Disclaimer: I don't own South Park, or Google, or… anything else in this story which is copyrighted. I wrote it just for fun.
Author's Note I: Kashruth, in Hebrew, means… kosherness. But, since there isn't such a word, I'll go with what my dictionary says: "fitness in accordance with Jewish law". I got the inspiration for this after I read a comic (or doujinshi, perhaps?) by Dakt37. The link is in my profile, go check it out! She was even kind enough to let me use the part that inspired me, even though a fic that follows the events in the comic had already been written.
Author's Note II: Sorry for spelling or grammar mistakes, or incorrect usage of words. English is not my native tongue. And, of course, being that I am a human being, there are probably some mistakes I missed. Anyway… you catch my drift. Please enjoy your reading!
Stan loved to cook.
Stan loved Kyle.
So, it would only be natural that Stan would love to cook for Kyle. That, however, proved to be quite problematic, since Judaism has certain (and if you asked Stan, mostly illogical) limitations regarding foods.
Cooking came naturally to him. He first discovered he possessed this certain quality when they were camping with the scouts when he was fourteen. Nobody expected a gourmet dinner from a few cans of corn and tuna, and from a minimal collection of vegetables. Stan and a few selected others had been chosen to perform the task of cooking, and after many arguments (the main one being that cooking was for girls, and thus, was totally gay) and fist fights only Stan remained as the main cook (because he was too much of a pussy to fight). He wasn't too sure how it happened, but for the remainder of the trip he became the head chef, after his fellow scouts refused to eat anything that wasn't made by him.
Realizing that apparently he had talent (and talents should be practiced), he made his mother teach him how to cook. She gladly complied, proud of her son that, she figured, believed in equal rights for both sexes. When he mastered simple dishes like scrambled eggs and fried bacon, however, she refused to teach him the more elaborate ones. "I'm glad that you won't leave the cooking particularly to your future wife," she had said then. "But, I'd hate to see you doing it all."
"And how do you know I'll be married?" asked Stan, who by then suspected that there was something different about him. "I may die single and bold, and I don't want to rely on McDonalds for my nutrition!"
"You will not die alone, Stanley!" his mother reprimanded, crossing her arms over her bosom and frowning. "And I don't want to hear you saying that ever again!"
Stan frowned, realizing that perhaps he should reconsider the whole "coming out" thing. That is, if it turned out that it will be needed, of course. "Even if I will marry," he argued back, "there is no telling when. It could be when I'm twenty eight! I don't want to go fat just because all you taught me to cook are eggs and bacon!"
She continued to frown at him for awhile longer, but, seeing his point, she sighed heavily and smiled softly at him. "Alright then, Stanley. I'll teach you some more dishes over the weekend."
And she did. A year had gone by, and Stan mastered all of his mother favorite and least favorite dishes. It had its down side too, obviously, since now, every time his mother didn't feel like cooking dinner she told him to do it. The family rejoiced, because the youngest son's skills suppressed his mother's. Even Shelly treated him better because of it, though his father was starting to suspect that something wasn't quite right with his son.
"Sharon, I don't think you need to let him cook so much…" he said one evening, picking at his food with his fork.
"Why not, Randy? Don't go all chauvinist on me!" she argued back, narrowing her eyes at him. "And stop picking at your food, Stan worked really hard to prepare it!" she reprimanded.
Randy Marsh sighed. "It's not chauvinism. I'm just afraid that… well…" he scratched the back of his neck, unsure whether he should share his fears with his family or not. In the end he decided against it and started eating, only occasionally bringing up the subject again.
Stan was tempted to tell him that even if he stopped cooking, his orientation won't change, but chose to remain silent. It was not the time to tell them his secret yet, they would tell him he's too young and other bullshit along those lines.
To his sixteenth birthday his mother paid for his attendance in a cooking class that opened in town. At the beginning, he felt completely out of place; he was the only teen – heck, he was the only one who was still under forty – there. The old ladies stared oddly at him, but when they discovered the quality of his dishes they all treated him like their own grandson and pampered him with all kinds of pastries.
At the tender age of sixteen, he was able to make sushi, filled turkey among other kinds of seasoned meats, most kinds of pastas and most kinds of rice, sauces, desserts… you name it, and Stan would make it. His classmates taunted him about this new hobby, claiming that it was "totally gay". Cartman taunted him the most, with remarks like "oh, look! The great chef is eating with us common people at the cafeteria!" or "You do know that the greatest chefs are gay, right? Oh, of course you do! You are one! Gay, I mean."
"Shut up, Cartman!" he sneered at him from across their table. "Those are just prejudices!" the heavy blush that adorned his cheeks didn't help matters any, and one lunch-time period, in which Cartman really got on his nerves with all the gay remarks, Stan shouted back: "So what if I am?!"
Everyone stopped eating and stared wide-eyed at the shocked and blushing "chef", sounds of utensils meeting with floor were resounded all throughout the room. Even Cartman was surprised; he dropped his fork, which allowed Kenny to steal some of his food without him even noticing. "I- I knew... it!" he eventually managed, still somewhat pale. "Ha! Make sure to hide those teeth marks on your pillow, Stan! You don't want your parents to know!"
"Shut up, fatass!" nearly ninety percent of the cafeteria occupants shouted at the same time, mostly because they really hated Cartman and less because they actually cared about Stan.
"Ey!" the fat teen yelled back. "Shut up, gaywads! You're all gayer than he is!"
At that point Stan rose from his seat, his face matching the tomatoes on his tray in color, dumped his lunch and all but ran out of the cafeteria.
"You really are a stupid asshole, Cartman!" Kyle hissed at him, left his tray on the table (much to Cartman's delight) and ran after his best friend.
After many tears (on Stan's part) and comforting (on Kyle's part) in the empty hallway, and a few more confessions ("How did you realize it?" "I… kinda… sorta… started feeling attracted to you…"), Kyle somehow concluded the ordeal with a kiss on his lips, which Stan wasn't quite sure how came to be, but returned it more than happily, nonetheless.
A few months of dating later, Stan decided to come out to his parents, who still thought he was too young to decide (even though he was nearly seventeen at the time), but still accepted him. Stan had to convince his father that the cooking had nothing to do with it, but his father didn't seem to believe him. Kyle stayed in, not wanting to deal with his mother's reaction just yet ("besides, I'm only gay to you," he told him when they first brought up the subject), though Stan thought he was stressing for nothing. After all, his mother did accept a dolphin husband and a black son at one point of her life…
That concludes the cooking and gaying part of the story, and allows us to get to the problem at hand: Kyle's Judaism when confronted with Stan's (exquisite) cooking.
Kyle's religion wasn't really a problem when they were young. He went all sulky around Christmas time, but never really mentioned his difference. He had his holidays (and as Stan discovered later, there were many of them) and he celebrated them with his family. There was no need to let his friends know when they occurred (especially not during Yom-Kippur, when they went the extra-mile to tease him).
That, however, changed on Kyle's thirteenth birthday: the Bar-Mitzvah. Kyle explained to Stan once that the name, in free translation, means that now he's able to maintain the commandments of Judaism.
Being that Kyle's family was religious, he was even less cooperative during Friday nights and Saturdays. It came to that he stopped hanging out with them on those days altogether. When he and Stan became a couple, he even refused to make out with him, much to Stan's dismay.
Now, back to the Bar-Mitzvah: since it took place in the summer, Stan decided to take his role as best friend seriously and took it upon himself to make sure that Kyle won't go hungry during Yom-Kippur a couple of months later.
"Dude, Kyle, c'mon!" he said, waving a bag of Cheesy-Poofs in front of the redhead's face. Kyle narrowed his eyes at him suspiciously. Stan, seeing that Kyle wasn't following, elaborated: "You said that this year now you're a basmizerwhatever-"
"Bar-Mitzvah," Kyle corrected.
Stan nodded. "Yeah, you have to not eat on Tom-Keep-"
"Yom-Kippur," Kyle corrected again, cutting him mid-sentence.
"Yeah," Stan nodded again. "So you should fill up now, you know? So you don't get hungry again as quick," he explained himself to his still oblivious friend (later, Stan figured it was probably because he was already hungry but could not eat).
"Already did and I'm already fasting," Kyle told him, exasperated.
"But-" Stan tried, but was cut off again.
"On the Jewish calendar, days start at sundown," he explained. "Or rather holidays; at sundown the day before. Besides, you didn't expect me to be full after eating one bag of Chessy-Poofs! I'll go hungry again after only two hours!" then a pale Kyle said he was getting dizzy and went back home.
At seventeen, as Kyle's boyfriend and the town's favorite chef, Stan decided to cook Kyle dinner before the fast starts. So he dragged him to his house before sunset and proudly presented his elaborate dinner, which consisted of meats, fish, salads and brown rice. "What do you say?" Stan asked, smiling widely. "Much better than Cheesy-Poofs, isn't it?"
"Dude," Kyle said, eyes wide. "I- I can't eat that!"
Stan kissed his cheek. "Don't be shy! I made it especially for you!"
Kyle chucked nervously. "No, really. I can't! The dished aren't kosher!"
Stan stared, dumbfounded. "Wha- are you serious? You don't eat the dishes, Kyle!" he argued, wondering if his boyfriend was using (obviously) lame excuses for why he shouldn't eat what seemed gross to him.
Kyle laughed. "No, of course not! I mean… you have to separate the dishes for dairy foods and the dishes for meats." Then, seeing Stan's downcast expression, he hugged him and whispered in his ear "but thanks, anyway. I really appreciate it." Unfortunately, he couldn't stay (he had to eat something, after all) and returned home. Stan told his family that they could enjoy the meal, and as the four of them (grandpa included!) sat to the table and happily indulged themselves in eating, Stan could only frown at his dishes.
Stan, feeling utterly foolish, decided to make it up for Kyle with a Sukkoth Dinner. Again, he dragged Kyle from the warmth of his home (it was snowing by then in South Park) and proudly presented his well made dinner.
Kyle chuckled nervously, and Stan's heart sunk as he recognized that reaction. "Dude," he said, tugging at the collar of his shirt. "I can't eat that…"
"Now what? I bought two sets of dishes and pots especially for you!" Stan, who bought them two days after Kyle explained the matter to him, said.
"No, I know you did… but… it isn't in a Sukkah."
"What?" Stan asked, cocking an eyebrow. "What the fuck?"
"A Sukkah. You know, the thing I built with my dad the other day in the yard?" Kyle said, blushing lightly.
"What, you mean that cabin-like thing with palm branches instead of a roof?" Stan asked, recalling what he saw in Kyle's backyard.
"Yeah, that. During Sukkoth, we eat and drink there."
"Dude! It's like… freezing outside!" Stan argued, shocked that Kyle's religion would allow him to freeze to death.
Kyle laughed. "Don't worry, we have heaters there." And again, an apologetic hug and a kiss, and again Stan's family was overjoyed while he remained frowning.
The next holiday in line was Chanukah. Stan really didn't want to screw up, but really, he had no idea what counted as kosher and what didn't. He couldn't go and ask Kyle, because those dinners were meant to be a surprise (though Stan figured that Kyle could recognize a pattern already), so he went to the next best(?) thing: Eric Cartman.
Stan's logic regarding the matter was very simple, really: Cartman was always taunting Kyle about his religion, so he had to be quite knowledgeable. After all, he researched about Judaism every day so he could annoy Kyle in more sophisticated ways.
"So I want to cook a dinner for Kyle," Stan told him when he came to his house a few days before Chanukah, looking sheepish. His cheeks were flushed, though Cartman wasn't sure if it was because of his embarrassment or because of the cold.
"So you'd be able to finally screw him?" Cartman asked, smirking at him.
Stan's cheeks reddened more. "I'm not screwing him!" he argued, clenching his fists that rested near his thighs.
Cartman chuckled. "Of course not. He's screwing you- you're obviously the girl in this relationship," he said, throwing his head back and spinning on his chair, his arms crossed over his chest and that sly smile refusing to leave his lips.
Stan mumbled something incoherent in response, and then, remembering the reason for his visit, shook his head in order to clear his mind. "So I want to cook him dinner, right?" Cartman nodded. "But he claims that he can't eat because it isn't kosher, though I made sure to separate milk and meat, and there was no ham whatsoever!"
"And you're asking me for advice because…?" Cartman said, waving his hand in a circling motion, motioning for Stan to continue.
"Because I figured you'd know what is kosher and what is not. You know, since you seem to have so much fun researching this religion and then pestering Kyle the following day," Stan said, smiling a little despite of himself.
Eric Cartman frowned. "You know, Stan. If you're going to ask a favor, don't be so cynical and smart assed about it. Now I don't want to help you!"
Stan clicked his tongue in annoyance. "Come on, Cartman. I'm only asking for a simple explanation!" he cried.
Cartman pursed his lips as he thought over the matter at hand. "Ten bucks," he said, eventually.
"What!" Stan exclaimed, though he reprimanded himself mentally, thinking that he should have expected as much from the fat, manipulative bastard.
"Nothing's for free in this world, my dear Stanley." Stan frowned at the name. "If you want my help, I want yours."
"Why don't you just ask your mother for the money, fatass?" Stan hissed through clenched teeth.
Cartman shook his index finger at him as if he were a mere child. "Now, now, Stanley. This isn't how you should be asking a favor," he said, smiling.
Stan fought the urge to punch him in the face and muttered something incoherent that sounded awfully like curses under his breath. He reached for the wallet in his back pocket and pulled out the bill, narrowing his eyes at the smirking Cartman, who gladly accepted the cash.
"Now," the overweight teen started. "What is it that you wanted my help with?"
"What is counted as Kosher," Stan stated, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides, his glare unrelenting. Though, of course, Cartman paid it no heed.
"Let's see now… kosher… kosher… oh, yeah! All the crap that Jews like your little bitch are eating!" he chuckled as Stan's right eye twitched. "No, wait… I forgot. You're his little bitch."
"Enough joking around, Cartman!" Stan yelled, his teeth gritting in his anger and the blush returning.
"Do I look like I'm joking around?" he replied, blinking stupidly at Stan, who smacked his forehead in frustration. Cartman sighed. "Fine, fine. As for meat, the Jewish law states that every animal with a cloven hood and that chews its cud is kosher. The animals have to eat vegetation. As for seafood, shellfish, like shrimps and lobsters, aren't kosher. Regular-" and here he signaled quotation marks with his index and middle fingers, "-fish need to have fins and scales, and the scales must be translucent and detachable, so when cutting them off the skin will remain untouched. Regarding birds… I think most are kosher by tradition. Now, I do know there are some exceptions, but I suggest you'd Google it or something."
Stan blinked once, then blinked twice, then mentally slapped himself again for not thinking of Googling it in the first place. Mourning his not-so-well spent ten dollars, he asked: "why the fuck do you know so much?"
Cartman waved it off. "To sabotage Kyle's food, of course. Why else?"
"You're such a fatass, son of a bitch, Cartman."
Cartman smiled a sly smile and shook his index finger at Stan slowly. "Uh uh uh! A fatass, son of a bitch with ten dollars in his possession."
Stan frown deepened. "You're starting to act like Kenny, Cartman." Then, without delivering proper goodbyes, he turned around and left.
Upon his return home he indeed Googled the term, mostly because he suspected that Cartman had told him the complete opposite of what he wanted to hear. To his surprise, Cartman was telling the truth. Since he really didn't want to take the risk (Kyle was rather picky), he decided to buy the needed ingredients in the nearby town, where there was a store with kosher foods. Kyle mentioned it to him once or twice, complaining that his parents sent him there almost every week as soon as he got his driver's license.
Come Chanukah, Kyle was once again dragged by Stan to enjoy (in theory, by how it usually went) an elaborate dinner. "I even went to that store you go to in order to buy the ingredients." Stan said, smiling proudly at the loaded table. "Everything for my Kyle," he said and snaked an arm around his boyfriend's waist.
He watched as Kyle blinked, scratched the back of his neck nervously, then sighed. "I really appreciate it, Stan." Stan debated whether he should just kill him and get it over with. "But… I… I'm kind of… fasting today."
Stan felt like he was being punched in the stomach and even doubled over in surprise. "What?" he asked, out of breath.
"I have to undergo a test tomorrow at the hospital, something about my diabetes," he explained, and hugged Stan tightly when he noticed the tears of frustration that welled up in his eyes. "I'm sorry," he whispered into his shoulder and kissed him on the lips, not really moving them but rather keeping them in place, trying to comfort the distraught raven-haired boy.
After Kyle left, Stan punched his pillow repeatedly as tears ran down his cheeks, cursing inwardly, as his family enjoyed the meal downstairs.
At Purim, Stan made the holiday cakes, known as Haman Ears; some kind of a pastry (which looked utterly repulsive) with all kinds of fillings, like poppy or date. Kyle accepted the gift, and asked what about the promised dinner. Stan explained that their oven broke down, so he had to use uncle Jimbo's, and since he didn't want to bother him for too long he made only the pastry. Besides, and this he did not say aloud, the biggest surprise is for Passover.
Kyle told him he was doing the Seder night at his cousins' house in Denver with his family (and he told him that that particular morning), so Stan decided to make a Seder night of their own when Kyle returned a couple of days later. Unfortunately, Stan failed to do his research yet again, and again Kyle fidgeted uncomfortably next to him when he presented his newest dinner.
"Uh… Stan… you do know what a matzo is, right?" Stan nodded. "And do you know why we eat it on Passover?"
"Uh… not really."
Kyle sighed. "We can't eat flour. This… those meatballs are with flour, right? and so is that pasta… and those chicken wings…" Stan slowly slid to the floor beside him, numb. "I thought it was common knowledge."
"Go away," Stan mumbled, burying his face in his hands.
"Stan-" Kyle tried, reaching his arm to touch his boyfriend's shoulder, but Stan slapped it away.
"Just go!" he cried and turned his head away.
"I'm sorry," Kyle said and left Stan to fume by himself, and Stan's family to enjoy the dinner that was especially made for him.
"I hope you'll always screw up like that, turd!" Shelly told him as Stan invited them to the table. He made a mental note to himself to poison her food next time.
At Shavuot the matter repeated itself, because Stan cooked meats and Kyle said it was a tradition to eat dairy products on this holiday. Stan fumed, Kyle apologized, they fought for a bit and the next thing Stan knew he was lying naked next to his lover, panting heavily. "If this is make-up sex," Stan said between pants, "we should fight more often."
Kyle smiled in return.
On Friday nights, Stan never called Kyle (because he turned his cell phone off then), and didn't see him, either. When he passed by his house one summer night during his evening jog, however, he noticed the Broflovskis around the dining table, eating a fancy dinner. Stan blinked, unsure of what to make of the matter. The next holiday, the Jewish New Year, was to be celebrated only two months later.
"Friday dinner," Kyle explained when Stan asked him about it the following night. "The Shabbat is a sort of a holiday, too." Stan wondered why he didn't kill him when he had the chance.
"Why didn't you say so?" he asked, amazed.
"You never asked!" was the simple answer.
Stan never cooked as he did the next Friday. He kicked his family out of the house ("But I want to see Stan fail!" Shelly argued), he made new courses, seasoned expertly, baked to perfection and set a romantic dinner table, with candles and flowers and the works. Kyle wasn't surprised when Stan came to get him a couple of hours after sunset (though his family argued, saying he should eat with them on Friday).
"It was supposed to be a surprise," Stan said, smiling lightly. Kyle laughed. "I cooked in separate pots, even. And the dessert is parve. The ingredients were bought at the store out of town you go to, and I made sure that nothing was still on the stove or in the oven when the sun set. You can rest assured." Stan was glad to feel the fingers of the Jewish male's hand enveloping his own. "Any complaints?" he asked, turning to the redhead with a slight blush on his cheeks.
Kyle shook his head, smiling widely. "It's perfect," he said and turned his head to look at his boyfriend, slowly edging closer until their faces were mere inches apart. "Besides," he said in a low and husky voice, his eyes fluttering close. "I like Friday night dinners better than holiday ones." Their lips locked in a gentle kiss then, the dinner momentarily forgotten.
Author's Note: Parve is a term used for foods which are not meat or diary (like fish, for example). I hoped you enjoyed, please leave a review!