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June 14, 2009

In Brooklyn, about a mile south of us
Posted by Patrick at 03:09 PM *

Like everyone else, I wonder what Lutheran halal cuisine would entail. Doner kabab hot dish?

I won’t say “only in New York,” because that’s a lazy cliché. But it’s nonetheless very New York.

Comments on In Brooklyn, about a mile south of us:
#1 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:16 PM:

It is very New York! I am delighted. Also curious.

Field trip?

#2 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:34 PM:

That photo looks classically New York, too.

#4 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 03:58 PM:

I've always thought NYC was way up there in cost-of-living, but the prices on that menu are lower than what I see everyday here in Honolulu for comparable meals.

(HVCB, don't strike me dead!)

#5 ::: katre ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:13 PM:

Hate to spoil the surprise for everyone, but that place is a mile north of me. Which makes it about two blocks away from Lutheran Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals on southwest Brooklyn. So there is a large market of people there, some of whom want halal food.

Given that both my kids were born there and I keep (mostly) halal, that inckudes me! So yay for them!

#6 ::: John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:14 PM:

"Lutheran Halal Cafe" is the name of my next band.

#7 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:29 PM:

Here in Minneapolis, we have at least one halal butcher who makes up a "halal Swedish meatball mix" and advertises it in their shop window. Perhaps they have shared recipes with your cafe there.

#8 ::: Dave Robinson ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:35 PM:

I once saw a sign in Vancouver BC advertising "Cajun Barbecue Sushi."

I think that tops this - but not by much.

#9 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Wow, crossover!

I don't think we have one of those in Montreal. That's probably because we don't have a large community of Lutherans. There are some, I went to a concert in their church once, but not enough for there to be a huge demand for their cuisine, never mind the halal version of it.

#10 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Rather than 'only in New York' perhaps 'if anywhere, also in New York'.

#11 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:48 PM:

Back in the 70s and 80s in Cambridge Ma, there was a place called "Izzy's subs Y comidas hispanas". We figured that Izzy knew how to change as the neighborhood did.

#12 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 04:59 PM:

Katre @ 5 is correct -- it's about two blocks north of Lutheran Medical Center. Which is where Teresa was after her cardiac incident last September. It's still a lovely bit of New York mishmoshery, though.

#13 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:05 PM:

Who runs to the corner store to buy "briskit?" Absent minded mohelot on their ways to the neonate section of the hospital?

#14 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:11 PM:

So, in other words, it's simply a standard halal place named "Lutheran" after the nearby hospital.

#15 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:12 PM:

Oh, I'm sounding a lot more like Captain Obvious than I had noticed. Sorry.

#16 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:14 PM:

Linkmeister, I have also noted that it's pretty easy to eat good quality on the cheap in NYC, and I think that can in part be chalked up to the cities proximity to agricultural producers - upstate NY, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, for example. Plus there's the amount of competition and a population that can support a wide range of niche markets (vegetarian/vegan Korean tea house, anyone?). fwiw, we had a bunch of New Yorkers here recently for a wedding and they had rave reviews of some of the eateries in Honolulu (Cream Pot, 12th Ave Grill, and ShaveDice at the KCC farmers market in particular).

Arguably I could get a plate lunch here for $5 - $8 that would take care of my caloric needs for the day (and then some) but that's not the smartest move health-wise.

#17 ::: londonbard ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:16 PM:

There is a kosher Chinese restaurant in Golders Green, London. That must be a real cultural mix, too - but it's too expensive for me ever to have tried the food.

#18 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:18 PM:

Because they didn't put the diacritical mark in "café," I read this out loud as "Lutheran Halal Kay-ff." Somehow that's even better.

#19 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:41 PM:

NYC is actually full of vaguely plausible crossbreed cuisines, not just tony "fusion" food but crazy vernacular combinations.

#20 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:42 PM:

londonbard #17: Indeed, that's a common pattern in NYC. Lightly kosher-observant Jews(*) are big on Chinese restaurants, where you can pick the meats for each dish (and which are famous for taking special orders, with some hazards).

* That is, they don't insist that dishes and utensils be "pure". And remember that vegetarian food is almost automatically kosher (dish taboos notwithstanding).

#21 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 05:58 PM:

To clarify the above: That's even "regular" places. Chinese cuisine isn't big on dairy anyway (lots of lactose-intolerant Chinese), and they can afford to skip two meats out of their usual four (shrimp and pork, leaving chicken and beef). (There is vegetarian ur-pork around, but I'm not sure how a vegetarian shrimp would work.... ;-) )

Just goes to show you how ancient restrictions fall before the modern realism.... The original significance of the kosher laws was threefold -- it can be summed up as (1) what we eat is not what they eat (preparation and purity) (2) "you don't eat at their sacrifices", (specific prohibitions) (3) "you don't eat in their households, either" (dishes). They here, is pretty much those tribes the early Hebrews happened to be competing with in early Old Testament times.

#22 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:08 PM:

I know I mentioned this very recently, but it has to be reiterated here -- the place I drive by down in the Little India section called Halal Wok. Sooner or later I'll be there at a time when it's appropriate to stop in and try them out.

#23 ::: Adam Ek ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:12 PM:

We do a kosher swedish meatball mix with ground turkey substituting for the ground pork. Yum.

#24 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 06:13 PM:

m.k. @ #16, I suspect L&L might argue about the healthiness of their menu, but most lunch wagons (Mac salad and two scoop rice!) wouldn't even try.

I weep for the days of the midnight MickeyD's run for a $0.79 double cheeseburger. Washed down with a $1.33 six-pack of Bud.

#25 ::: Lisa ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Larry@11: Here in DC, a very common type of takeout place is a "Chinese food, chicken and subs" place. To further complicate things they also often carry bulgogi and pizza. The Chinese food is universally abysmal, but the other items are frequently not bad.

#26 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:19 PM:

Glatt kosher Chinese is found, I think, pretty much anywhere there is a sufficient supply of Orthodox Jews and Chinese to cook for them. There's at least one and I think two in Montgomery County here, and another up outside Baltimore. They cater our company functions at the office.

#27 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Did you know that the French word for 'lute' is 'luth', and is, not amazingly, is pronounced 'lute'? Oh, and 'lute' sounds like 'lutte', which is the word for 'wrestling'.

#28 ::: Dragoness Eclectic ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:40 PM:

We have a Kosher Cajun New York Deli down here in Metairie, Lousiana...

#29 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 07:51 PM:

Dave Robinson @ #8:

I once saw a sign in Vancouver BC advertising "Cajun Barbecue Sushi."

I think that tops this - but not by much.

Down the street a ways from my house is a fine emporium which is one of the holdovers from when the neighborhood was the former Scandosotan ghetto. One day I took PNH and TNH there, which led to a quote about Legolas and Scandosotan accents, and also led to us getting a jar of something as a joke. I mean, who could resist something labeled "Cajun Cream-Style Pickled Herring"?

Patrick and I ran into each other in the kitchen several hours later, each of us intending to finish off the small bit which was all that remained by then. Darned good stuff, in its weird way.

#30 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 08:10 PM:

Lisa @25, in NYC, it usually goes the other way around: Low-end Chinese takeout joints often carry fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, and similar fare in addition to the usual Americanized Chinese food.

#31 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 09:14 PM:

londonbard at #17: There is a kosher Chinese restaurant in Golders Green, London. That must be a real cultural mix, too - but it's too expensive for me ever to have tried the food.

Calvin Trillin wrote about that in The New Yorker about 30 years ago. On his say-so, we tried the place when we were in London about 25 years ago: and yes, it was a bit pricy, but pretty good.

In other cross-cultural cuisines: the town I grew up in had an Italian/Mexican couple who opened a place (now gone, sadly) called "Mike's Pizza Adobe".

#32 ::: Adelheid ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Pittsburgh also has at least one Kosher Chinese restaurant. There are also a few Korean and Sushi places which are pretty good. I learned to avoid the more far reaching combination places when I ate Mexican food at a Chinese/Mexican place in Greenwich Village years ago.

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 09:42 PM:

elise #29: Hah. I like creamed herring a lot, I'd probably even like Cajun picked herring...

An awful lot of foods dubbed "Cajun" seem to be so mostly by adding a particular set of spices... which I happen not to like. And yes, I've also had quality food cooked with (what I think was) the same basic spice mix, at the late, lamented NYC restaurant Cooking With Jazz.

#34 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:17 PM:

David Harmon @21, there's a Chinese restaurant here in CT with an extensive vegetarian/vegan menu in addition to its regular offerings, and they do, indeed, have vegan "shrimp" and "lobster." It's a molded and colored wheat gluten product, and I find the texture a little bit unsettling (unlike the vegan "chicken" which is a much closer match).

As an interesting aside, the vegan menu means that the restaurant draws a significant following of folks with shaved heads, full sleeve tattoos, and multiple piercings. Which is entertaining in a suburban strip mall.

#35 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:26 PM:

About 10-12 years ago, Chinese-run cheap Mexican restaurants started cropping up in NYC ("Fresco Tortilla" was the original chain, and imitators tend to adopt similar shop names in the "Famous Original" vein of the various Ray's Pizza outfits). One takeout place near Avram's and my place made the logical leap and serves both a Mexican and a Chinese menu. I've eaten from both sides of the menu with pleasure.

Incidentally, the Fresco Tortilla constellation is one of the best bargains in the city -- in a dozen years, at all the various locations, I've had a bad experience maybe twice. You can't beat a steak fajita on a freshly made flour tortilla for less than three bucks.

#36 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:33 PM:

Our local drive-through Chinese place started carrying a brand of fried chicken. I've only bought food there once, before they carried the fried chicken, and it was nasty. So I don't remember either brand name.

Though I think they started carrying the fried chicken to compete with the "We don't have that item right now" KFC that is about four buildings to the east.

So help me, the only couple of times I ever, ever went into that KFC, every item I asked for was out. The last time, I called my family in the lobby and asked what they wanted from Gates--barbecue just about six buildings west--and the manager tried to pick a fight with me. Totally ensured my not ever going their again just right.

#37 ::: Susie Lorand ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 10:39 PM:

Apparently the fusion of Cuban and Chinese cuisine has a longish history in NYC.

#38 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:03 PM:

I used to see a doctor who came from a small town in Alberta. The calendar from the restaurant there advertised "Mexican, Mennonite, and Canadian Food".

#39 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2009, 11:09 PM:

There is a restaurant not far from the San Diego airport that is, simultaneously:

1. A Denny's.
2. A steak house.
3. A Chinese restaurant.

We have never dared go in.

#40 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:26 AM:

A college friend had a podiatry practice in Queens. He was* a big eater, and very fond of "Chinese fried chicken." I'd never heard of it until, during a visit, we found a place in Glen Cove that carried the stuff. Skinny, small chicken, quartered and fried without breading and stained red with some kind of sauce. It was good, and very cheap. Served with fries, as I recall.

The same place had wonderful "cold sesame noodles," an Americanized Chinese dish I've only found on the East Coast.

* Still alive, but not eating much thanks to a "on dialysis" diet. Eating huge diner meals with this guy was one of the highlights of my trips back East.

#41 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:29 AM:

There's a Italian/Mexican place down the street from me. (It also has some small smatterings of Greek.)

And there used to be Carlos O'Brian's Mexican Restaurant, in Lancaster, NH, which I always really liked, in terms of interesting melting pot experiences. Never ate there, mind you...

#42 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:36 AM:

Another odd combo, see in in several places in the Bay Area:

Chinese Food & Donuts

Most of the Chinese-family-run donut places I've been don't seem to get them quite right. I'm not talking bad donuts, just vaguely off. One supplies my office on Free Donut Friday. Most of the varieties are just fine, but the "deep fried" items -- apple fritters -- are cooked in the wrong sort of oil and are ickily sweet. Some items have bizarre frosting choices. Like, maple and chocolate icing on a spiral "cinnamon" bun.

#43 ::: Rob T. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Once when visiting Seattle a few years ago, struck by the number and variety of ethnic eateries, I kept half-expecting to see a "teriyakeria" (or possibly a "teriaqueria") pop up somewhere or another.

#44 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:12 AM:

Your café is leading or following a trend.

. . . the halal food market has exploded in the past decade and is now worth an estimated $632 billion annually, according to the Halal Journal, a Kuala Lumpur-based magazine. That's about 16% of the entire global food industry.

That's a Time article from two weeks ago.

#45 ::: Linda Hafemeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:15 AM:

This really isn't so strange. There's a significant minority of Palestinians who are Christian, Lutheran specifically, concentrated in and around Bethlehem (yes, that Bethlehem). Their numbers have dropped over the years for a variety of reasons, including emigration -- and apparently some landed in New York.

In that context, I figure 'halal' is more of a shorthand for Middle-Eastern home cooking rather than the religiously-certified foods, although carrying halal foods would certainly expand their customer base!

#46 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:28 AM:

I was about to point out the proximity to Lutheran Medical Center, but katre @ 5 beat me to it!

When I was going to Polytechnic in Downtown Brooklyn, our favorite lunch spot was a place on Lawrence Street (since lost to the Metrotech development) called Sun Ho, notable for the neon sign in the window reading, "Comidas Chinas y Latinas."

The owners were Cuban-Chinese, and it was the only place I knew where you could get Beef with Soft Egg served with yellow rice and plantains if you wanted it. It was friendly, cheap and tasty.

#47 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:37 AM:

In LA there's Mashti Malone's Ice Cream. The storefront sign is in English and Farsi, and naturally also has a shamrock. Their Persian ice cream is damn good too; I particularly like the rosewater saffron with pistachios.

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:38 AM:

Rob, #43: Go for the middle road: "teriyaqueria"!

#49 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:20 AM:

Some people take issue with the slaughtering processes specified by halal rules, but, on what I know, I think their attitude, when they accept modern industrial meat processing, is two-faced to the point of racism.

Personally, my stomach prefers that I don't ask questions.

#50 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:25 AM:

There used to be a place in my neighborhood (Bell Gardens, Calif):

Alphy's Fish and Chips: Italian, Chinese, American Food.

This in a, "mexican" area.

I never thought of going in.

#51 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:45 AM:

We have several takeaways in our neighbourhood that offer pizza, pasta & kebabs by way of trying to cover as much of the takeaway market as possible.

#52 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:25 AM:

There's a Chinese takeaway that I pass on my way to and from work in Cambridge (UK) that I only recently noticed has a small notice in the window saying they serve halal food. (Normally I cycle past, but that day I was walking.)

#53 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:30 AM:

Avram @#30: I live in an isolated small town in Alaska. One of the oldest businesses in town happens to be an American-Chinese-American restaurant called the Peking Sizzler Burger. The burgers are so-so, but the fried chicken and onion rings are delectable and the ice cream shakes are the best in town. Also serves excellent fu yung and Buddha's delight and a beautifully delicate lineup of vegetable, egg flower, and won ton soups (the broth is Swanson's). Plus, if you go there during lunch on weekdays, you can get bento-style meals sent down from their other restaurant, the Second Floor. After 5 p.m. they will bring down sushi, also the best in town IMO. (The high-end Chinese restaurant uses too much cream cheese in the California roll. I think their best dishes are their desserts, frankly.)

#54 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 06:56 AM:

"Comidas Chinas y Latinas." The owners were Cuban-Chinese

ObSF: "Contraband" by George Foy, in which New York's fast food universe is dominated by Cubano-Chino food - at one point, the hero discovers that the reason all the menus are the same is that all the food is cooked by Big Chico Fong's organisation in one immense subterranean kitchen, and delivered by pipe from the bubbling vats to each supposedly independent restaurant.

That's the one with the mad Morton Thiokol engineer in the Bellevue mental hospital who smuggles in parts to build his own liquid-fuelled rocket in his ward...

#55 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 07:38 AM:

Ok, this is one of those threads where I saw the initial posting, didn't respond, and then had to take notes reading all the responses before I could sensibly comment.

On kosher Chinese food: agreed about it being almost anywhere there are enough observant Jews and one Chinese cook. Aside from the classic joke about Chinese food as the traditional Christmas meal of Jews (because it's all that's open), I have a childhood memory of a Chinese waiter (not on Christmas), noticing how my family ordered, asking, "Are you Jewish?" and then, "Ah, yes. Jews like Chinese food!"

On vegetarian lobster: there is (or used to be; I haven't been there in a few years) a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant in Boston with an entire menu of mock meats. They had an excellent lobster dish made, not from wheat gluten, but from very fine noodles. Regardless of what it was pretending to be, it was delicious.

On Cajun sushi: after all this discussion, I still have no idea what this would be, so I think it still wins the prize for odd cross-cultural combination.

On "teriyaqueria": I've never seen one, but I want to go.

In the brief period I lived in London a friend pointed out to me that, although KFC had long abandoned any mention of its "F" word, there were innumerable other restaurants called "Your-improbable-state's-name-here Fried Chicken". "Kansas Fried Chicken" particularly jumped out at me. Later, when I mentioned this to a Muslim co-worker, he mentioned that he loved those places. In his experience most were run by Muslim South Asians and were thus Halal, so he could get a meat meal there.


#56 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 07:44 AM:

BTW, I would also recommend Korean fried chicken as a worthy fusion. There's only one or two places that serve said birds in the wider DC area (aka Annandale VA) but I was glad I drove over the Potomac for it.

#57 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 07:49 AM:

David Harmon #21:  The original significance of the kosher laws was threefold -- it can be summed up as (1) what we eat is not what they eat (preparation and purity) (2) "you don't eat at their sacrifices", (specific prohibitions) (3) "you don't eat in their households, either" (dishes). They here, is pretty much those tribes the early Hebrews happened to be competing with in early Old Testament times.

Not knowing much about it, I’d supposed that some of the kosher/halal prohibitions were ritualised self-defence:  in the Middle East, if you eat inadequately cooked pig or shrimp (for example) you’re likely to get nasty things in your guts.

#58 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:07 AM:

John Stanning @ 57

For a long time (since I first started analysing my religion's dietary laws) I've been impressed by the fact that, while they may indeed be "not like you" they are also incredibly sensible for minimising food-borne disease - pork goes off quickly and is most likely to contain parasites transmissible to humans, shellfish are more likely than other fish to contain toxins and nasty bacteria (since they filter them out of the water) etc. Not mixing milk and meat (including keeping porous dishes apart) is also sensible from a bacteriological standpoint. Almost makes me believe in time travel - medically-knowledgeable person stuck back in time trying to minimise food-related illness in his/her adopted tribe. Or, more rationally, some back-then genius who observed that eating certain things led to more illnesses and had the "bad" things codified as prohibited in religious law.

#59 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:17 AM:

John Stanning @ 57, you beat me to it - kashrut is a combination of religious separatist "we don't do what they do" and sensible health regulations in a semi-arid region without refrigeration or sanitizing rinse. If you're eating off plates made of wood, clay or other porous material, you definitely want to boil them, wash them in running water (preferably upstream from where your neighbors are relieving themselves) and not use the same plate for meat and dairy. And bottom-feeding shellfish in a desert region without refrigeration? Um...pass, thanks.

#60 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:19 AM:

Right, well said dcb and my bad for not refreshing. :-P

#61 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:50 AM:

Amazing how all those people in the Levant who didn't eat kosher managed not to go extinct through their filthy unhygienic eating habits...

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:05 AM:

David Wald, when I try to imagine "Cajun sushi", all I come up with is "bait".

#63 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:31 AM:

There at least used to be a Cajun(?) restaurant in Manhattan called Live Bait. Their (delicious) fish was cooked, though.

#64 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:58 AM:

David Wald, Rikibeth on vegetarian lobster:

One of the few certified kosher restaurants in Seattle is a vegan Chinese place that serves a wide range of mock meat as well as 'real' vegetables. It seems to be the closest Seattle comes to kosher meat meals in restaurants.

#65 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:30 AM:

Teresa #62:

All I can think of is McIlhenny's instead of wasabi, and/or things involving crayfish. Probably not sufficient basis for a whole variant cuisine, though.

#66 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:57 AM:

There are a few Mexican/Chinese hybrid restaurants here in Arizona. One I know of is quite good.

There was also a Chinese restaurant here in Maricopa that had the best pancakes in the morning, and the place was always packed in the morning, even at $6-7 a plate for pancakes and eggs.

The owner sold it, and the new owners did away with the breakfast menu. When I asked what happened to the breakfast menu, they told me it was a Chinese restaurant, not a Denny's.

I just couldn't figure out why a business owner would *throw away* an income stream like that. Made no sense to me ...

#67 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:59 AM:

John@57, Mark@59:

There has been a lot of speculation about this, and clearly some of it would parallel health regulations that would be sensible. However, don't forget that there is a lot that wouldn't work that way - regulations that would increase health risks, specifically those regarding what was done with animals in the temple. Additionally, kashrus has changed from what it was 2,000 years ago, and so many of the "prohibitions" that we talk about are more recent Halachic innovation - in a practical sense, if not so much on a religious sense. For instance, the "prohibition" of not using the same dishes for meat and milk is not mentioned in early sources, and probably wasn't done. According to a strict reading of the law, it probably isn't necessary even now. (Strict reading, not strict interpretation.)

Re:david Harman @ 21 - The other bit mentioned - not eating what "they" eat, is not a taboo against eating with non-Jews by default. In reality, the idea that it is "separatist" it is actually specifically formulated as such. The less followed (deprecated, perhaps) portions of Halacha specifically forbid the eating of any food cooked by non-Jews. This was also, in many ways, a function of self-defense. If they are kept from eating with you, you cannot absorb their ideas - a terrific memetic defense mechanism.

#68 ::: Peter in LA via Minneapolis ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:03 AM:

Lutefiskabobs and coffee, anyone?

#69 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:18 AM:

Joann@65: I went for sushi in New Orleans with a mob of other EuroGoths. Yes. Exactly that.

#70 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:27 AM:

Lee @ #22 -- You beat me to it. Our local Indo-Pak boulevard has a place with "the only halal Chinese food in Chicago".

Dragoness Eclectic @ #28 -- I've eaten at the kosher Cajun place in New Orleans. It's an expat Iranian Jew.

Stefan Jones @ #42 -- I don't know the current proportion, but at one time, 85% of all the donut stores in California were Cambodian.

#71 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:29 AM:

That's the sort of thing that makes me happy to live somewhere moderately multicultural. Even more so after viewing some recent telly programme that detailed the grim filth that passed for 'English posh' food in the sixties and seventies.

#72 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:55 AM:

John Hawkes-Reed @#71: Can you remember what the program was called? I wasn't exposed to English food before 1995, and though I've been exposed to the "grim filth" meme, I haven't actually seen any of it.

(My first trip to London was with a high school group. We ate mostly in restaurants run by vegetarians and immigrants, and pubs run by people who believed in frying things. Our only mistake was going into a crepe joint that we thought would be French, but turned out not to be. When I asked the waitress kind of cheese they had, she said "Yellow." Those of our party who ordered the seafood crepe were gruesomely sick on the planeride home.)

#73 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Lighthill@72: I fear I can't. I spent a merry several minutes grovelling across the BBC4 documentary index to little avail. It was ostensibly about how the BBC presented the UK to Johnny Foreigner; mostly mutated Tomorrow's World items that looked an awful lot like 'Look around you'. Thus earnest BBC reporters explaining that the future of English 'haute cuisine' would be microwave-in-the-bag everything.

So not much change there, then.

As a wee oik, I recall the 'prawn cocktail, burned steak, black forest gateau' -style menu being foisted on my parents as the height of sophistication by a parade of surly waiters. (Which you can still find at Harvester-brand places, I believe. Were you into culinary archaeology)

Unless you have the Time Out cheap eating guide to hand, eating out in London can be an unfortunate experience.

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 12:56 PM:

Serge 27: Did you know that the French word for 'lute' is 'luth', and is, not amazingly, is pronounced 'lute'? Oh, and 'lute' sounds like 'lutte', which is the word for 'wrestling'.

Did you know that the word 'lute' was borrowed from Arabic as part of the phrase 'a lute', because the Arabic phrase is 'al oud'? Did you know that the oud is also the ancestor of the guitar?

Chris 35: There is (or used to be; I haven't looked in a while) a place in Hoboken whose sign announces Comidas Chinas y Latinas. And there used to be a place in the Village called Raja Rani, which served Indian and Mexican cuisine. I was disappointed to discover that they didn't fuse them (Tandoori enchilada, anyone?), but just had two separate pages of the menu. Still, it was perfect when one of you wanted Indian and the other wanted Mexican (provided neither of you cared much for quality, which is why I haven't been there in so long).

Larry 46: Ah, you beat me to it. Well, there's one in Hoboken, too. Hoboken and Brooklyn are like long-estranged brothers; if they ever meet, they come to blows at once! :-)

TNH 62: David Wald, when I try to imagine "Cajun sushi", all I come up with is "bait".

That's what I think when I look at sashimi.

#75 ::: Rick ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:05 PM:

This is quite wonderful!

And I wonder how long before non-Muslim Americans come to assume that 'halal' means a style of food? I was aware of kosher dill pickles and kosher delis from childhood, long before I knew it referred to Jewish religious dietary rules.

#76 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:08 PM:

dave #61 beat me to the counterargument to the "health regulations" bit. Besides the point that there were plenty of non-Jews in the same vicinity, parasites are part of life anywhere. (He says, scratching his insect bites...)

David Manheim #67: Um, I think you're agreeing with me, but that second paragraph is not very clear. ( And I had to resist the lure of retaliatory misspelling... :-) )

#77 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:14 PM:

Rick 75: I don't know, but way before they identify it as "that meat Sikhs aren't allowed to eat." (Yeah, it's true: Sikhs are prohibited from eating meat "that has been killed in the Moslem manner.")

So don't bring halal meat when you're visiting a Sikh friend!

#78 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:49 PM:

On vegetarian shrimp:

In Greensboro, NC, there is a restaurant called Boba House. They prepare vegetarian and vegan food with all kinds of mock meat and mock fish/shellfish. They do indeed have vegetarian "shrimp," and I find the texture surprisingly good. I'm not sure if it is wheat gluten or something else, but it's convincingly firm and plump. All of their food is great.

They sell bubble tea too, which is where they get their name.

They at least used to have a great $5 lunch special -- salad, spring roll and choice of two entrées with rice. It is on Tate Street, which borders the university, so I used to eat there frequently. I miss it. If you find yourself in Greensboro, I highly recommend it.

They even sell frozen mock meat and fish, so you can prepare your own dishes at home.

#79 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Peter @ #68:

Lutefiskabobs and coffee, anyone?

Have you had the excellent walleye-on-a-stick at the State Fair? Yum!

Xopher @#74:

And there used to be a place in the Village called Raja Rani, which served Indian and Mexican cuisine. I was disappointed to discover that they didn't fuse them (Tandoori enchilada, anyone?), but just had two separate pages of the menu.

There was a restaurant I liked very much here in Minneapolis which was a Southeast Asian and Ethiopian restaurant, with a bunch of fusion dishes as well as things from each "side." (Review here.) I was told it started because the two owners were friends; one has a restaurant in Maplewood called Singapore Chinese Cuisine which Juan and I have been to a few times, years ago. Unfortunately the Mpls one, which was the fusion one, is closed now, dang it. But there's a mention of Chef Tee (the Ethiopian partner) starting another restaurant; dunno if he did, but I'll have to find out.

#80 ::: Pamela ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 01:58 PM:

There's a place near me (probably a mile north of the Lutheran place in Bklyn) called "No Pork Halal Kitchen" with a picture of a chicken on the sign -- just in case you don't get the message that there's NO PORK ;-)

#81 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:01 PM:

#19

NYC is actually full of vaguely plausible crossbreed cuisines, not just tony "fusion" food but crazy vernacular combinations.

I think anywhere with large enough and mixed enough immigrant communities will produce interesting culinary crossbreeds like that; my favorite in LA is the Korean BBQ taco truck. (And to go one step farther on the cultural-mixture axis, someone I know recently went to a bar mitzvah catered by said taco truck.)

#82 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Pamela, is that across the street from the aggressively non-Halal one with the Egyptian word for 'life' on its sign?

You know...the Ankh More Pork?

#83 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:14 PM:

David Harmon @76

Personally I found the tone of Dave @ 61 unpleasant (and decided against replying).

Nor do I find that argument convincing. The fact that other peoples survived without such dietary restrictions is not proof that the restrictions were not beneficial to health. Like washing hands: not everyone who doesn't wash their hands dies of 'flu or other nasty diseases - but washing hands regularly (and particularly e.g. before eating) reduces the chance of picking up such diseases.

#84 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:30 PM:

There is a Chinese halal restaurant in Norbury in South London - or that's what it said on the sign when I took this picture. "Wok's Cooking? Halal Chinese Restaurant - Sunday Lunch Buffet - East as much as you like"

Nearer to where I live there is, or was until recently, the “Elvis Gracelands Palace Chinese Restaurant” where the owner would entertain his customers with Elvis impersonations between courses. Or it started like that but briefly got rather famous and they had bus trips of elderly Elvis fans from obscure northern towns, and it turned into a sort of Elvis-cabaret-with-noodles and the building was enlarged and then he bought more shops and started a small chain of Chinese restaurants with Elvis impersonators out in the suburbs.

#55 David Wald : "In the brief period I lived in London a friend pointed out to me that, although KFC had long abandoned any mention of its "F" word, there were innumerable other restaurants called "Your-improbable-state's-name-here Fried Chicken". "Kansas Fried Chicken" particularly jumped out at me. Later, when I mentioned this to a Muslim co-worker, he mentioned that he loved those places. In his experience most were run by Muslim South Asians and were thus Halal, so he could get a meat meal there."

That's pretty par for the course in London. There are loads of Halal Fried Chicken shops. There's a chain of them local to the bit of London I live in called Morley's Fried Chicken. Its pretty much the pits of the eating-out experience - where you go if you can't afford Macdonalds.The staff are all certainly Asians but in our nearest branch they are Tamils & so mostly Hindu or Christian not Muslims. The food is supposed to be Halal though.

Nearly all the food shops round our way are run by either Tamils or Turks. Lots of chip shops were bought by Turks and added kebabs and pizza to the menu and now sell doner kebab, fish & chips, pizza and so on. Not usually as far as know halal. Our nearest fish & chip place only started claiming to be halal after it was taken over by Tamils. It doesn't look very pretty. Here it is between the Chinese takeaway and the Tamil DVD shop The shop next door but one is much nicer!


#85 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:45 PM:

Ken Brown @84:
I had to take all your links out. I don't know what you entered, but by the time Movable Type was done with them they were <a />'s, which made for lots of interesting looking pseudo-linky text.

Next time, can you check at preview to see if your html was, um, kosher?

#86 ::: Akoelah ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 02:46 PM:

100% halal. i will visit your store

#87 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:01 PM:

dcb, I think some of the restrictions (not eating pork, for example) were beneficial to health, but as far as I know there are no particular health risks in boiling a kid (baby goat kind) in its mother's milk and eating it. Some of the restrictions seem clearly designed to keep the Hebrews separate from other nearby peoples.

Some even seem obviously intended as metaphors for that very thing. Who would sow two different grains in one field? But seen as a xenophobic metaphor, it makes sense. I'm not sure about "garments of two stuffs"—that might be the same kind of metaphor, or it might be a real prohibition. In the latter case it's hard to see a reason for it, unless the Hebrews hadn't mastered the art of blending fabrics and someone who wore them would perforce be engaging in commerce with other peoples.

#88 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:02 PM:

I must say I am rather uncertain about the idea that Jewish dietary rules were meant as health regulations, though they may have had that as a side effect. The original commandment was not 'do not mix meat and milk', but the much more specific 'do not boil a kid in its mother's milk': to me, that sounds like a ban on taking part in a pagan ritual. Pigs are ruled out as part of a general ban on all land-animals that do not both chew the cud and have a cloven hoof (camels, donkeys, rabbits..); shellfish as part of a general ban on fish which do not have scales or fins. It seems to me unlikely that you can interpret the dietary laws as a whole in health terms; the parts that do have health benefits seem more like a fortunate accident.

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:14 PM:

Andrew, it might be that they noticed a pattern in health consequences and used those particular signs as a shorthand. Fish without both scales and fins tend to be bottom-feeders (catfish, for example), and you're much more likely to pick up parasites from a bottom-feeder.

Close zoological observation not having been invented, they might have noticed a pattern in who got sick after eating what, and figured out that the worst "curse" appeared to be on the ones without both scales and fins. You don't have to KNOW it's a bottom-feeder to figure that out.

That's one of the ones that actually makes sense to me as a health measure. I don't know of any reason cud-chewing animals, or cloven-hoofed ones, should be healthier, but that might be another "cargo-cult" kind of restriction: pigs carry trichinosis, and prior to the advent of germ theory it would not have occurred to people that thorough cooking would make a difference. (I can't imagine someone cooking meat "well-done" without a health reason, but I was always a raw meat eater before I went vegetarian.)

So some of the rules of kasherut can be explained by seeing a pattern in health effects, and either mistaking the cause, or simply using easy-to-read outward signs as mnemonics.

#90 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:36 PM:

Xopher (89): I can't imagine someone cooking meat "well-done" without a health reason

Because it tastes much better that way! (to me)

I would insist on having my meat cooked through even if there were no health implications at all.

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 03:55 PM:

Oh, I know they exist. I just can't imagine them.

I can't imagine you, Mary Aileen. Isn't it a good thing that you aren't dependent on my imagination for your existence?

#92 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:08 PM:

Xopher (91): An excellent thing.

Although we've met (at Denvention), so you don't have to imagine me.

#93 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:11 PM:

When I first saw this, I thought "Very Minneapolis" and I was surprised to see it's in New York. I suppose as a Midwesterner with a "Swedish Lutheran Cookbook" on my shelf, I'm just a bit biased.

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:16 PM:

Oh, I know we've met, Mary Aileen! That makes it a little HARDER to imagine you, though it might make such imaginings more accurate.

#95 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Xopher (94): So I can't be your imaginary friend? I'm crushed. :)

#96 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 04:42 PM:

You know, the more I think about the OP here, the more I wonder whether the people who opened the restaurant were aware (at the time) that 'Lutheran' is a religion. What if they thought it was just the name of the neighborhood? 'Lutheran Hospital' would make sense either way, and then naming their restaurant after the neighborhood and type of cuisine would make perfect sense, as one might call one's place "Park Slope Pizza" or "South Side Schwarma."

#97 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 05:04 PM:

dcb #83: Well, Xopher #87 and AndrewM #88 have restated the proper argument more clearly; like AndrewM, I'm dubious about granting Bronze age peoples prescient knowledge about health issues.

Xopher's idea could work, but as he notes, in context the rules do seem more "about" isolating the Canaanites from their neighbors. Which is much more in character for the region, and consistent with all those genocidal wars.

Xopher #96: Almost certainly -- that sort of thing happens all around New York. A fair number of restaurants are simply named after their street!

#98 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 05:17 PM:

Xopher, 74: Yeah, Cuban-Chinese is old school, 60s-70s stuff. It's old enough to feel passé to me, yet I can imagine my Puerto Rican forebears who came here before WWII shying away from it, as an exotic novelty and yet insufficiently different from what they made at home to be worth the bother. I don't think it was ever a big deal in Brooklyn vs. Manhattan. Plus, Cuban.

#99 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Y'know, the parable of the Prodigal Son fits the relationship between Cuba and Puerto Rico susprisingly well.

#100 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 06:29 PM:

Xopher @ 87 & 89; David Harmon @ 97; Andrew M @ 88

Putting aside my tongue-in-cheek suggestion of time travel, the fact remains that several of the dietary restrictions make good sense from the food hygiene point of view (Im not arguing about the "keeping the people separate" bit). As Xopher indicated @ 89 "they might have noticed a pattern in who got sick after eating what": if one or a few people had noticed that, then putting it in the form of a religious prohibition would be a lot more likely to have the desired effect than saying "well, I think you should avoid this because you might get sick, no I can't explain why, but in my observation..."

It is worth remembering that pigs were the only one of the common domesticated food-producing mammals which are omnivorous rather than purely herbivorous - and the "chews the cud and has split hooves" was an easy way to separate them from the sheep, goats and cattle.

Xopher @ 87: "Who would sow two different grains in one field?" Without modern knowledge of nitrogen fixing versus nitrogen-using crops, mixed sowing might run the risk of faster soil nutrient depletion? Nowadays we know much more about complementary crops and which things it is good to plant together. Back then, it's possible someone had noted that after planting things together, crops in subsequent years were less good - after all, people worked out crop rotation and the need to leave fields fallow centuries ago. Of course, not putting the ox and the ass to plough together makes sense, since they have different capabilities. Anyone with more knowledge of thread and fabrics than I have know how many of the old yarns had e.g. different shrinkage properties - which could cause problems if they were mixed?

#101 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 06:38 PM:

@87 - "boiling a kid (baby goat kind) in its mother's milk" - for some reason I long ago heard or got the idea that this was some sort of metaphor along the lines of not asking a mother to testify against her child. Why mention the mother otherwise - is it the boiling-in-goatmilk or boiling in something from-the-mother that is important?

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 06:50 PM:

dcb...are you really trying to argue that all (not just some, but all) of the restrictions of kasherut really made health/safety/agricultural/economic sense, even back then? Do you really think the ancient Hebrews were so superior to modern people that they didn't do anything for dumb, arbitrary, or bigoted reasons?

I'm not at all sure that's what you're saying; it's just starting to sound that way. You could just be pointing out that there are two sides to everything, and an argument to be made for more than one point of view, which would make total sense. So I'm asking.

But in any case I don't think you got what I was saying with my "who would" argument. You don't make prohibitions against things nobody is doing. If you found a religious text that said "thou shalt not howl at the full moon; neither shalt thou dance naked in the Midsummer's Night" you would conclude that someone contemporaneous with that text WAS doing those things.

But why would anyone think it WAS a good idea to plant different crops in the same field (at the same time)? It strikes me as unlikely behavior for bronze-age people in the first place, and therefore unlikely to be prohibited—except as a metaphor. It's obviously wrong, so the prohibiters use it as an analogy to keeping apart from the other people. The ox and ass one is another one; no one would say "thou shalt not" about that if they meant the literal ox and ass. No, they meant "ya wouldn't yoke an ox and an ass together, wouldja?" This is the kind of metaphor that's been used by racists even in our own day.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 06:57 PM:

Nicholas -- that never occurred to me! I thought it was a literal delicacy of a neighboring people that the Hebrews thought was horrible for some reason. I'm not sure about that one, now that you mention it.

#104 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Ken Brown @84:
That's pretty par for the course in London. There are loads of Halal Fried Chicken shops. There's a chain of them local to the bit of London I live in called Morley's Fried Chicken. Its pretty much the pits of the eating-out experience - where you go if you can't afford Macdonalds.

I should probably have mentioned that the co-worker who described these was talking about his university years, when I suspect he judged quality and cost a bit differently.

#105 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:14 PM:

A dish that is metaphorically treyf is the Japanese oyakodon, chicken and egg over rice. (Oyako means "mother and child.")

And then there is Steve "Treyf" Bacon III, the bass player and token goy in Meshugga Beach Party. He's not actually treyf, they just call him that.

#106 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:39 PM:

Xopher, #102: You don't make prohibitions against things nobody is doing. If you found a religious text that said "thou shalt not howl at the full moon; neither shalt thou dance naked in the Midsummer's Night" you would conclude that someone contemporaneous with that text WAS doing those things.

Which is exactly the flaw in the "it's unnatural" argument against homosexuality. If it were unnatural, no prohibition would be needed because it wouldn't be happening. There's no prohibition against humans walking on water or flying by flapping their arms. THOSE things are unnatural!

#107 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:50 PM:

DCB @58, Xopher @102, I've run into people who claim that all of the laws of kashrut have practical benefits, many of which couldn't have been deduced given the scientific knowledge of the time, and therefore they must be of divine origin. I've also run into the argument that there's no logical, practical reason for kashrut, and therefore the only explanation for it is divine origin. Somewhere out there, there's got to be someone arguing that kashrut is a mixture of reason and irrationality, and that this particular mix is proof of divine origin. (I'm pretty sure I've read Christian apologetics, perhaps by CS Lewis, that used the latter argument about the gospels.)

#108 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 08:53 PM:

But why would anyone think it WAS a good idea to plant different crops in the same field (at the same time)?

I can see planting mixed grains - they might look enough alike when ready to plant that they could be confused. And certainly while they're growing you'd have a hard time telling wheat from barley (the most likely combination I know of, in that area).

#109 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:09 PM:

Xopher @ 102: But why would anyone think it WAS a good idea to plant different crops in the same field (at the same time)?

Depends on the crops, of course. Consider the native Americans' "three sisters": corn, squash, and beans, planted together. The three crops support each other, and the corn and beans are also nutritional complements.

#110 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:27 PM:

But I don't think the Ancient Hebrews knew that, did they?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe the other people in the area DID know some of those things and the AH were doing another separative rule.

#111 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:38 PM:

kate, #41, Carlos O'Brien is a chain, one of a number of chains owned by the same organization. I know this because I read the back of the menu of the Casa Chamayo chain here in Manassas.

#112 ::: heckblazer ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:50 PM:

While pork wasn't outright forbidden, pigs weren't exactly big with the ancient Israelite's neighbors given the Babylonian maxim:

"The pig is not clean: it dirties everything behind it,
It dirties the streets, it fouls houses."

The book I got that from is Jean Bottero's The Oldest Cuisine in the World, which is a very interesting discussion of the recipes in the Yale Culinary Tablets and cooking in ancient Babylonia.

#113 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 09:58 PM:

The prohibition against mixing seeds is of a part with the many other separations which are a cornerstone of Judaism. "Holy" and "separate" are cognate. Look at the creation story which begins with separations. etc.
The specific commandment against sowing two kinds of seed in the same field is discussed in the Talmud near the chapter on hermaphrodites. (which seem to have puzzled the rabbis) (This has nothing I can see to do with the discussion, but it's interesting.)

Xopher @ #87 et seq. The commandment against mixing linen and wool in the same weave may well be a reference to pagan priestly garments. There was something similar in the garments of the Temple priests, and I actually have seen an archaeological fabric swatch of linen with a red wool stripe woven along the border, in the Rosicrucian museum in San Jose.

#114 ::: Brokelynite ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:02 PM:

i love this photo! where was it taken? did i miss the location?

#115 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:39 PM:

It may be evolution in action; a religion with dietary restrictions that had unanticipated health benefits had given its adherents an advantage. The surviving adherents propagate the religion (and the dietary restrictions).

#116 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Rob, that assumes a great number of randomly-occurring religions with random dietary restrictions.

I remember, long ago, in my old D&D world, I made up a whole bunch of odd religions (including ones who worshipped gods who HATED being worshipped). The shortest of all the descriptions was this:

Boviani eat cow shit. There are none left.

#117 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:27 PM:

Xopher @117: And IIRC, there a very few Shakers extant because they practiced celibacy.

There have been plenty of religions, whether we call them randomly occurring or not, with various restrictions, dietary or otherwise. If any of them gained some advantage by their practices, they might be expected to survive. Obviously, religions with rules contrary to survival (as individuals, or as a group) don't.

#118 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2009, 11:36 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #112: The post from Akoelah @ #86 is linked to a Blogspot blog that appears to be from an Indonesian. The one just below your post, from Brokelynite @ #115, links to an e-zine or blog named "Brokelyn," about living on the cheap in NYC. But the post doesn't look like it's from one of the contributors (and it asks a question about the photo that's answered right on the photo).

#119 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:00 AM:

just as another comment on pigs. If you are living in a desert/water deprived environment, hogs use and need many of the same resources as a human of the same weight and size.

Plus they have that tendency to plow the soil in an unpredictable way, which could be a disaster in a deprived environment. As in. Oh My God the Pigs Just destroyed this year's crop...

Feral pigs are a problem from the Missouri Ozarks to the rest of the southeast. Aside from property damage, they're dangerous. And there is some evidence that in the deep southeast, someone's imported some bigger wild hogs to intermingle and make better 'sport' hogs for hunters. Ick.

#120 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:12 AM:

I read a book a few years ago (Cannibals and Kings?) that, it turns out, was written well back a ways, but it mentioned that pigs cleaned up cities to some extent-- they ate the trash heaps. If you eat too many pigs, you end up with more trash than you want. It makes sense, some, though I don't know enough about it to be confident. The author then went on to say that in India, cows are the trash-heap-eaters, or something like that, and therefore you don't eat the cows.

One of my personal semiprohibitions is "Don't eat things that filter". Usually brought up in the context of kidneys and livers, occasionally challenged with clams.

#121 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:12 AM:

Xopher, Rob Rusick, you remind me of something an acquaintance of mine posted years ago elsewhere on the Web, that's still one of my favorite quotes: "A religion that prohibits eating would either disappear within a few weeks, or come up with some interesting definitions of 'eating'."

#122 ::: Lee sees probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:51 AM:

@ 115

#123 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:56 AM:

Paula Helm Murray, feral pigs are indeed a problem, and quite a challenge to hunt. But gosh, they're tasty. I know a few ranchers here in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma who hold "Texas luaus" once or twice a year, and only cook up the meat they killed on their ranches.

#124 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:00 AM:

Lee, #115 seems to me quite possibly an enthusiastic Brooklyn blogger with an over-polished looking site; I'm much more suspicious of #86 as being blog-spam. (He's going to visit the store? From Indonesia?)

#125 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:00 AM:

A few comments and thoughts:

The last time I was by 23rd St & Madison Avenue, Live Bait was still there and open. (Roughly two months ago.)

A former co-worker (Pakistani Muslim) told me that before there were actual Halal meat shops near his Long Island town, he went shopping for meat at the Kosher butcher shop. Halal and Kosher are somewhat equivalent in many of the restrictions and slaughtering rules. In a conversation we had one time, he was surprised that I knew what Halal meant. Whenever we had an office-wide pizza lunch we always ordered one plain pizza that he could eat, at least before the Kosher pizza place opened. (I had to give up pepperoni pizza when we ordered from there.)

Lutheran being a religion, the cuisine would be German or Swedish and/or Norwegian, depending on who lived in the neighborhood. Original owners probably did name the shop after the medical center and the halal was added by later, new owners.

According to an old NYC joke you could tell how Jewish an area was by the number of Chinese restaurants it had.

#126 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 02:20 AM:

Xopher @ 74: "There is (or used to be; I haven't looked in a while) a place in Hoboken whose sign announces Comidas Chinas y Latinas. And there used to be a place in the Village called Raja Rani, which served Indian and Mexican cuisine. I was disappointed to discover that they didn't fuse them (Tandoori enchilada, anyone?)"

I've found that leftover dal makes a great quesadilla filling. Indian and Mexican definitely go together well--spice and dairy.

Rob Rusik @ 116: "It may be evolution in action; a religion with dietary restrictions that had unanticipated health benefits had given its adherents an advantage. The surviving adherents propagate the religion (and the dietary restrictions)."

The xenophobic aspects might have emerged the same way: functioning to keep the Jewish population segregated, though not originally intended to do so. I always understood the laws against mixing things (fabric, food, grain, etc.) as maintaining a religious purity. The fact that obeying those laws required Jews to run what was effectively a parallel society and therefore maintain their cultural identity might have simply been an unintended side-effect.

#127 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 02:53 AM:

Some of Nashville's finest pizza is made by Middle Eastern cats. Pizza Perfect and Tabouli's have great pizza. The latter also serves really good (for Nashvegas, anyway) Middle Eastern food, like kebabs and stuffed grape leaves. Their marinara is to die from.

Lutheran being a religion, the cuisine would be German or Swedish and/or Norwegian, depending on who lived in the neighborhood. Original owners probably did name the shop after the medical center and the halal was added by later, new owners.
Or it could involve a lot of Jell-O.

I kid. The only Jell-O at my recent Lutheran church potlucks has been my fault. I brought that pink stuff with the Jell-O and the cottage cheese and the Cool Whip and the fruit cocktail. It may be creepy suburban food, but it sure is good!

#128 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 02:59 AM:

Oh, I forgot: There was a briefly lived French-Southern fusion restaurant called "Le [French word for 'neck'] Rouge."

It was pricey, so I never went, but it sounded awesome.

#129 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 04:22 AM:

Xopher @ 102: "dcb...are you really trying to argue that all (not just some, but all) of the restrictions of kasherut really made health/safety/agricultural/economic sense, even back then? Do you really think the ancient Hebrews were so superior to modern people that they didn't do anything for dumb, arbitrary, or bigoted reasons?

No, I'm not, and I never suggested that (see dcb @ 100 "several of [not "all"] the dietary restrictions make good sense from the food hygiene point of view" - which I rather thought you'd agreed with @ 98: "they might have noticed a pattern in who got sick after eating what, and figured out that the worst "curse" appeared to be on the ones without both scales and fins.... That's one of the ones that actually makes sense to me as a health measure"

I'm suggesting, that, mixed in with prohibitions set up entirely to separate "us" from "them" ("we don't do that") there may also be some which were dual purpose or just happened to make hygiene sense, and some where yes, perhaps someone had made a shrewd observation and put it into religious law. Further than that, I'm just speculating about the ones which make sense in light of modern knowledge.

After all, Ignaz Semmelweis noticed, in the pre-germ-theory 1800s, that on maternity wards, if physicians and students washed their hands with soap and water between examining women the rate of infection was reduced. Is it so far fetched to think that someone, back in Biblical times, noticed something similar regarding certain food stuffs/eating practices and codified it in religious law?

Regarding your "who would" argument, yes I'm fully aware that prohibitions are put into place because people are carrying out the acts refered to, and I have no problem with that. However, if there was a law specifically prohibiting defecating upstream of where you drink it wouldn't necessarily have to be because people were deliberately doing that - it could be because someone had realised this was a bad idea!

Nicholas Waller @ 101 "boiling a kid (baby goat kind) in its mother's milk" - this appears to have been dual-purpose: (a) prohibiting a practice used ritually by another people in the region; (b) an ethical prohibition in that the milk was what gave the kid life, so you didn't cook it in it (i.e. the milk which gave it life shouldn't be linked to its death).

#130 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:24 AM:

I think Neil got it right @#114. I think its pretty clear that the "Law of Holiness" in Torah is exactly that - laws about holiness, separation, distinction. They mark and enforce separation of one people from another. Some of the prohibitions are pretty arbitrary . The story of the book is not so much that God thinks these are good things to do and tells his chosen people to do them, as that God chooses a people for reasons that no doubt seemed good to God from the point of view of eternity, and made a covenant with them and made laws to make it clear who was in and who was out.

So rabbis might (& I think sometimes do), distinguish between laws that are meant to be universal moral rulings & applicable to anyone (maybe ten commandments & the covenant with Noah); and laws that mark one as a member of the Covenant and therefore only apply to the people of Israel; and laws that apply to Israel and also to Gentiles living amongst Israel (such as Passover, which explicitly creates the community).

Some people even claim that the arbitrariness of some of the laws is part of the point. The covenanted people are not supposed to obey them reluctantly as if they were some sort of a penance that needs to be carried out in order to placate an angry god; nor out of self-interest as an improving discipline or healthy lifestyle that leads to deferred gratification later; but joyfully as a mark of a relationship with the living God and of membership of God's chosen people.

So they are in a sense what Christians call sacraments, the "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace". Using a Christian analogy, Christians don't; eat bread and wine at Communion because its the best breakfast they could get that day but because its a mark of a relationship to God and to each other. Or to use a secularised post-Christian analogy, those Americans who visit their families at Thanksgiving or Christmas don't do it because they will get the best turkey dinner they could get, but because they are their families. Where you go at Thanksgiving (or whether you do at all) says something about who you are, not what food you like to eat. Same with kashrut.

The prohibitions against mixing crops in the field are clearly arbitrary - as others pointed out plenty of societies mixed their crops for very good reasons long before modern biology explained why it worked in detail.

Mixed planting is the norm in kitchen gardens all over the world and probably always has been. Its found on a larger scale in many places, its very common in traditional agricultural systems, or was before modern industrialised low-intensity monocultural methods got popular. Famously of course maize, squash, beans (& sometimes capsicums) in central America. But there are loads of other systems. All over West Africa people mix perennial yams with annual vegetables. Okra is planted with melons. Fast-growing cassava is planted to shade young coffee, cocoa or rubber trees, and then other green grops in the lanes between the trees later.


In India and south-east Asia there are many highland communities that use mixtures of wheat, rice, millet, beans, and vegetables in the same fields. In some areas of northern India there is an old traditional system called "baranaaja" which supposedly involves twelve different crops. Lowland rice tends to be a wet rice monoculture but there are often fruit trees growing alongside the wet rice and pigs, and ducks and even edible fish kept in the rice fields. In Taiwan there are people who plant rice, melons and cabbage or other green vegetables in "relays" in the same field, each crop going in before the previous one is harvested. In Indonesia and Sri Lanka there are "three dimensional" mixed vegetable gardens with permanent crops of different canopy heights - big trees like mango or durian or rubber, coconut palms, smaller trees like oil palm and papaya, trees for firewood, maybe bananas, creeping vines for fruit or flowers, bushes like ginger or pepper, and also and annual green crops, the whole thing replicating the structure of a natural forest, except that all the plants are useful to humans. In Java - where there are villages that are self-sufficient in food with population denisities that are higher than typical North American suburbs - there are mixed farm systems that grow up to 250 crops in the same areas!

Nearer to where the Hebrews hang out there were people mixing wheat or barley inthe same fields as chickpeas or field beans. So they would have been familiar with the idea.

#131 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 09:30 AM:

Tom @#105: He's not actually treyf, they just call him that.

He is in fact treyf, as a mammal which neither has cloven hooves nor chews cud.

#132 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 10:34 AM:

Xopher@89, etc.: I'm certainly not disputing that some laws might have been adopted on the basis of people noticing what was liable to make you ill. I'm just wondering whether that is in fact the best explanation of these particular laws. The kid thing seems much to specific to be explained in health terms; the pig thing is an example of something which is too general. The fish thing I'm not sure about. I had understood it as an example of what I have heard is a quite widespread practice of having taboos on animals which don't 'fit in', which don't neatly fall into a class - in this case animals that count asa fish (since they live in the water) but don't have the standard fishy features. But on reflection, I realise I don't know how much evidence there is for this.

Going back to the original subject of this thread, I believe it was Alistaire Cooke who once saw a sign advertising 'Genuine Chinese Irish food'.

#133 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:05 AM:

John Hawkes-Reed@71&73:

I just read a book by a Norwegian writer about how the Chinese restaurant became a fixture in even small rural communities from the late 60ies onwards. The book also has some choice examples of what restaurant meals were before "Our friends the Chinese" (the translation of the title) came (and after them, other "ethnic" cuisines), not the least how stuffy and inflexible the owners and staff could be.

As to Scandinavian cooking (at least Scandinavian-Scandinavian as opposed to Scandinavian-American, I do not know that much about the latter), one thing I do remember from my childhood in the 70ies is that nothing was considered a proper dinner unless it was served with boiled potatoes. It did not matter whether the dish was really, err, potato-friendly. I still remember with horror a certain kind of tinned spaghetti with meatballs that I was served sometimes by elderly relatives (who subscribed to this principle, but were otherwise very kind), and the way the orange tomato sauce lent a metallic taste to the boiled potatoes. I did not like the rubbery meatballs and small sausages either. (Unlike a lot of people in fandom, at least in my fandom, I am not a picky eater, but this I hope never to eat again.)

Per

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:45 AM:

Per, that sounds like a lot of truly nasty food from my childhood as well, for which Ettore Boiardi is allegedly responsible. Horrible, sickeningly-sweet tomato sauces and rubbery little shapes of processed meatlike product. *shudder*

May nothing of the kind ever cross our plates again!

#135 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:54 AM:

Xopher #135:

It was a great day when somebody (probably my mother) discovered that you could get pizza mix from other sources than Signore Boiardi. The Kraft box included a packet of green flaky stuff--first herbs I'd seen, aside from some 10-year-old tins of poultry seasoning.

#136 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:18 PM:

Ken Brown @ 131:

As I recall, it's only the seven Noachide laws that are supposed to be for everyone. Everything else isn't.

Per Chr. J. @ 134:

Reminds me of the time that I got a can of Chef Boyardee or Hormel or something pasta and sauce out of the vending machine at university. (I was hungry; it was one in the morning; I was a university student!) It tasted rather like old tyres covered in rotten tomatoes.

I stuck to the sandwiches after that.

#137 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:30 PM:

There's a small take-away in London where the sign indicates the range of dishes on offer, including "kebabs, pizzas, burgers, vegetarians"...

#138 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 12:30 PM:

Xopher @ #135: I still remember the wonderful day my mother discovered Lawry's Spaghetti Sauce Mix(tm). I said goodbye to the soft, mushy "spaghetti" and cloying, sweet sauce of "the chef" and hello to lots more hamburger meat.

And one of the first things I learned after I moved away from home was how to make a proper Sicilain gravy.

#139 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:24 PM:

joann @136:
The Kraft box included a packet of green flaky stuff--first herbs I'd seen

My parents were only marginally ahead of yours. When I was a kid, we owned jars of green flaky stuff, but never used them.

#140 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:36 PM:

Dragoness Eclectic @28, Cajun Kosher Deli: Good thing I searched in page for "Cajun" before making my own mention of that place. Mom and I noticed it years ago, and boggled.

Any other part of the country, I might suspect "Cajun" of just meaning "We burn fish filets and add a lot of hot spicy pepper; that's Cajun, right?" But this one's a long-time family establishment in the greater New Orleans area. Granted, I've never been in.

You're in Metairie? Might I give a shout-out in your direction next time I'm in town? I grew up by the lake about a quarter mile west of Bonnabel, and my parents still live there.

#141 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:59 PM:

And in response to m.k. @10: "Healing Tea", the Korean tea house in Boulder, has a gluten-free menu, or at least a lot of gluten-free products (the typical green tea cake rolls don't taste gluten free, but then, the better stuff doesn't).

They just began offering a "Korean burrito". Not sure if it incorporates gluten-free tortillas. I have not been able to tear myself away from the Bibimbob and Kibob enough to try it.

#142 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 02:58 PM:

#135: I saw a documentary about the evolution of Boiardi to Boyardee. It started out well, with a Depression-era spaghetti kit containing pasta, sauce, and cheese ("Boiardi One-Two-Three!"). The "cook it and stick it in a can" devolution came later.

* * *

When I was in college (first time), the "generic foods" fad was still running.

Generics came in unornamented white boxes, with black sans-serif lettering, and had names like "Cheese Ravioli," "Spaghetti Sauce" and (really!) "Beer."

The Pathmark store in Port Jefferson had a whole aisle of generics. I once bought there a jar of generic spaghetti sauce. It was Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce. The same slimy, translucent, vaguely tomato-ish sweet glop that filled 60% of a can of Spaghetti-Os. I finished the jar because I couldn't waste food, but I didn't enjoy it in the least.

Also, the cheese in the frozen Cheese Ravioli was sheep cheese. A little gritty, but not bad.

#143 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:01 PM:

One kebab-and-some-pizza place near where I live used to offer pizza slices with kebab meat. (I haven't been there in a while, so I don't know if they still do.)

dcd @138, well, most animals that humans eat are herbivores.

#144 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:22 PM:

If you watch "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" on the Food Network, you might have seen the segment on Chino Bandido, a mostly take-out (or "Takee Outee" as it says on their sign outside) place where you can mix-&-match items and how they're presented (Red Jade Chicken quesadilla-style, for instance).

Pretty decent food, despite initial impressions (that "Takee Outee" kept me away for years). We've eaten from there (they're a few miles down the road from us) several times.

The "D,D & D" program apparently spent about a week in the Glendale area, filming several segments on local restaurants and splitting them up amongst several episodes. Other restaurants included Thee Pitts Again (award-winning BBQ) and Murphy Haus (good solid German food in downtown Glendale; Hilde and I will be going back again).

#145 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Stefan Jones #143: Oh yeah, the generics thing... I'm not sure if it died of a "race to the bottom", or if the stores just realized people do want some sense of "where this came from".

I did like Repo Man's take on it, though -- at one point, they have the protagonists eating out of cans labeled "Food".

#146 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:31 PM:

#143 Stefan Jones

Ah...generics. Famously mocked in "Repo Man," though I gather this was unplanned humor that resulted from the film's inability to attract name brand sponsors.

#147 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:32 PM:

David Harmon @146

Another fan of fine film!

#148 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:33 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @142: Does this mean you're back in town? Should we have a go at causing an Front Range ML-ation?

#149 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:38 PM:

146 moved me to Google, which lead me to this.

#150 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 03:52 PM:

Jacque: Yes yes yes, I'm back in Boulder! We should indeed plan an ML-style "Front Range Assembly" (not to be confused with Front Line Assembly, of course). I'd suggest a farmer's market outing, but Saturday morning John and I have a date with an insurance agent. *sigh* I suppose there's always the Wednesday evening market!

BTW - the unwieldy luggage-on-bike, bike-as-luggage set up you saw me heading downtown with did, indeed, work out for my multi-city Amtrak trip. One wobbles a bit, but one gets there.

#151 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 04:26 PM:

David Harmon (146): eating out of cans labeled "Food"

Common exchange in my youth:
"Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Food."
"What kind of food?"
"Good food."

When we kids were grown and visiting, this naturally became:
"What shall I fix for dinner?"
"Food."
"Can you be more specific?"
"Good food, Mom, good food."
(We did eventually suggest something, but first we had to get the joke out of the way.)

#152 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 04:49 PM:

I had a halal-certified "white pudding supper" in Dundee, Scotland last week. The pudding (sausage) was better then the chips. It was reassuring to know that it wasn't lard in there, but either beef or lamb dripping.

No halal haggis, but that too would be easy. They did have halal black pudding which expresses one major difference between kosher and halal.

#153 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Mary Aileen@152: wait -- that's what my mom said! Are you my long-lost evil twin?

#154 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 06:53 PM:

Ginger (154): I thought you were the evil twin! Now I'm confused.

#155 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 07:11 PM:

Speaking of weird cultural mishmashes, here in Maryland there is a pizza place that got bought out by an Indian carryout--both cusines comfortably housed now in the same restaurant, although the smell in the restaurant, while yummy, is confusing. Metro Dhaba and Il Forno pizzeria restaurant.

#156 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:19 PM:

For a while I saw Pizza Hut and Taco Bell sharing buildings, one half with the red roof and one with the fake Alamo roof.

I understand why they did it, but it looked ridiculous.

#157 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 08:29 PM:

Linkmeister (157): Locally, there's a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express and a Taco Bell/KFC. (Ah, corporate synergy!) No hybrid buildings, though.

#158 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Cygnet@66: it may not have been a huge \profit/ stream compared to other times; any guess at how much income per table those prices would generate? Or the owner may have concluded that he didn't have enough competent managers to cover all the hours.

John@73 somehow I haven't had much bad food in London, in ~4 weeks of drop-by tourism over 30 years; possibly steering away from the pretentious places has helped. I've appreciated Time Out's frankness in reviewing theater but never seen their cheap-eats guide; I'll have to look for it if I ever get back.

hamletta@128: I've run into a number of apparent Greeks making pizza around Boston; some of it was quite good.

#159 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Then there's this place, which started as a pizzeria (and still makes it:http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/la-fo-find12dec12,0,1784333.story

Afghan/Italian. Halal.

#160 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 10:29 PM:

Mary Aileen @155: Maybe I am the evil twin. Let's see: avoids sunlight? Check. Innocent look, complete with sad brown eyes? Check. Willing to use chocolate to weaken the hearts and minds of mortals? Bwahahahahaa- oop. I mean, check.

#161 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 10:46 PM:

ginger @ 155... How about evil triplets?

#162 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:06 PM:

Sarah S. #147: That just makes it funnier!

Mary Aileen #152: Heh. When I was a teeny little Flintstones fan, My mom used to tell me that she was serving brontosaurus (tyrannosaurus, etc.) meat. This lasted until I was tall enough to read the labels in the supermarket's meat case.... ;-)

#163 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:29 PM:

I've always assumed that "Peking ravioli" -- the Boston-area term for Chinese potstickers or dumplings -- was what happened when a group of Chinese people moved in to a predominantly Italian area, opened restaurants, and then attempted to explain the food they were serving to the locals.

They're awfully good. Especially Mary's, as it's that particular dipping sauce that takes them from good to outstanding.

#164 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Across the street from me is a KFC/A&W.

Up the road a piece is a Taco Bell / Long John Silver.

Surprisingly, the former is the more atrocious. They don't seem to get anything right.

#165 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 11:46 PM:

Kevin Riggle @ 164: dammit, now I want Suan La Chow Sow.

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 12:16 AM:

Linkmeister & Mary Aileen, #157-158: Pepsico runs a series of variations on combos of the different fast-food chains that they own. I've seen KFC, Taco Bell, A&W, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's, and Wing Street as part of 2- or 3-chain combination stores. It's not a bad idea, especially if you're trying to feed a group of people with varying tastes. And I like being able to get a side order of fried cheese curds (A&W) with my chicken and biscuit!

#167 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:09 AM:

I have a photograph from Quito, Ecuador, which has a joint called, "Texas Friend Chicken". I'll have to look, but my mind's eye tells me there was a KFC right next door.

Is 86 spam?

Xopher: Wool and cotton/wool and linen are 1: hard to combine, and 2: the resultant fabrics are very distinctive. Asking someone to make a blended fiber is asking for brutally hard work (even after the spinning wheel, on a distaff it's even worse).

re pigs/cattle food/non-food. A good argument can be made for economic, not health, as the reason for the restrictions on pork, etc. We tend to focus on the pig issue, but the restriction also ends up moving equines out of the food chain (while keepin in the camelids, alpaca are kosher). Pigs compete with people for limited resources (in a semi-arid environment). Goats and sheep not so much. Horses, donkeys and asses, are also more useful as draft animals than meat animals, and have a longer time to making market weight; in addition they aren not as productive of milk, wool and skins as cattle/sheep/goats.

dcb: There are a lot of crops which are more symbiotic than synergisticly draining. I think the shatnes argument against it is more a case of sympathetic structure (like is to be kept to like), and that large fields of crops are easier to have slave/hired labor harvest than mixed; and there is a lot of labor law in the books of Moses.

Xopher: Look up milpas agriculture. The meso-american (and still practiced) habit was to plant a mixed field of corn/beans/squash. The complimentary habits of the three plants (the beans climb the corn, and fix nitrogen in the soil, the squash run along the ground and shade the roots of the corn/beans) makes all of them more productive. Yields are such that a much smaller acerage (about five, IIRC) is all that's needed to have a family subsist on.

Nicholas Waller: Kid/lamb boiled in milk was/is a regional treat. The way to keep the milk (for human consumption) is to kill off the young males. It's popular to make stews with dairy products.

P J: There are Russian Boar in Monterey. Someone (Hearst?) brought a few in for sport, and some got loose.

For Mexican there used to be a swell littl shop, "Dennis and Bernie's", run by a couple of jewish guys (pretty sure they were a romantic item too, but this was 25 years ago, and much less socially acceptable). Oh, the burritos they made. Divine. Just the right amount of too much cilantro.

#168 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:13 AM:

I have a photograph from Quito, Ecuador, which has a joint called, "Texas Friend Chicken". I'll have to look, but my mind's eye tells me there was a KFC right next door.

Is 86 spam?

Xopher: Wool and cotton/wool and linen are 1: hard to combine, and 2: the resultant fabrics are very distinctive. Asking someone to make a blended fiber is asking for brutally hard work (even after the spinning wheel, on a distaff it's even worse).

re pigs/cattle food/non-food. A good argument can be made for economic, not health, as the reason for the restrictions on pork, etc. We tend to focus on the pig issue, but the restriction also ends up moving equines out of the food chain (while keepin in the camelids, alpaca are kosher). Pigs compete with people for limited resources (in a semi-arid environment). Goats and sheep not so much. Horses, donkeys and asses, are also more useful as draft animals than meat animals, and have a longer time to making market weight; in addition they aren not as productive of milk, wool and skins as cattle/sheep/goats.

dcb: There are a lot of crops which are more symbiotic than synergisticly draining. I think the shatnes argument against it is more a case of sympathetic structure (like is to be kept to like), and that large fields of crops are easier to have slave/hired labor harvest than mixed; and there is a lot of labor law in the books of Moses.

Xopher: Look up milpas agriculture. The meso-american (and still practiced) habit was to plant a mixed field of corn/beans/squash. The complimentary habits of the three plants (the beans climb the corn, and fix nitrogen in the soil, the squash run along the ground and shade the roots of the corn/beans) makes all of them more productive. Yields are such that a much smaller acerage (about five, IIRC) is all that's needed to have a family subsist on.

Nicholas Waller: Kid/lamb boiled in milk was/is a regional treat. The way to keep the milk (for human consumption) is to kill off the young males. It's popular to make stews with dairy products.

P J: There are Russian Boar in Monterey. Someone (Hearst?) brought a few in for sport, and some got loose.

For Mexican there used to be a swell littl shop, "Dennis and Bernie's", run by a couple of jewish guys (pretty sure they were a romantic item too, but this was 25 years ago, and much less socially acceptable). Oh, the burritos they made. Divine. Just the right amount of too much cilantro.

#169 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:28 AM:

Terry Karney @ 168/169:

One small nitpick: camels, alpacas, et al. aren't kosher; they don't have proper split hooves. Otherwise what you say looks mostly like the reasons I heard.

#170 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 02:25 AM:

KiethS: That's halachic, and probably not universal (e.g. Azkenazim and Sephardim have different opinons on the rice viz. Passover).

But yeah, that's the basic issue.

#171 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:02 AM:

Rikibeth #166: Kevin Riggle @ 164: dammit, now I want Suan La Chow Sow.

Funny, I was just thinking I should get some mung bean sprouts, to try and reconstruct SLCS. The frozen dumplings I can get down here aren't a patch on Mary Chung's, but they're not bad, and I'm starting to build sauces for them.

#172 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:07 AM:

Wool and cotton/wool and linen are 1: hard to combine, and 2: the resultant fabrics are very distinctive. Asking someone to make a blended fiber is asking for brutally hard work (even after the spinning wheel, on a distaff it's even worse).

Though using one as warp and the other as weft was so common there was a name for it: linsey-woolsey. That way you don't have to try to deal with the wildly-variant staple lengths when spinning, but still get the good qualities of both fibers. And if I'm not mistaken, linsey-woolsey isn't allowed either.

#173 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:54 AM:

Raphael@144: The doner pizza is one of the finest junk foods available to mankind. Preferably from Bits & Pizzas of Flowergate, Whitby.

#174 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 10:22 AM:

Terry Karney re: milpas agriculture.

Not to mention backyard gardens. I've got tomatoes, eggplant, squash, herbs, peppers, etc. etc. etc. all sowed in the same plot.

#175 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 10:33 AM:

Lee (167): Yes, the corporate synergy can be a good idea. What are A&W and Wing Street? I've never seen those in either NYC/Long Island or Atlanta.

#176 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 10:59 AM:

carrie s: Yes, but linsey-woolsie wasn't all that common back then, not least because the good climates/terrain for linen aren't the same as the good climates/terrain for sheep/goats (in the middle east).

The artifact of wool trim on linen garments (though this might be a function of wools taking dye far more permamently/thoroughly than linen, and so the contrast being stronger) is part of it.

The other is that spinning the two is a different (though related) skill.

#177 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:42 AM:

Hmm. I think I remember stories about the aboriginal peoples of this continent teaching the Puritans how to grow various things here. It doesn't strike me as impossible that the people of the Americas had agricultural innovations that were unknown in Europe. Is there any evidence that milpas agriculture or anything resembling it was practiced in the Old World in biblical times?

I have quibbles about the nature of "sowing two grains" as well. Sowing is just walking across a plowed field just kind of throwing grain here and there. There was nothing as scientific as plant spacing going on, as the Parable of the Sower shows. So Sarah may have planted many things close together, but they weren't sown in the same plot, nor are any of the things she mentioned grains.

But all that is beside my point, which is that 'thou shalt not sow two grains in one field' is a separatist prohibition. Either a) it's a real restriction intended to govern agriculture, in which case there's no obvious reason for the prohibition other than "be different from those other people," or b) it's a metaphor for not intermarrying, like the one about the ox and ass. Either way, separatism and not health is the object of the restriction.

#178 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:05 PM:

Mary Aileen, #176:
A&W. In all honesty, I don't find their root beer any better than several other brands, but it's good, and it's consistent, and you can find it in the grocery store or convenience store, so it's generally the brand I buy. Their cream soda is marginally better than anyone else's IMO.

Wing Street appears to be a subset of Pizza Hut. I rarely eat there because there's a Wings-N-Things near us and I like their wings a lot better!

#179 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:24 PM:

Terry Karney@171: the bible translation I have (Leviticus 11.4 and following) is explicit that camels are out - it specifies four beasts that should not be eaten, the camel, the rabbit, the coney(hyrax)and the pig - though the prohibition clearly applies to many more. Is there a different reading on which it doesn't cover camels?

Xopher@178: I don't think 'sowing' needs to mean walking through a field throwing things; that's a way of doing it, but any operation which puts seed in the ground can be called sowing.

#180 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Lee (179): Thanks! I knew of A&W root beer, but it never occurred to me that it would be sold in dedicated places (as opposed to grocery store soda aisles). Wing Street's cuisine could be deduced from the name, but it's good to have confirmation. I wonder why they don't seem to exist around here?

#181 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 02:13 PM:

Xopher @ 178
To my knowledge, "you shall not plough with an ox and an ass together" (Deuteronomy 22:10) is a metaphor for unequal shouldering of the same burden, not for intermarriage.

Regarding the grains, I was speculating about long-term soil depletion, not health. I still think some of the dietary laws make very good food hygiene/health sense - and can't think of a better way in which someone who "made the connection" between cause and effect (without knowing -how- it worked) could have encouraged good practice than by setting it into religious law (alongside/mixed in with those practices which have ethical origins and those for which there is only a ritual and/or separatist reason. Please not I'm not saying that is what happened - nobody can know - but it isn't beyond the bounds of possibility.

Terry Karney @171 - agreeing with others, camels (and llamas, alpacas etc.) do not have cloven hooves (they have toes and large claws) and are not kosher - giraffes, however, are.

#182 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 02:17 PM:

hamletta @ 129: that would be Le Cou Rouge. Which could end up sounding like Le Cul Rouge. Where you really wouldn't want to go!

#183 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 03:50 PM:

I knew of A&W root beer, but it never occurred to me that it would be sold in dedicated places (as opposed to grocery store soda aisles).

In addition to the root beer itself, they sell heavily-nostalgized "50's diner" food--burgers and fries and hot dogs and the like.

The nearest Long John Silver's to my house is combined with an A&W, which means I can get those lovely, lovely fried cheese curds along with my heart attack worth of fried fish.

To lapse into catois for a moment, OM NOM NOM.

#184 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 04:59 PM:

re Camels: Ok, was brain cramp.

Xopher: Ox and ass is about fairness to servants. The means of harnessing the two are very different, and the ability of either to pull is very differnt.

It's a cruelty to the beasts to yoke them together.

#185 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:21 PM:

Carrie S (184): That makes more sense. (The quick look I took at Lee's link only showed the root beer.)

#186 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:26 PM:

Lee and Carrie S:

I dislike root beer intensely, so I've never been in an A&W. *Now* you tell me about fried cheese curds! Do they sell anything else to drink?

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @151: I have posted a Call in Open Thread 125. Um. Twice.

#188 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Carrie 184: Catois!!! THAT'S IT!!!! I never liked calling the language Lolcat. Lolcats speak Catois!

*positively vibrates in linguistic ecstasy*

#189 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Nicole J. Leboeuf-Little @142, there is a Korean bakery I frequent which offers an excellent wheat-free rice bread and I'm fairly certain the black sesame mochi balls are also wheat-free (I can't say if they are totally gluten-free). Wondering if the bakers have an advantage on that coming from a culture with a long history of using rice flour?

It is a French-style Korean Bakery called the Boulangerie Bakery. My father calls it The Bakery Bakery (and is a big fan of their coffee, walnut balls, and peanut butter buns).

Linkmeister @157, I remember there being a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo on the UH-Manoa campus, and was slightly odd but convenient. The combination of Dunkin' Donuts and Catch of the Day Sushi (across from the convention center) didn't work as well for me, even with the dividing wall. I heard the same family owned the franchise for both, hence the shared space.

#190 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 07:16 PM:

TacoBell and Pizza Hut aren't all that odd together, seeing as they were both owned by Pepsico.

( at least when I was at da hut, not sure what corporate sales have taken place since )

#191 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 07:43 PM:

m.k. @ #190, the one I remember was at the intersection of Waialae Ave. and St. Louis Drive. The front half was Pizza Hut and the rear half Taco Bell.

#192 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 08:57 PM:

joann, #187: It's a fast-food joint! Of course it has a full spectrum of soft drinks, plus iced tea and water; it just has the signature root beer and cream soda too.

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only fan of fried cheese curds here. (Actually, I like them raw too, but around here I can only get that at Central Market.)

Xopher, #189: I do like that better, now that you mention it. Here's another one for your delectation: Diane Duane, looking to describe a humanoid alien of feline ancestry, scorned the common "felinoid" and went to the Greek to come up with "ailurin".

#193 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 08:59 PM:

Lee #193:

I'm not sure I'm a fried cheese-curd fan; it just sounds way interesting, worth one try at least. And it's too bad I go to CM on Tuesdays.

#194 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:00 PM:

Carrie @ 184: I'll have to start saying catois instead of kittyolect. It's so much more elegant.

#195 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:01 PM:

Oh, God, there’s so much Jewish minutia here I hardly know where to begin.

1) The kosher rules (which includes no pig, no meat-and-milk, no shellfish [NOT bottom-feeders] – basically, ungulates for meat, fish with fins & scales, and no to a specific list of birds) are for the most part Biblical. The details are treated as Biblical, because they have been all but universally agreed to since the most ancient post-biblical writings, and thus are considered part of the Oral Torah, the non-written part of the Revelation at Sinai.

2) Linen and wool (and that’s specifically linen and wool, not all blends, or natural/artificial fibers) is biblically forbidden. Why, we don’t know – we treat it as a hoq, a law without reason. Some have speculated that it’s part of priestly garments, which it is, and therefore special to the Temple, not for ordinary people.

3) Meat and milk are forbidden because thrice the Pentateuch (anything Biblically ordained must be either direct from the Pentateuch, or logically derivable from it by the 13 Exegetical Rules of Rabbi Ishmael) says “thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.” It was universally accepted from antiquity that this meant “kosher meat and kosher milk which has been cooked together may not be eaten, or used for other benefit (feeding one’s animals, selling it, etc.).” The Midrash and Talmud expend a good deal of time trying to figure out what parts of the rules are implied by the threefold repetition. The rule against fowl and milk is rabbinic; as late as the 2nd century CE, some few were still eating fowl cooked with milk. Some have suggested that local pagans had some ritual about boiling a kid in its mother’s milk, but I don’t think that has ever been proven.

4) Rational vs. irrational signifying divinity: I dunno. Divine revelation must ultimately be taken on faith. However, universal acceptance of a rule, or of an idea as the interpretation of a verse, is treated as biblical. And there is far more agreement on these basic details than one might think, at least until Reform came along c. 1800 and formulated a Judaism that doesn’t require observance. That required radical reinterpretation, since even they regard the Torah (Pentateuch) as the foundational document of Judaism. Similarly the Karaites c. 800 CE, who rejected the Oral Torah out of hand.

5) Kosher Chinese, as some have said, is not a “cultural mix”, it’s just Chinese food prepared kosher – no non-kosher oils, Chinese don’t eat much milk anyway, no pork, no shellfish. Kosher is the biblical rules about food, it’s not specific to Eastern European foodways. You can eat non-kosher Eastern European food at any Russian restaurant, which is identical to what you’ll find in “kosher deli” restaurants. Kosher anything tends to be a bit pricey – you have to pay for the rabbi to check the food production and purchasing, so that’s an extra employee; and it’s a captive market – there isn’t as much competition, so they can charge more. There are also a number of Buddhist-veg Chinese places in Queens and Manhattan, where many observant Jews will eat.

6) Cross-cultural restaurants. There used to be a place on 5th Ave and 30th St. in Manhattan called Jimmy’s Deli. It had an Italian deli in the front, and a Thai curry place in the back. The curry place basically made variations on one dish: chix, beef with veg or all veg, over rice, with a sauce, which came in mild, medium, hot, and really hot. I never got past medium.

7) “No Pork Halal Chicken” That’s like at Pacific and Fourth, no? We used to drive past it all the time when we lived in the Slope.

8) Kosher and health:

A)Kosher isn’t for health reasons, it’s solely to keep us apart from non-Jews. Why? So that we don’t date them and marry them, and thus disappear into the dustbin of history.

B)Some have postulated health reasons, but the usual result in the modern period has been “it’s for health, we have modern medicine, we don’t need these outdated rules, we don’t need to keep kosher”, and then see point 8(a).

I mean, think about it. Is Eastern European fried starchy food all that healthy? But it can be kosher. Paula Deen's burger-on-a-Krispy-Kreme would be right out, though: Krispy Kremes, while kosher, are dairy.

9) Mother-and-child. No, no, no – there’s no problem with chicken eaten with egg. There is, however, a problem with slaughtering an animal and its offspring on the same day, on the grounds of cruelty to the animal – we don’t want to unnecessarily traumatize them.

And that’s only through about 110, so I’m going to stop here.

#196 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 09:23 PM:

Jon Baker: I would argue 8/8a aren't provable. The Law is. Its effect has been to keep Jews apart, arguing its purpose, while entertaining, is fruitless.

Unless God comess down and explains himself, it's all supposition. That God left it for us to argue about is one of the gifts we were given. Reducing it to some specific "reason" diminishes it, and God.

Just my .02.

#197 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 10:50 PM:

David Wald @ 55:

there is (or used to be; I haven't been there in a few years) a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant in Boston with an entire menu of mock meats.

Last I heard, the original Buddhist Delight was still open. The Buddhist Delight II in Brookline, however, got a name/menu change, and is now closed. A shame; when it was B.D. II it had pretty good vegan Vietnamese-style entrees.

Xopher @ 82:

You know...the Ankh More Pork?

Since I know all-too-well how much it stings to have one's punspiration completely overlooked in a ML thread, may I just say: Bravo and groan.

Terry Karney @ 168:

Xopher: Look up milpas agriculture.

This form of mixing crops has already been mentioned, but I'm pretty sure that the ancient Hebrews weren't trying to set themselves apart from their corn-growing neighbors. Unless... Are you suggesting maize migrates?

#198 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:04 PM:

mds @ 198:

I just checked: the restaurant I was thinking of was Grasshopper, in Union Square, Allston. Its web site, at least, is still there. It may be time for another visit to the restaurant itself.

#199 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 11:45 PM:

mds: I'm discussing the idea that mono-culture rotation is the best thing for the soil.

Maize isn't present, but something like running beans, and leafy greens, could be done the in the same vein.

#200 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 02:04 AM:

Carrie S. #132: He is in fact treyf, as a mammal which neither has cloven hooves nor chews cud.

What is the status of an animal that has been genetically or cosmetically altered to technically follow the rules?

#201 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:14 AM:

Earl Cooley @201: Probably "blasphemous", but much depends on the rabbinical arguments (i.e., could this be considered as being the same thing as making a golem?).

#202 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 07:37 AM:

Ginger@202

There was a short story (in Asimov's I think) some years back about a genetically modified pig that happened to follow the rules. In the story a reporter brought up the question of whether the pig was kosher (something that hadn't been previously considered), and a rabbi was consulted.

I don't remember the name of the story, the author, or exactly when it was published.

#203 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:01 AM:

Michael I #203: I can't remember the title of the story either, but it was by Harry Turtledove. The pig was genetically engineered to chew its cud, if I recall correctly, which made it kosher.

#204 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:13 AM:

I recall at least one of those. The animals were in a space station, and it was a jewish enclave.

#205 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 09:21 AM:

Piiiiiiiiiigs in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaace?

#206 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 10:44 AM:

M.K.@190: It is a French-style Korean Bakery

I've always vaguely worried about the possibility of French-Korean fusion cuisine. Frogs and snails and...oh dear. But a bakery is probably safe enough.

#207 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 02:22 PM:

Terry Karney @ 200:

mds: I'm discussing the idea that mono-culture rotation is the best thing for the soil.

Oh, I get that. I just thought of corn in the Middle East, and couldn't resist the riff on "coconuts migrate." My apologies.

#208 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 03:27 PM:

It's certainly diverse. Lutheran, Halal, and do-it-yourself bris kits? They sure don't want anyone feeling left out.

#209 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 03:45 PM:

Terry Karney @ 197:

8/8a aren't provable

You're right about that. Certainly, no reason is given in the text. However, as that and the health explanation are the two main ones that have been postulated, we might want to choose between them.

Consider an evolutionary argument. Which of the two promotes survival of Jews as a distinct group, and of Judaism as the religion they practice? The one that rationalizes people leaving the fold, abandoning the system? Or the one that encourages people to remain in the fold, and ensure the continuity of the system? The "keep us separate" effect/reason seems to be more of a survival trait.

#210 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 04:30 PM:

@203, 204

Oh! When I saw "genetically modified" I initially assumed the pig had been engineered for near-human or human intelligence and so forth, and that it had, no doubt for reasons germane to the story, decided to follow Jewish dietary law.

I see from @204 that I was mistaken. :) But I still think a sentient pig would, moreso than many creatures, want to keep kosher. Or at least want everyone else to keep kosher.

#211 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 04:36 PM:

Ken Brown @ 131:

There is a universal code hidden in the Torah: the Seven Laws given to the children of Noah. The Ten Statements (which encode about 15 commands) were given specifically to the Jews. The Sinaitic Revelation was directly to Moses and the Israelites, and meant exclusively for us. Which should come as a relief to the non-Jews: as S. Paul said, non-Jews need not observe the commands given to the Jews if they want to be Christian.

Passover does NOT apply to non-Jews living in Israel, it is only for the Jews, as you said, it creates the community. That the Christians (which started as a Jewish heresy) adapted the forms of Jewish worship for their own use is confusing, but understandable.

There are no sacraments in Judaism, in the sense of something that can only be performed by a priest because he is the intermediary in the channel to God. There are rituals that are only performed by priests, as a reward for their not having participated in the Sin of the Golden Calf; originally all firstborns were to have been the priesthood, but that changed after the Golden Calf. The Christians took the bread and wine of Kiddush, whereby we Jews participate in God’s Creation by sanctifying the holy days, and changed it into a vehicle through which the priest channels sanctity from heaven down to people. (Leaving aside the theophagy aspect, I really don’t want to get into that).

You see, for most observant Jews, sanctity is conferred on an object by use. The Talmud gives an example: can you reuse bricks from a synagogue for a secular purpose? The answer is, it depends: was the synagogue used yet? If it’s still under construction, you can take bricks and reuse them. Once the synagogue has been used by people as a synagogue, that confers holiness on the building and all its parts, and the bricks are now holy. God is Holy because He is One and Unique, but everything else in creation becomes holy because people use it or dedicate it for a holy purpose.

To put a Highlander spin on it, my home is holy ground, because I pray in it, say Kiddush and other blessings over food and actions in it, study in it – use it for a holy purpose, as well as the secular uses such as eating, sleeping, reading, Internetting, watching TV, etc.

I’d also point out that there is a section of the Torah which God tells us is specifically that which makes us a holy nation, and it’s not agricultural rules, or foodways, it’s moral/ethical behavior and attitudes. See Leviticus 19 and 20. Yes, there are some things about sacrifices, mostly ensuring that when done, they be done properly, but mostly it’s about interpersonal relations and avoidance of incest/adultery. The Bible critics extend the “Holiness Code” through ch’s 17-26, which includes a lot more Temple-related stuff, but that’s not the traditional reading. What makes us holy is that we conduct ourselves ethically and honorably.

By the way, “mixed plants” does not apply outside of Israel. It also doesn’t apply in flowerpots detached from the ground. So I can put a bunch of different herbs in the same windowbox. Square foot gardening is fine too, if I owned my own house & yard, which I don’t – my landlady likes her 15-foot square of grass.

Kevin Riggle @ 164:

Peking ravioli … trying to explain…

I was in a kosher Chinese place about 20 years ago, and someone was trying to explain wontons to their elderly mother. “They’re kreplach, Ma, they’re like kreplach.”

Terry Karney @ 168:

The linen/wool rule also applies to sewing linen & wool together, or using thread made of one to sew the other.

However, there is one exception in contemporary usage: tzitzis, ritual fringes for four-cornered garments. They are generally made of either the same material as the garment, or wool can be used anywhere, even on linen garments. Because a positive command overrides a negative command, but not a negative command coupled with a complementary positive command.

Dcb @ 182:

You shall not plough with an ox or ass together is a literal command, not a metaphor for anything, and we treat it as such. Whatever metaphorical lessons one may base on these things, for laws, “the text cannot be treated totally non-literally”. But yes, it's because of cruelty to the animals - which is an ideal we know of from elsewhere in the Torah.

#212 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Jon Baker @212: The Sinaitic Revelation was directly to Moses and the Israelites, and meant exclusively for us. Which should come as a relief to the non-Jews:

I can haz covet pls?

#213 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 08:48 PM:

can you reuse bricks from a synagogue for a secular purpose? The answer is, it depends: was the synagogue used yet? If it’s still under construction, you can take bricks and reuse them.

I remember when the church we went to moved to a new location: before we moved out of the old building, the final service included deconsecration of the building, so that it could be demolished by the new owner without fear of possible retribution. It isn't something that happens often.

#214 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2009, 10:53 PM:

The story about the genetically modified pig was indeed by Harry Turtledove; the title is The R Strain.

#215 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 08:36 AM:

Xopher, Allan Beatty: I'm glad you both like the name, but I can't take credit for it; I read it in a blog post on the LOLcat phenomenon about a year ago. I can't remember where, sadly, but you might be able to google for it. It was all about how Catois does have rules, just not the same rules as English.

#216 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 08:39 AM:

Jon Baker @ 212
I know the ox and the ass is a literal command (I'm Jewish); it's also used as a metaphor or example - what I was indicating to Xopher (while trying to keep my comment short therefore not saying it is meant literally) is that it's used as a metaphor for/example of avoiding forcing unequal shouldering of the same burden (or taken with e.g. not muzzling the ox while threading grain, against cruel treatment of animals in general) - not against intermarriage, which he was suggesting @ 102. This is in the same way that not placing a stumbling block before the blind or cursing the deaf are both literal and metaphors/examples of ethical behaviour (i.e., these are not the only things forbidden - other similar unethical actions are also forbidden).

#217 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 11:06 AM:

#216:

The best-known blog post on the topic of "lolcat language has rules" is this one by Anil Dash.

I don't know if it's the one you're thinking of, but the comments thread does include somebody proposing "catois".

#218 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 11:30 AM:

Paul A @ 218... somebody proposing "catois"

...to be used in a 'chat' room?

#219 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 11:39 AM:

Paul: I do believe that's the one, yes, though I could have sworn the term "Catois" was actually used in the body of the post.

#220 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:22 PM:

In Jamaica, of course, that would be "catwa".

#221 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:32 PM:

Fragano @221:

I thought a catwa was a theological proclamation by a priest of Bast.

#222 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 03:36 PM:

abi #222: *snort*

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:01 PM:

abi... Fragano... You too are pussyng it.

#224 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Serge @224:
I had the feline you would show up in this conversation.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:06 PM:

abi @ 225... I couldn't just leave the opportunity lion around.

#226 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Serge @226: Not even for a quick paws to refresh yourself? Ocelot of work!

#227 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:31 PM:

Serge: here to serval our punning needs.

#228 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 04:37 PM:

Such insults against my puns! I must be calm and not speak in angora though.

#229 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 06:08 PM:

A&W, in my youth, offered orange soda as alternative choice to root beer. They also offered a combination of the two, called Swamp Water. That choice seems to have gone poof over the years, but I still make it myself occasionally.

(Googling shows there's a cocktail called the Swamp Water, but obviously from a different swamp.)

#230 ::: Kate Y. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 06:37 PM:

Jon @196: "Meat and milk are forbidden because thrice the Pentateuch ... says 'thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.' ”

That strikes me as being HOW that combo was forbidden, still leaving wide open the question of WHY.

#231 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 06:48 PM:

#42:
An explanation from an interview with Genevieve Turner --
http://finalgirl.blogspot.com/2008/02/driving-miss-stacie.html

GT: You wanna know why? Because when I first moved here I was really amazed by that, too- like, how many fucking donuts can one population eat? It's because a donut shop is the cheapest business you can start that gets you the kind of license in California by which you have the power to bring other people in your family over from wherever they are.

SP: Which is why you see places like "Mom's Chinese Food and Donuts".

GT: Exactly. It's an immigration loophole. I mean, they're real businesses, but that's why there are so many of them. Isn't that a really interesting fact to know?

#232 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2009, 07:33 PM:

Recently, my mother has been mentioning a treat of her childhood, kind of like a "push-up" but with whipped cream and sponge cake. When she told me how to spell it (by dubbing this a "charlotte russe hamster"), I hit Google. Figuring there's a few elderly New Yorkers kicking around here, I present a recipe for Charlotte Russe (the tough part is finding food-grade cardboard tubes ;-) ). Another site discusses older cakes by that name.

#233 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:45 AM:

Serge@229

Now don't go trying to pull the wool over our eyes...

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:13 AM:

Michael I @ 234... I can't help being what Siam.

#235 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:43 PM:

Adrian Smith @207, I grew up with an enthusiasm for a French-style Japanese bakery (St. Germain), so items that might give some pause in the French-Korean bakery don't slow me down. St Germain savory pastries with mayo, for example, or the Boulangerie Bakery hot dog pizza on a sweet bread dough. I haven't seen it lately, but the Boulangerie Bakery does a sort of French toast croque-monsieur that I think of as an Asian Elvis ham sandwich. I'm sure there's mayo in it, as well as some kind of pickle relish, and the whole shebang is battered and fried. Everything in it is European or American, but the combination/applications have a flavor I think of as Asian.

This morning at the KCC Farmers Market I stopped at the Ba-Le stand, where they have the full line of bakery items (the chain specializes in Vietnamese sandwiches and pho). Their almond croissants are delightful, and I'm really glad I can only get them at the farmers market (if anyone knows of another venue selling them - don't tell me, please). An iced Vietnamese coffee and an almond croissant for breakfast sounds wonderful to me but would result in behaving like a hyperactive toddler, so I chose to go with my 'usual' - the Popo's Ginger shave ice from Blue Lotus. Then I had an ear of roasted corn with butter and furikake. Forgot to buy kim chee Portuguese sausage, though.

#236 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 06:59 PM:

m.k., you can get pizza manapua at Aiea Manapua across from the library.

#237 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:31 PM:

Linkmeister @237, I've had the pizza manapua and some of the other ones they offer, like the cheeseburger manapua. Island Manapua Factory in Manoa Marketplace also does a pizza one, as well as a 'breakfast' and a ham & cheese. I like the curry chicken and the smoked turkey, and their vegetarian is one of my favorite manapua/bao ever.

#238 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:39 PM:

Halal Chinese is fairly common here in Silicon Valley. There are two main cuisines that do that - Northwestern Chinese (Uighurs and their neighbors, who tend to use more wheat than rice, lamb instead of pork, and generally simpler spicing with lots of onions and sesame), and Southeastern Coastal Chinese (who cook lots of seafood, and I guess are probably connected with the Islamic cultures in Indonesia, Philippines, etc.)


That's much different from "Indian Chinese", which is India's equivalent of "Chinese-American" - there are a few classic sauces, some of which look even more evil under ultraviolet light (:-) and the local Indian-Chinese place has "American Chop Suey" as an apparently-common dish from that cuisine.


As far as Lutherans and coffee go, my experience with American Protestant churches has been that the Lutherans (both Swedish and German) make better coffee than the Methodists I grew up with, and the Methodists make better coffee than Southern Baptists, who really ought to stick with iced tea.

#239 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:44 PM:

Bill #239: there are a few classic sauces, some of which look even more evil under ultraviolet light

Ooo, that sounds interesting... tell us more!

#240 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 05:36 PM:

Kate Y @ 231:

The WHY is probably unknowable. People have speculated that local pagan cults specifically seethed a kid in its mother's milk as some kind of fertility/lifecycle rite, but that kind of thing is hard to know absent contemporary inscriptions or writings.

As noted above, the effect is to make it hard to eat with non-Jews or non-religious Jews, thereby minimizing socialization and intermarriage outside the group (Judaism is endogamous), but it that also the *cause*? We don't know. Ultimately we have to fall back on "My thoughts are not your thoughts."

#241 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 06:24 PM:

"Seething" sounds like a peculiarly specific term. Boiling meat in milk doesn't sound particularly appetizing to me, either. Or is it a yogurty sort of reference?

#242 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 06:38 PM:

Looks like it's a synonym for either "boil" or "simmer."

http://www.yourdictionary.com/seethe

#243 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2009, 07:04 PM:

Jon writes: We don't know. Ultimately we have to fall back on "My thoughts are not your thoughts."

My religion says that in this life, we all earn Korma, which is a kind of meat/dairy combo.

But I prefer Jhal Ferezi, with some garlic and coriander naan, basmati rice and a little dish of vicious green chile pickle, with limes and cardamom seeds, and some poppadoms to dunk in everything.

#244 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2009, 06:51 PM:

Re "seethe": the word in Hebrew is Mevashel, which is generally "cook". If you're cooking in milk, odds are it's wet cooking, unless, as Earl said, it's yogurty, like Tandoori.

On the other hand, the word can mean "roasting" as well, even if the specific word for roasting is something else. It's used in context of the Passover offering, which is roasted on a spit. So it can mean either wet or dry cooking.

#245 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 03:56 PM:

An odd random thought...
I know nothing about the original text, and I assume someone ruled this out centuries ago, but is there any chance that "in its mother's milk" originally meant "Still nursing?" In other words, don't cook them until they've gotten bigger and can feed more people?

#246 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 04:12 PM:

So why the heck didn't they just use the word "cook" instead of "seethe"? Was it just to have a religiony word thrown in there to impress the crowds with the dire nature of the sin described?

#247 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 04:50 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ #247

Well, it depends on which "They" you're talking about.

The King James, New King James, English Revised, and Webster's Bible translation all use "seethe."

The NIV, God's Word Translation, and the Bible in Basic English use "cook."

The NASB, the ASV, the Douay-Rheims, Darby, World English, and Young's Literal all use "boil."

I suppose it would be possible to argue for some of those translations as being more "religiony" than others, but I suspect the difference is more about the age of the translation (in the case of the KJV) and the priorities of the translator--for either more "poetic" or more "accessible" language--in the case of more modern translations.

"Seethe" used as a cooking term was in very frequent use in the 16th and 17th centuries--my guess would be as often or more often than "boil" used in the same way. So the KJV is using the word because it is accurate. It also happens to be beautiful. A pretty good rule of thumb for making word choices when writing, no?

#248 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 06:16 PM:

I associate seething with anger, so, no, I don't find it to be a particularly beautiful word; I suppose I can forgive the KJV writers for using words that sound archaic to the modern ear, though.

#249 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2009, 09:22 PM:

Seething is more a fast-simmer/slow boil, than a roiling pot.

It is still used in some cookery texts, and was current in them unto the 19th century.

Mellisa Mead: No, it was a prohibition of a particular style of cookery, one which was a festal mode for non-Jews in the region.

It was at once a dual symbol of separation: They avoided a style of food, and couldn't be mistaken for celebrating non-jewish religious rites.

#250 ::: Naomi Parkhurst sees more spam at 251 ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2011, 08:50 AM:

spammity spammity

#251 ::: Lila takes it back about the topical ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 08:08 AM:

*smacks self upside head for not reading the thread*

#252 ::: fidelio agrees its spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2011, 09:03 AM:

Especially since it's on another thread as well.

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