YUM, DELICIOUS LOCUSTS
It's not just a plague, it's pareve!
Thanks to Ha'aretz for breaking this crunchy, slightly nausea-inducing story.
Nutritious and Delicious, But Are They Kosher?
"Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper." (Leviticus 11:22).
Rabbis through the ages have never argued against locusts being kosher; they have only debated whether what we call locusts today were the locusts of the Bible.
Dr. Zohar Amar, head of the Land of Israel Studies department at Bar Ilan University, notes that Jews as well as other peoples in the Near East liked their locusts. "Texts tell how top-quality locusts were brought to Sennacherib on skewers," Amar noted.
However, as time went on, Ashkenazi rabbis began to exclude locusts from Jewish diets because of the difficulty of ascertaining whether they were the same creatures the Bible had permitted. In Yemen and North Africa, however, Jewish communities continued to enjoy locusts.It was not until the 17th century that Moroccan sage Rabbi Haim Ben Attar forbid his flock from eating locusts, which he said had only become part of the Jewish diet during famines, and whose kosher status was suspect.But Amar notes that the popularity of the dish among their Muslim neighbors probably kept it on most North African Jewish menus.
Locusts, by the way, are parve (categorized as neither milk nor meat) and the laws of kosher slaughtering do not apply to them.
I'm baffled. And a little bit nauseated. But I guess the good news is that next time there's a plague of locusts, all we have to do is catch them in bulk (using a giant net? locust traps? a tallis?), somehow kill them (the article notes that the laws of kosher slaughtering don't apply, so I'm a little rusty on airborne insect-killing methodologies), and then serve them up with either meat or milk, because they're all super-pareve. Kind of like edamame. Even before I start my research, I'm sure they're also low-carb, good news for all those Atkins disciples. But how many Points are they?
Thanks to the internet, here's some Nutritional Information (preceded by this disclaimer: "The University of Maryland and the Cicadamaniacs do not advocate eating cicadas without first consulting your doctor"):
Insects provide as much protein pound per pound as lean beef. For example, every 100 gram serving of each, termites provide 617 calories of energy while lean ground beef gives 219 and cod gives 170 (3).
But what about locusts? Thanks again to my friend the internet:
According to the book Creepy Crawly Cuisine, by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy (ParkStreet Press, Rochester, VT, 1998), a pound of locusts (grasshoppers)contains more than adequate amounts of all amino acids for adults'nutritional needs. This amount of locusts also meet an adult's daily needsfor phosphorus, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and essential fattyacids. Calcium levels, although insufficient to meet dietary standards, exceed those of meats commonly consumed in the United States, such as beef and chicken. The carbohydrate content is very low, making locusts a suitable food for the Atkins Diet.
(I knew it!)
This whole subject reminds me of the time that guy was hospitalized for eating too many cicadas. What, you're out of cicada recipes? Click here for more cicada recipes than any human could need.
My lunch is ruined. How about yours?