We might not be living down south our out west but smoked meats have become so very popular in the New York area and recently amongst kosher patrons it’s all the craze. There are so many individuals purchasing smokers, getting advice on various groups and schmoozing with local butchers to get certain cuts of meats to smoke and enjoy. It has only gotten more intense and real with Brisket King 2017 which took place right after Pesach this year.
Brisket King is the local NY brisket competition held in Brooklyn showcasing the best and brightest of the local enthusiasts and professionals, the catch is there was only one kosher entry this year and that was Sruly Eidelman of Izzy’s Smokehouse located in Crown Heights. The lines to try his smoked culinary delights had long lines all evening and gave a glimpse of what was yet to come, history! Later that evening Sruly was crowned “Brisket King 2017” making history and bringing kosher to the forefront of smoking news with what we hear is a documentary to follow shortly. Smoking being ever so popular now a good friend and “Grand Master” pit boss Mendel Siegel flew in from Kansas City to join Sruly at Brisket King and give a class a few days later. A very select few locals along with people driving in from Philadelphia drove in to “The Estate” in Queens to pay top dollar to get a hands on class taught by Mendel Siegel. Mendel has won the most medals of anyone in the Kosher BBQ circuit and taught his very aught after “Competition Class” where he shared his knowledge and his exact steps of what he does during competitions to win all that gold! The entire kosher scene is now looking forward to the Havanagrilla Kosher BBQ Competition that will be held in August in Philadelphia where many teams will be going for that gold and kosher bragging rights.
Can You Keep Kosher in Space?
Astronauts on the International Space Station can't follow strict kosher laws — or stay totally kosher for Passover — but the scientists at NASA's food lab have a few options for observant space fliers.
Space.com talked with Vickie Kloeris, manager of NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory, about the space station crew's options.
According to Kloeris, purely kosher meals aren't currently possible for the space station fliers. "It has nothing to do with the space station per se; it has to do with our food production facility," Kloeris told Space.com. "We have a single packaging room on the U.S. side. All of the food that's part of our standard menu that we provide they have to be done in separate, unique facilities. Therefore, everything we package would not meet that requirement."
Kloeris noted that it's possible to travel with a limited allotment of kosher foods, in order to honor an astronaut's heritage; every astronaut is allowed a certain number of crew-specific containers sent to the space station, which can account for about 10 percent of their diet.
Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who flew on the space shuttle Columbia, took some kosher food with him on the shuttle flight, for instance. But the main limitation is the large amount of food that would be needed. If Kloeris' food lab were called upon to support a U.S. astronaut who was following a 100 percent kosher diet, it would be a substantial undertaking to find and package food that met the dietary requirements and were satisfactory for a long stay on the space station.
Occasionally, NASA's food lab has had to accommodate astronauts with special food requirements, like lactose-free diets, by making use of those crew-specific containers, Kloeris said. However, such cases are rare, she added; most crewmembers who are cleared to fly might request lower-gluten or lower-lactose diets, but they don't require strict restrictions. So for now, NASA says it’s really possible to keep Kosher in space, so it’s time to think about another adventure.
Kosher Goes Public
New York City schools may soon be required to make their cafeterias more inclusive: A state assemblyman from Queens named David Weprin has introduced legislation that would make public schools in the city offer lunch options that meet the religious dietary restrictions of it’s students, in particular meals that are kosher opening up an entire new business and revenue stream for kosher foodservice companies that do business with with the city.
“The city is much more diverse religiously now than it’s ever been,” Weprin said to. “It’s important that we honor and respect each other’s religions.”
Although Weprin’s bill doesn’t cover how much the mandate would cost, he dismissed any additional expense, arguing that schools can easily purchase pre-packaged food that meets the requirements.
Rabbi Yakov Cohen from Brooklyn praised the bill, mentioning that most Jewish kids who observe kosher have to bring just a peanut and jelly sandwich to school for lunch, instead of a hot meal.
Like myself, I know so many people work long hours and when it comes to preparing dinner we don’t always have all the time to make the perfect meal. What I do enjoy is perfect battered eggplant rounds to make eggplant parmesan along with so many other dishes as I truly enjoy eggplant so much. I used to spend hours cutting, dipping, battering and frying eggplant rounds, they wouldn’t always come out perfect and would take me forever to make. I recently found the B’gan pre made eggplant rounds, and not only are they perfectly rounded and battered, they taste delicious. Now we can all have more time to spend with our family and still have amazing dinners!