Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

Posted by Simcha 8:18 AM, under | 3 comments

The Kosher Guide to Imaginary AnimalsKeeping kosher can be tough sometimes, particularly when you are desperately hungry and a mythological creature suddenly crosses your path when you just happen to have a perfectly sharpened knife on you (a requirement for a kosher kill) - but you hesitate, not knowing if this creature would be considered kosher. And so, due to your ignorance you are forced to allow your only source of food (if you are really far from home) to lumber by untouched as you remain hungry. Well, thanks to Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, and The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals, you will never be faced with this unpleasant situation again.


The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals is a handy, pocket sized booklet that lists and describes a variety of imaginary animals from around the world and provides a verdict as to the creature’s kosher status. The animal’s kosher status is provided after a brief dialogue between Ann and Evil Monkey (Jeff Vandermeer’ blogging alter go) in which they consider the different aspects of each creature that would qualify or disqualify it from being kosher.



    Aigi Kampos (half fish half goat):


    Ann: It’s a kind of hippocamp, which generally aren’t kosher- the fish tail part is good, the horse part, not so much.


    Evil Monkey: But in this case the horse has been replaced by a bull!


    Ann: That’s true, so yes, that would be kosher because it has cloven hooves, chews its cud, and has fins and scales.


    Evil Monkey: Well then, answer me this- why is it that the reason it’s kosher have to do with the gross icky bits you wouldn’t ever eat?


    Ann: Why don’t you ask G-d and see how that works out for you?


The creatures listed range from the Japanese Abumi-Guchi (not kosher) and the Chilean Camahueto (Kosher) to the Argentinian Borges (undecided) and the Leviathan (very Kosher, but only for the righteous). At the end of the book, Duff Goldman, from the Food Networks’ Ace of Cakes, discusses the best way to cook and serve some of these imaginary creatures and even suggests appropriate wines to go with each dish. Included with the book was a recipe for Grilled Mongolian Death Worm Maki, which actually sounds quite delicious but unfortunately is not kosher.


manticoreThe Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals is a fun and entertaining book to read through, particularly since it has some wonderful illustrations and includes many creatures from folklore and fantasy that I have never heard of before. I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t more recipes included, since Goldman’s cooking instructions were some of the best parts of the book. But I certainly feel secure now, knowing that if I ever encounter a Wookie, while hungry, broke, and far from home (and carrying a sharp knife, of course) I can go ahead and assuage my hunger.

3 comments:

Now I can rest easy knowing that my Chilean Camahueto steak fillets are kosher. Happy eating!

Stephanie, while the recipe does sound delicious, the real trick is to actually find a camahueto. We only get unicorns and Mongolian Death Worms around here, neither of which are kosher. Of all the luck...

It's certainly a much more appealing alternative to travelling the galaxy with a ton of tinned tuna in your backpack.

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