Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Food Inspector

When I was younger, a friend of mine's little brother nicknamed me the Food Inspector, because of my habit of staring intently at what's on my plate before it goes in my mouth. Right now I am blogging to you from a mashgiahh (kashrut supervisor) gig that I'm working for a week here at the end of the summer.

Sorry, not going to give any identifying information about the event, organization, or location in this forum.

Anyway, here are my short bursts from the front line of kosher food service.

Number 1 — if you want to be a good mashgiahh, you need to be nosey and paranoid. Lucky for me, I've got those qualities down; although I'm not quite as paranoid as the conspiracy-theorist I subletted an apartment from in Jerusalem a few years ago, who was convinced that the Mossad was out to get him. I used to wonder what would happen if they came to the apartment and found me instead of him. It might also be beneficial to be a megalomaniac, but I've heard that that's more of a chef kind of feature than a mashgiahh one.

Number 2 — We got in a whole load of chickens for a barbecue. There were 4 boxes. Two of them came from a chicken farm whose name I recognized from college, which has two hekhshers: the OU, and Crown Heights. The other two boxes came from Kiryas Joel. I found this very amusing. If you don't get what's funny about it, just ask.

In other news, they've got Staghorn Sumac trees around here, and I finally was able to make myself a cup of sumacade. Tasted like a combination of unsweetened lemonade and unsweetened tea.

Oh, and the internet access here stinks. That's why y'all haven't seen me around the Judeoblogosphere lately. Should be coming back in the middle of this week.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Abominations of Egypt

A friend of mine (let's give him the anonymous internet pseudonym of Tanur Empanadas, or TE for short, just for kicks) lent me his copy of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks. Originally written in French, and translated by G. M. Goshgarian, the book “treats the ancient Egyptian gods as if they were an ethnic group that captured the fancy of ethnologists or sociologists” in the words of the back-cover blurb. It talks about their origins, qualities, interactions, biographies, inclinations, hobbies — anything you would expect in a description of a real live group of people. Except this is all from the perspective of the Ancient Egyptians... what we can learn from the evidence they left us about how they imagined their gods.

And now I think I understand why the Torah warns us away from the *abominous “doings of the Land of Egypt” — those people were complete pervs!

The Ancient Egyptian gods were all one big family, who married their siblings, raped their siblings, raped their parents, cheated on their [sibling] spouses with their other relatives... and these are their gods! It's not quite the Greek gods having sex with everything that moves and many things that don't, but it seems even worse — the long complicated stories about rape and rape back, and the magical machinations of divine spooj... ick. These guys were disgusting.

On a separate, but related, note —

I had a friend in college who was Jewish, but got turned off of Judaism when she was a girl and her Hebrew School teachers berated and insulted her for being interested in Egyptology. Somehow because God kicked their butts and freed us from their slavery, that makes them unfit for historical inquiry? They were still human, after all. And it's not like she was worshipping Horus's divine spew or something! It could have been a great educational opportunity to talk about the differences between Israelite and Egyptian ideas of cosmology, morality, etc. — and they just wasted it, and wasted my friend's Jewish potential along with it. Bad teachers.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Eden in Internet Fad Form

Step One:

Go to BadgerBadgerBadger.

Step Two:

Replace "badger" with Adam.
Replace "mushroom" with Hhava (Eve).

Step Three:

You can leave the rest alone.

Wait for it... wait for it...