Exotic Kosher Dinner Keeps Menu Options Open

The JTA reports,

Diners feasted on quail, cow udder, venison, goat, bison and other exotic meats at a special Orthodox Union dinner. After a daylong conference in New York on how to recognize appropriate species of animals and make them kosher, diners met Sunday at Manhattan’s Levana restaurant for a meal of hard-to-get kosher meats. The purpose was to perpetuate Jewish traditions about certain kosher animals that rarely are eaten today, O.U. officials said. The $161-per-person dinner also included pigeon, dove and sparrow soup; wild turkey — both the bird and the bourbon; and sheep stew.

Apparently, there’s a tradition which says that if we don’t eat certain kosher foods every-so-often, then they lose their kosher status, and we’re no longer permitted to eat them. The foods must be eaten at least once in every generation—and thus the tradition of properly preparing them must be passed down—in order to retain their mesorah and remain on our provincial menu.

Giraffe, for example, is technically a kosher food, because giraffes have split hooves and chew their cud. But since we’ve lost the tradition of how to properly shecht (ritually slaughter) the creature, we’re no longer permitted to eat them. Good news for Geoffry, the Toys R’ Us mascot; but I suppose bad news for us. 🙂

Here’s an interesting question, though, raised to me by my friend Byce: The Torah says we’re permitted to eat crickets, locusts and grasshoppers. But how do you properly shecht a grasshopper? We don’t have to shecht them, I’m told, because only mammals need to be shechted. But, are we allowed to eat them alive? It doesn’t seem we should be. So how do you properly kill a grasshopper before eating it?

[Update] Protocols explores grasshopper kashrut.

6 thoughts on “Exotic Kosher Dinner Keeps Menu Options Open

  1. yes anonymous, we do know, but since no one has ever done it in this generation, no one can, it is forbidden to kill.

  2. While I applaud the OU in their continuing service to the Jewish people by keeping pigon kosher for future, this feast seems distinctively un-Jewish (turkey on white bread with mayo un-Jewish), like a Roman feast. It reminds me of the Simpsons when Homer says he feels like God, and then Marge asks him what kind of breakfast meet he wants that morning. “Bring me two of every animal,” he replies, as the cat and dog sneak away.

  3. Giraffe is kosher and there is no halachic (legal) reasons that any person could not eat it .the only reason it is not on sale is that the cost of shechting (slautering) a girraffe and the practicality of doing so (since they are so big they are hard to restrain) are the only reasons why we do not eat giraffe not becasue of tradition.

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