As you travel around the world you can comfortably survive without kosher stores or products with kosher certification, as long as you have the basics; vegetables, carbohydrates and protein.
Read till the end as all the fun videos are at the bottom…
Protein and Nutrition
One doesn’t need huge amounts of protein for health, as according to the US government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on nutrition, adult men and women need only 56 & 46 grams of protein respectively. You can get your Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) with meats, poultry, and fish, legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds, milk and milk products, grains, some vegetables, and some fruits.
Since animal products need reliable kosher supervision (meat, poultry, milk products etc.), I’ll focus on one of the Kosher animal products you can get anywhere in the world which will supplement your protein needs – eggs. (The other product is fish, which I wrote about in a different post – Keeping Kosher at the Tsukiji Fish Market).
This post we will discuss three points:
- How to identify Kosher types of eggs
- Checking for blood-spots
- How to prepare eggs around the world without a normal Kosher kitchen
Of course nothing is completely simple in Jewish Law so you can’t just walk into any store in Shanghai or Kinshasa (Congo), buys eggs and feast on an omelet. There are still a few rules to follow:
Not every species of egg is kosher. Only those which come from a Kosher species of bird, like Chicken, Cornish hens, Ducks, Geese, and Turkey are Kosher. Ostrich, Eagle and Vulture are not. As for Guinea Fowl and Quail, we don’t have a clear tradition of their status, so their eggs are not for eating either.
Identifying a Kosher Egg
The Talmud gives us the signs that point us to whether an egg kosher or not:
- Non-Kosher: If the egg is totally round like a ball OR if the yolk of the egg surrounds the white of the egg OR if the egg has no white but is filled with yolk, a non-kosher bird laid the egg.
- Kosher: If the egg is round at one end and tapered at the other, AND the white of the egg surrounds the yolk AND it looks like the egg of a chicken or of another identifiable kosher bird, the egg is kosher and may be eaten without any further investigation as to its pedigree.
So after pantomiming your egg needs at the local grocery store, you get some Kosher eggs and take them home.
We’re good for supper now? Not yet. There’s still the issue of blood or blood-spots in the eggs.
Blood-spots in Eggs
It is forbidden to eat blood found in an egg. The reason is not related to the prohibition of eating blood (like in meat), but rather because blood in an egg is a sign that a new embryo is forming, and it is forbidden to eat an embryo.
In the times of the Talmud blood appeared in eggs because of two reasons:
- The egg had been fertilized and a chicken embryo was being produced.
- An irregularity in the hen causes a small amount of blood to be deposited in the egg.
In past years, most eggs came from fertile hens, whose hormone levels stimulated more egg production. Today, this is not the case. The hormones are stimulated artificially, the chickens themselves are not fertile and the eggs will not develop into chickens.
In modern commercial egg operations, this hormone enhancement is achieved (and controlled), by artificial means through the feed. The eggs themselves are not fertile; they will never develop into chickens. While in the past, every blood-spot might have signified the beginning of a new embryo, today’s commercial methods virtually insure that this is not the case.
As such, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 1:36), clarifies that blood spots found in commercially produced eggs do not present any fundamental kosher problem.
Nevertheless, the accepted practice is to check each individual egg prior to use.
- If you find blood or a blood-spot, the tradition is to throw away the egg as eggs are not expensive and a person does not incur any significant loss.
- In general white eggs have less blood-spots than brown eggs.
- In rural areas where eggs are sold at the farm or on the side of the road, it is possible to buy a fertilized egg. In this case it is definitely correct to check the eggs for blood spots.
- If checking is overly difficult, such as at night on a camping trip, for example, where there is no available good light, one may eat eggs without checking.
- There is no problem with eating eggs cooked in the shell (boiled or roasted), even though these cannot be checked, though many have the tradition to cook at least three eggs at a time to make sure that even if one of them had a spot, the bloody egg would be nullified by the majority of “clean” eggs in the pot.
You can get more information on Eggs and Blood-spots in the OU Website.
Cooking Eggs Around the World
Now that you have Kosher blood-free eggs, how do you prepare them without a Kosher kitchen?
Assuming you have a pot, pan, dish or glass here are four solutions for preparing eggs:
Using a non-Kosher Stove
Cooking With a Microwave
If you have a Kosher microwave, there are Three Easy Ways To Cook Eggs In The Microwave:
Cooking With a Rollie EggMaster
If you like new gadgets:
Cooking With an Alcohol Stove
If you literally have no real equipment to cook with, you can fry or cook eggs on an alcohol stove. It’s compact, light-weight and simple to use anywhere without a fuss.
How To Make An Alcohol Stove
For the DIY types, an alcohol stove can be made from 2 cans of soda.
For more information on raw materials and fuel for the alcohol stove check out the following link – Zen and the Art of the Alcohol Stove.