how animals are slaughtered (kosher methods are considered more “humane”) to how food is prepared (as much blood as possible should be removed from meat prior to cooking) to what it’s served with (you cannot serve dairy with meat).
The degree to which a Jewish person will follow the laws of kashrut will often depend on their level of religious observance. Orthodox Jews follow the laws of kashrut very strictly.
Jews have special kosher kitchens, and they keep separate dishes and utensils—one set for dairy, one set for meat. Conservative and Reform Jews are generally less strict about the laws, and most modern Jews feel free to pick and choose what works for them.
For instance, many Jews will stay away from pork products, but wouldn’t think twice about ordering a cheeseburger. Some Jews will keep kosher on the Sabbath or during the High Holidays, but the rest of the time, it’s shrimp cocktails and ham sandwiches. For a set of laws that are pretty exacting, most modern Jews treat kashrut with varying degrees of flexibly.
Preventing the mixing of meat products and milk products has led to the practice of maintaining separate sets of cookware, tableware, and flatware for meat and dairy. Some households also have items used for neither meat nor milk (this category is called pareve, or neutral); food prepared using these can be eaten with either meat or dairy.
Establishing a kosher kitchen requires some work, but the regularities are not difficult to maintain. Making an existing kitchen kosher may involve replacing some equipment, but many items can be made kosher and some need no treatment at all. With good will, flexibility, and creativity, individuals can “keep kosher” in nonkosher homes and restaurants.