Yalla Giant Supermarket! These Are The Israeli Products We Want!

— by Ronit Treatman

Ani rotze Milky!

“Milky!  Tell them I want my Milky!” replied a two-year-old Israeli when asked what he wished he could buy here.  “Milky” is a chocolate pudding snack.  This child was a customer at the Wynnewood Genuardi’s kosher section.  Lower Merion Township is home to a large Jewish community, of which a sizeable subset is made up of Israelis. They are very well educated, affluent, and in the United States for continuing education or work. Like their Jewish American counterparts, they buy many of their kosher and specialty foods at Genuardi’s.  The acquisition of Genuardi’s by Giant Supermarkets is an opportunity for this Israeli community to express what it wishes was available in the kosher section. There are no definite statistics of the population size of Israelis in Lower Merion. I surveyed over 200 Israeli families in order to obtain these results.

More after the jump.
Israeli residents really miss their dairy products! One desperate father told me he spent an hour locating “Milky” pudding snacks for his shrieking toddler. “Milky” is a delicious chocolate pudding snack topped with whipped cream.  It is produced by the Strauss Company. All the Israeli adults I questioned crave imported cottage cheese from Tnuva. They also yearn for assorted types of Feta. These are staples of the Israeli diet.

In the last thirty years, Israel has seen the growth of kosher artisanal cheese producers. They turn out unique, very high quality cheeses. The Israeli consumers really desire them. The following companies are great sources of these cheeses.

Barkanit Dairy

  • Barkanit, Brakin Farm, Kfar Yechezkel, Israel, Telephone: 972-4-6531431

This dairy produces sheep and goat’s milk cheeses in Northern Israel. Barkanit’s cheese makers learned their craft in Spain and France. They are famous for their French-influenced fresh cheeses coated with ash, and firm, Spanish-inspired cheeses.

Gad Dairy

Located in Central Israel, Gad dairy crafts cheeses from the milk of cows, sheep, and goats. Among their coveted offerings are the Tsfafit (Safed) Cheese, Kashkaval, Syrian Haloumi style cheese, and Bulgarian Feta.

It was really difficult to conduct this survey. The Israeli community tends to remain almost invisible. Food is very important in the Israeli home, and Israeli customers are prepared to pay for quality. I hope that the management of Giant Supermarkets will take this demographic into account when planning their new store in Wynnewood. Israeli parents residing in Lower Merion and its environs will be eternally grateful!  

Where Less Can Be More

–by Rabbi Avi Shafran

“Can she have a cookie with a Pentagon-K on the box?” the voice on the phone asked and, after receiving my polite but negative response (a Pentagon-K?-now the Defense Department’s in the kashrus business? Who knew?), responded, “Fine, I’ll leave those in the cupboard.”

More after the jump.

It was the sort of conversation (emphasis on “sort”) that my wife and I had more than occasionally during the 1980s and early 1990s, when we lived in a city with only a small Jewishly observant community, and our children’s friends included not only other frum (observant) kids but children from less-observant families. The parents of those children knew that our kosher standards-whether regarding food, activities or entertainment-were different from theirs. And when our kids visited their homes, our less-observant neighbors-no less than we did for their visiting children with food sensitivities or allergies-took pains to make sure all special needs were fully accommodated.

Some might consider that situation clumsy, uncomfortable, even dangerous. But to us it was invaluable. We are grateful to G-d that we were able to live “out of town” for so long and only moved to New York (compelled by circumstances) after most of our children’s formative years.

Admitting that fact tends to raise eyebrows-at least those of people who never actually lived in a small frum community. “Come on,” the eyebrows’ owners respond, “you don’t mean to say that an environment with fewer frum Jews and Jewish educational opportunities, with more challenges to observance and more “foreign” influences, is superior, do you?”

Well, put that way, I’m hesitant to respond. But still and all, there are advantages to precisely such an environment.

Yes, in a large observant community, there are like-minded people pretty much everywhere you look, synagogues of all manner of custom; Maariv, or evening-prayer services at any hour of the night, meat restaurants and pizza places and kosher bakeries galore. Men’s and women’s yeshivos and seminaries of varied stripes, ritual holiday objects available seasonally on street corners, choices of study partners and observant neighbors, study halls and Torah classes. There are wedding halls and, may their services not be needed, Jewish burial societies.

And yet, the other side of the scales holds treasures of its own, some of them even born of the lack of religious amenities.

Variety may be the spice of life, and religious customs are certainly important. But when the numbers of “shul Jews” in a community are only sufficient to populate one or two places of prayer, Jews of different stripes have no choice but to worship among others whom, were they all living in a big city, they might never have met, much less bonded with as friends. Dearths of eateries are offset by increases in invitations for celebrations and Sabbath meals.

Torah classes and study partners? Well, out-of-town does mean fewer opportunities. But more impetus, too, to take advantage of what is available (and less ability to lay low and think no one will notice).  Being an integral part of a necessarily cohesive, small community, moreover, rather than a nameless member of a large one demands of a Jew that he or she not only write a check to the burial society or Eruv Committee but become an actual, active participant in such endeavors.

It is true that large observant communities can provide a measure of healthy insularity from the surrounding culture. But hard as the residents of religious neighborhoods may try to keep “the city” at bay, it will always have ways of infiltrating our enclaves. And metropolises tend to cook up the worst stews of challenges to Torah mores and proper behavior.

Smaller cities are hardly oases of healthy mores and manners. But the challenges they present are of a different order than those of New York or Los Angeles. Traditional values and civility are less rare, and more readily inform public discourse and behavior.

Out of town living isn’t for everyone. But Jews in the most heavily Jewish neighborhoods of frumdom could do worse than consider-if their work and family circumstances allow, and their spouses agree-the thought that leaving the plethora or shuls and bakeries behind and becoming important members of less endowed environments might just turn out to be the best decision they ever made.

European Rabbis Slam Dutch Ban on Jewish Slaughter

–by the Conference of European Rabbis

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) has slammed a decision by the Dutch parliament to ban Jewish religious slaughter.

CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt called the ban an outrage in that it would prevent Jews from living a Jewish life in The Netherlands.

“We have passed the stage of arguing the nuances of intention of anti-Semiitsm. The practical effects of this bill mean that Jews are no longer welcome in The Netherlands. This has not happened for 70 years,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.

On Tuesday, the Dutch lower house passed a bill banning all meat which is not stunned before slaughter.

The effect of this legislation will see the banning of kosher and halal slaughter.
Rabbi Goldschmidt said that “on the basis of flawed and agenda-based science and merely to appease an ill-informed Animal Welfare Lobby, the Netherlands has thrown away centuries of liberalism, human rights, welcome and tolerance for Jews.”

“We will not rest until this discriminatory, intolerant and hateful bill is thrown out. We call upon the members of the Dutch Senate to use their constitutional powers to restore the dignity of their country,” Rabbi Goldschmidt said.    

The Conference of European Rabbis federates Jewish religious leaders in over 40 European states and includes all the continent’s chief rabbis and senior rabbinical judges. The CER holds consultancy status as an NGO at the Council of Europe and within the institutions of the European Union.  

Four Questions for a Young Israeli Social Entrepreneur

Dyonna Ginsburg
Dyonna Ginsburg is the Executive Director of Bema'aglei Tzedek ("Circles of Justice"), an Israeli NGO that uses cutting-edge educational tools and social action campaigns to create a more just Israeli society informed and inspired by Jewish values. Upon completing her B.A. in political science at Columbia University, Dyonna Ginsburg made Aliyah in 2002 and obtained an M.A. in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. Dyonna is a frequent guest lecturer and has appeared on Israel's Channel Two TV, Galei Tzahal and Reshet Bet radio.

1. Your mission statement speaks of "empowering the next generation of young Israelis to engage their Jewish identity and become powerful agents of social change." How are you finding the response from young Israelis to you call for action?

The cynics among us point to an Israeli society that is moving away from a collective identity to radical individualism, and lament the bygone days of a pioneering spirit. My experience, however, is very different. On a day to day basis, I encounter hundreds of young Israelis who care deeply about shaping our society and are willing to give of themselves to create better and more just communities. In the early days of the state, we needed pioneers to build the country's physical infrastructure. Nowadays, we need pioneers to build the country's spiritual and ethical infrastructure. Many young Israelis, religious and secular alike, are looking for opportunities to return to their Jewish roots, and in particular to Jewish learning, as a source of inspiration for the pursuit of justice.

More after the jump.
2. Your Tav Chevrati is "a seal of approval granted free of charge to restaurants and other businesses that respect the legally-mandated rights of their employees and are accessible to people with disabilities." Can you describe the typical encounter you have with a business owner when you first raise this issue with them?

The Tav Chevrati has succeeded in reaching a tipping point in Jerusalem, where over a third of restaurants and cafes bear our certificate. In Jerusalem, there is now a waiting list of restaurants who have turned to us and are currently awaiting our approval. For the most part, these restaurants are interested in the Tav Chevrati not because they are more ethical than others; rather, because they understand the economic power of the certificate. As such, it is not really accurate to speak of our "first raising the issue" with restaurant proprietors. Instead, the restaurant owners are the ones who first raise the issue with us. One chef, who is the co-owner of three exclusive restaurants in Jerusalem, recently told us that, even though he doesn't personally connect to the ideas underlying the Tav Chevrati, one out of two of his customers demands to see the Tav Chevrati. In his own words: "If you can't beat them, join them!" This chef-owner, like 90% of the business proprietors who have received the certificate, had to make concrete changes – changes that cost him money – in order to abide by our certificate and its legally-mandated standards.

3. Israelis speak about the divide between the secular and the orthodox communities, but it seems that you work in both worlds, and try to combine them. Can you share the challenges and successes you are experiencing in that effort?

Bema'aglei Tzedek is unique on the Israeli scene, as our staff, volunteers and target populations transcend religious and political lines. I often say with pride that, in the last Knesset elections, every person on staff voted for a different political party. This reflects the true diversity of our activists. And, yet we manage to sit around the same table and find common ground, rallying around issues that should be consensus – fair labor practices, accessibility to people with disabilities, etc. – but all too often are not.

Bema'aglei Tzedek believes that a Jewish State is not just about public ritual observances, such as the fact that there is no public transportation on Shabbat or that Jewish holidays are official state holidays, but that it is also about the ethical fiber of this society – about taking care of the "orphan, widow and stranger in our midst."

4. How can Diaspora Jews be involved in your efforts?

If you ask a typical restaurant proprietor in Jerusalem which is a more important target population – local Israeli customers or the tourist population – the vast majority will respond: tourists. As such, the Tav Chevrati is the one initiative I can think of in which someone, who is visiting Israel, doesn't know a word of Hebrew, and knows little about the culture, can make an even greater impact than an Israeli peer just by buying a cup of coffee and telling the waiter that he or she came because of the Tav Chevrati. Jews from abroad, therefore, have an important role to play in the ultimate success of this homegrown Israeli initiative. For a list of Tav-certified opportunities or to find out other volunteer or donation opportunities, check out our website www.mtzedek.org.il

Reprinted courtesy of Ameinu http://www.ameinu.net

For Your Next Kosher Occasion: Chef Joseph Poon!

Ronit Treatman

Did you know you could have your kosher simcha catered by a kung fu master who studied with Bruce Lee?  Chef Joseph Poon offers fascinating tours of Chinatown, fruit sculpting lessons, and of course, fabulous kosher food.  

Whether your guests want matzah ball soup that tastes like your Lithuanian grandmother just cooked it, or authentic cuisine from Hong Kong, this master chef can do it all.  Best of all, he can help you plan a fun, exciting, and original celebration.

More after the jump.
Joseph Poon was born in Hong Kong, and attended elementary school with Bruce Lee.  They studied kung fu together.  At school, he also learned the art of Chinese calligraphy.  Joe started his culinary career at Cathay Airlines.  At age twenty-six, he set out to see the world.  In 1972, he visited Israel, spending time in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.  It was here that he saw his first tabun, and tasted his first loaf of bread straight out of the wood-fired brick oven.  In Hong Kong, food is steamed or stir fried, but not baked.  Chef Poon loved the crusty loaf, and the soft, spongy interior.  After spending some time in England, he settled in the United States.  He studied nutrition and classical Italian cuisine at SUNY College at  Oneonta. Chef Poon had lots of Jewish classmates in Oneonta.  “I’m a Chinese Jew!” he tells me.   Joseph cooked for many of their simchas. He taught himself traditional Eastern European Jewish recipes from cookbooks in the Oneonta library to please his friends families’ palates.  Following graduation, he settled in Philadelphia.

How does he make sure everything is kosher?  Joseph Poon starts every Kosher catering assignment with a brand new wok and cooking chopsticks.  It is possible for his clients to hire a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) from the Orthodox Vaad of Philadelphia (215) 725-5181.  Another source of mashgichim is the Rabbinical Assembly.  Chef Poon will follow the supervisor’s directions in order to comply with the rules of Kashrut.  Joseph Poon has experience working with synagogues, having taught cooking classes at Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and at Temple Sinai in Summit, New Jersey .  His specialties include gluten-free foods and dairy-free foods.   Chef Poon uses kosher fish to make traditional Chinese dishes.  One example is:

Chef Poon’s Steamed Whole Sea Bass With Ginger And Scallions  

  • One whole cleaned fresh Striped Bass
  • 1/2 cup diced ginger
  • Diced scallion
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. hot sesame oil

Sprinkle salt, ginger, and scallion on top of the fish.  Steam the Striped Bass for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the fish).  After cooking the fish, add the light soy sauce and hot sesame oil.  Serve immediately.

Joseph Poon is full of fun and energy!  That is what the occasions he plans are like.  While working at Cathay Airlines, Joseph Poon observed one of the master chefs creating beautiful fruit sculptures to garnish the dishes of the first class customers.  Joseph bought 50 lbs. of potatoes to learn how to make vegetable roses.  He experimented and discovered that if he submerged his potato roses in a water and white vinegar solution in a clear glass bowl, they would not oxidize, remaining white.  Chef Poon has elevated fruit and vegetable sculpting into an art form.  You can learn how to make some of his fruit and vegetable sculptures from his cookbook, Life Is Short…Cooking Is Fun.  For something different at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, he can teach the guests how to carve their own vegetable sculptures.  Teenagers growing up with the Iron Chef television program love the opportunity to learn how to make something special with food.  At the end of the party, the guests may know how to carve a pig out of a lemon, and then by squeezing it, make it “pee” lemon juice on someone’s hand.

Chef Poon organizes very creative bridal showers. Under his guidance, the bride and her guests learn how to make their own kosher sushi. The mothers of the bride and groom get to handle really sharp knives while prepping the ingredients!  This sushi makes for a lovely, light repast.  As a special treat, custom fortune cookies can be ordered.  Inside the cookies, Jewish blessings are inscribed!

The most special birthday party I ever planned was Joseph Poon’s  Wok’N Walk tour of Chinatown.  Joe loves kids, and they love him!  He took a group of 10-year old children on an insider’s tour of Chinatown.  First, we went to a restaurant supply store where he showed us the special equipment used in Chinese cuisine.  We saw woks, ginger graters, noodle strainers, and many other interesting items.  Chef Poon asked the children questions about what they were seeing, and awarded them prizes.  They loved that!  We kept going, visiting a Buddhist Temple, and standing on the sidewalk as the Chinese New Year Lion dance pranced past us, and really loud fireworks were set off.  Joe taught us how to say “gong hey fat choy” which means “happy new year” in Chinese.  He took us to a Chinese bakery, where we tasted bubble tea, a sweet, milky tea in which tapioca “pearls” are suspended.  Now that we were re-energized, we followed him to the bookstore, where he demonstrated the art of Chinese calligraphy using special brushes and ink.  We went to a secret underground Chinese supermarket, where Chef Poon showed us traditional herbal medicines, exotic fruits, vegetables, teas, and fish that were so fresh they were still swimming in an aquarium.  Where is this mysterious market?  My elementary krav maga skills are no match for Chef Poon’s martial arts abilities.  My lips are sealed!  Chef Poon concluded the tour with a visit to a fortune cookie factory.  We saw the special conveyor belts, which take round discs of dough through an oven, place a fortune on each cookie while it was still hot, and then pinch it into the familiar fortune cookie shape.  We tasted chocolate, vanilla, and orange flavored fortune cookies.  All this exploring gave us a big appetite, so we went back to Chef Poon’s restaurant.  He prepared crispy vegetarian spring rolls, two types of chicken, rice, and stir fried vegetables.  To conclude the meal, he not only served a beautiful birthday cake, but also his homemade almond cookies.  

Joseph Poon has been invited back to Israel many times since 1972.  His Jewish friends from Oneonta want him to attend their families’ bnai mitzvahs and weddings in Jerusalem.  I asked him, “What would you like to see the most on your next visit?”  He answered, “A menu in a Chinese restaurant, written in Hebrew!”

Do You Dare Eat A Locust?

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Ronit Treatman

When Abraham and Sarah embarked on their journey from Ur to Canaan, what snacks did they bring along? It is safe to imagine that Sarah packed some roasted, ground locusts in a leather bag. Locust powder was the ancient energy food of the Near East. This non-perishable food was taken on long trips by caravan traders. Entomophagy (eating insects) has persisted in the Middle East and Africa to this day. Locusts are the only insects permitted for kosher consumption in the Torah. The tradition of eating locusts remains in the Yemenite Jewish community. If you are brave and adventurous enough, it is possible to reach back to the origins of our Jewish tradition, and taste the original protein energy food.  

What are locusts?

For the past 5,000 years, the desert locust has swarmed through Africa and the Middle East. Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. They breed quickly and grow into nymphs. They keep growing until they become adults. If conditions are right, adult grasshoppers transform themselves into locusts. This occurs if it is warm and rainy. The grasshoppers reproduce at a rate that is too great for them to be sustained by the vegetation where they live. If these grasshoppers feel too many other grasshoppers brush up against them, then their serotonin level changes, causing them to swarm and migrate to a different place with more food. It is at this swarming phase that grasshoppers change into locusts.  As they migrate, the locusts eat all the plant life that they encounter along the way. Swarms of locusts are huge, and some have been estimated to have 250 billion creatures. Locusts can fly up to 125 miles a day, at a maximum speed of about 50 miles per hour, up to a height of 6,500 feet above sea level. Each locust eats about two grams of plants daily, an amount equal to the their body mass.

An ancient culinary tradition

 According to Dr. Zohar Amar, the head of the Land of Israel studies at Bar-Ilan University, locusts were a common food during the period of the Mishnah (200 C.E.) and the Talmud (500 C.E.). The earliest written record describing the consumption of insects in Israel is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In a book called Berit Damesek, we find the this rule: 

And all of the grasshoppers of their kinds shall be brought in fire or water while still alive for this is the law of their creation.

[Damascus Document XII. Locusts become bitter very quickly after they die due to chemical changes that occur in their bodies. In order to avoid this, they must be cooked while still alive. This is probably the reason for this directive. During the Middle Ages, locusts were no longer being consumed in Europe. The tradition has remained in Israel, North Africa and Yemen to this day.

Are Locusts Kosher?

According to the Torah, certain types of locusts are permitted. In Parshat Shemini, the Torah instructs: 

Every flying insect that uses four legs for walking shall be avoided by you. The only flying insects with four walking legs that you may eat are those which have knees extending above their feet, [using these longer legs] to hop on the ground. Among these you may only eat members of the red locust family, the yellow locust family, the spotted gray locust family and the white locust family. All other flying insects with four feet [for walking] must be avoided by you. 

This is further elaborated in the Talmud, in Tractate Chullin 59a, 65a-66b and Tractate Avodah Zara 37a, the Mishna states in Chullin: 

Any kind of grasshopper that has four walking legs, four wings, two jumping legs and whose wings cover the greater part of its body is kosher.

Locusts are a pareve staple. In Chullin 8:1, we learn that locusts are classified like fish. They may be prepared with milk. Like fish, there is no requirement of ritual slaughter for locusts. People were especially thankful to have them during times of famine. When they swarmed, they were caught and preserved so they could be eaten over a long period. After they were captured, their wings were detached, and they were peeled. The locusts were then boiled or pickled in vinegar or preserved in salt. Special barrels called gevonta were used to pickle the locusts. The barrels for salting them were called heftek. It is not enough that the Torah tells us that locusts are kosher. A continuous, living tradition of eating locusts, transmitted from one generation to the next, is required for them to be permitted. This is called mesorah. The long-standing tradition of eating locusts still exists in some Egyptian, Moroccan and Yemenite Jewish communities in Israel. Members of these communities are skilled in identifying which locusts are kosher. The locusts they identified were desert locusts. They have a mark on their chests that looks like the Hebrew letter Chet. Place your arrow on the fourth picture from the left at the top of the page to see it. Even Jews who are not of Yemenite or Moroccan background are permitted to eat these locusts, based on this mesorah.

The blessing over locusts

Which blessing do we say over locusts? In the Mishnah (Berahkos 6:3), we are instructed that:

over soured wine or unripe fallen fruits or over locusts one should say,  Blessed are you, G-d, King of the Universe, by whose word all things  exist.

Locusts are very nutritious 

Locusts are high in protein, iron, zinc, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and essential fatty acids. They are low in cholesterol. Vendors in the Ahsa market in eastern Saudi Arabia claim, 

that by eating locusts you can cure diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Allergy information

People who are allergic to seafood will also be allergic to locusts. This is because the exoskeleton of the locust, like that of shrimp or lobsters, is made of a type of glucose called chitin.

Locusts are good for the environment

Locusts are not only nutritious; they are also helpful in sustaining our environment. It is very efficient to grow locusts for food. These micro-livestock are cold-blooded animals, and do not need to consume food to keep themselves warm. They reproduce quickly in captivity, and take little time to grow into adults. Locusts produce twice as much protein as chickens, and six times as much protein as cows from the same amount of food consumed. In Thailand, locust farms are one of the preferred businesses for women. Their low start up costs, small size, and the negligible amount of waste that they produce make them an excellent opportunity for these women to support their families. Locusts should get the Eco-Kashrut (for protecting the environment) and Hechsher Tzedek (for enabling these women to earn a fair living) seals of approval!

What do locusts taste like?

One intrepid traveler to Thailand reports that dry, seasoned locust tastes a bit like toasted sunflower seeds. Others report a meaty/nutty taste.

Where can you acquire locusts to sample?

There is a laboratory in Israel in which certified Kosher, organic, pesticide-free, restricted range locusts are grown. They are not for sale to the general public. In order to taste them, you have to go to the Mesorah dinner. The Mesorah dinner is a meal organized by Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky to teach about kosher animals, and to transmit the tradition of eating them from one generation to another, in order to preserve their kosher status. These dinners have been held in New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. To participate in one of these dinners, please  click here. The only locusts that I could find for sale are not certified kosher. To determine kashrut, you will need to find a knowledgeable Yemenite Jew to check them for you. A really good resource is Congregation Tifereth Yisrael, The Yemenite Synagogue of Manhattan. Their mission is

to preserve the sanctity of the Yemenite laws and customs which have remained unchanged for nearly 2000 years.

The locusts I found are Thai grasshoppers; cooked in lemon grass, lime leaf, galingale (from the ginger family), garlic, salt, and soy sauce. They arrive dehydrated and vacuum packed. You may order them online. Because they are considered a destructive pest for crops, live grasshoppers are not sold to retail customers in the United States. Those of you adventurous enough to cook live locusts will need to catch your own grasshoppers. Desert locusts are nicknamed "the sky prawn". 

Like shellfish, they are caught with nets when they swarm. You may use a butterfly net. If you go early in the morning, they move more slowly, especially after a cool night. Dr. Jason Weintraub, the collections manager of the department of entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, recommends going to Houston Meadow in the Wissahickon Valley to find grasshoppers. There is a path behind the tennis courts at the Houston Recreation Center that leads to the meadow.   According to Dr. Weintraub, there are dozens of grasshopper species in this region. Some of these creatures eat toxic or bitter plants whose chemicals protect them from predators. Certain grasshoppers could taste good to humans, and others could cause nausea. Of course, you will need to check with a knowledgeable Yemenite Jew if you have caught the right sort of grasshopper before you eat it!

Recipes from Israel's plague of 2004

In 2004, a swarm of locusts flew through Eilat. They denuded all the palm trees and ate every flower, stem, leaf, fruit, and seed that they encountered. Recipes for locust dishes were posted on a local website. Here are some adaptations you may try:

Locust Shish Kebab

  • Heat some hardwood charcoal in a bar-b-que.
  • Thread 12 locusts on a skewer.
  • Place the skewers over the hot coals, turning constantly to avoid burning the locusts.
  • The locusts are ready when they turn golden brown.
  • Remove the head, legs and wings before eating.

Locust Chips (French Fries)

Ingredients:

  • 12 Locusts
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Boil water in a pot. Heat the peanut oil in a pan over medium-low heat until it reaches 325 degrees F. Blanch the locusts in the hot water, and remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the locusts to the hot oil, continuously stirring to avoid burning. When the locusts turn a golden brown, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove the head, wings, and legs before eating. Serve immediately. May be served with ketchup.

In Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca, grasshoppers are a popular traditional dish. Following is a locust recipe with the flavors of the New World.

Mexican Locusts (Chapulines)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh locusts
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Lime

Cook the locusts in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, and remove the wings, legs, and heads. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, and stir until golden. Add the locusts, and fry until crunchy and golden. Sprinkle chili powder to taste. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the locusts. Serve immediately. May be served with rice, or in a taco shell with guacamole.

In the Mexican websites that I visited, grasshoppers and shrimp were interchangeable in the recipes. I have placed my order for dehydrated grasshoppers with Thai spices. When they arrive, I will need to have them examined by someone at Congregation Tifereth Yisrael. If they are kosher, it will be like eating kosher shrimp. Will I dare?