The origins of the Aracouna chicken have baffled scientists for the last century. The Aracouna Indians kept no written records and the source of the mutations observed in these birds is unknown. European explorers took note of these birds shortly after reaching South America. The birds are mentioned in the writings of the Portuguese explorer Magelhaes (Magellan) who documented their presence in 1519, less than thirty years after the maiden voyage of Columbus. The sky blue eggs were mentioned seven years later by Sebastian Cabot (1526). Although it is possible that the chickens were introduced by the Europeans, the immediate dispersal and distinct husbandry of these birds suggest that the bird was being raised by the natives before 1492. Similarly, radiocarbon and DNA analysis indicate that these birds are not of European origin (Story et al., 2007).
Buckwheat kasha has been one of my favorite foods since I was little. My Russian-born mother always prepared kasha (buckwheat groats) exactly the same way that her mother and grandmother did before her. She poured the kasha into her big, blackened, aluminum skillet and mixed it with a lightly beaten egg until each grain was well coated. She then toasted it over medium-low heat until the grains were dry and separate, with a wonderful, nutty aroma. She slowly added homemade hot chicken soup, creating a giant cloud of steam. Mom covered the skillet and cooked the kasha on the stovetop until the grains were swollen, tender and fluffy, 10 to 15 minutes. Then she moved the pan off the heat and stirred in a big spoonful of golden schmaltz (chicken fat), salt and pepper, covered it and let it rest for 20 minutes. Then she tasted it, hot from the pot, to make sure it was just right…and it was.
Founded in 1797, The Birkett Mills is the oldest and one of the primary millers of buckwheat in America. The company is located in Penn Yan, New York, and has been family owned for over 200 years. Originally the mill was water powered and it generated electricity for both milling of grain, but also for the village of Penn Yan until the village had its own source of electricity. The town was founded by Connecticut Yankees and Pennsylvania Dutch and thus got its name from both of these groups.
Karoun Dairies: From String Cheese to Mediterranean Specialty Yogurts, a Growing Company With a Special Product
Founded in 1992, Karoun Dairies is proud of its heritage as a family-run business established to fulfill the family’s American dream of producing dairy. The company has continued to grow from its early days of creating hand-braided string cheese for local grocery stores to its current status of producing a wide variety of Mediterranean specialty yogurts, labne and sour cream with nationwide distribution.
My grandfather was what they call in the United States a “revenooer.” He was the excise man for the Scotch whisky distilleries in Campbeltown, a little town on the west coast of Scotland. I was born there and still vacation there. A little town now, but in its heyday it had more than 30 distilleries. There was a distillery/maltings not far away from our house, and as a little boy I routinely played in the maltings with the cats who “lived” in the barley. I retained an interest in Scotch whisky, including drinking it when I was old enough, and was thrilled when Rabbi Safran asked me to audit some distilleries which wanted OU kosher certification on their single malt whiskies. One of them was only a few miles over the water from my vacation cottage!
If you would have suggested to an observant Jew that in the earliest part of the 21st century our ancient diet would become one of the hottest new food trends and that the kosher food market would be amongst the fastest growing food sectors in America and Europe, you would surely have been rewarded with a bemused look worthy of an encounter with an inhabitant of the wistful land of Chelm, inhabited by a population of sweet, confused citizens who can make neither heads nor tails of anything.
From the highest of the Scottish Highlands now come varieties of single malt whisky manufactured by Tomintoul Distillery and newly certified by OU Kosher. Tomintoul, located in the community of the same name, the highest village in the Highlands, is owned by Angus Dundee, an independent company with over 50 years’ experience in producing, blending, bottling and distributing top-quality Scotch whiskies and other spirits.
In a recent issue of Daf HaKashrus, we presented information about the contemporary controls and regulations that pertain to government inspection of milk, demonstrating (with the concurrence of Rav Belsky, shlita) that the Igros Moshe’s heter for cholov stam is alive and even stronger than before.
A Larabar is a date bar made by the Larabar company, and is certified kosher by the OU. There are multiple varieties, but each of them contains, as the primary ingredient, dates. The other ingredients, depending on the variety, are nuts, spices, and other fruits.
What is the beracha rishona? How many bars must be eaten before making a beracha achrona, and what should the beracha achrona be?
Melty rich and the secret to so many dishes, who doesn’t love butter? Certainly not the folks at Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organic Valley has several butter products under its umbrella of offerings, not the least of which is its award-winning and OU Kosher certified European Style Cultured Butter and Pasture Butter.