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Gryphons, Geeks and Goodness

by VM Brasseur on January 11th, 2009

A few weeks ago some friends and I got together to go see Bruce Campbell in-person doing a Q&A following a showing of his latest movie, My Name is Bruce.

The pre-show meeting place was a pub in Berkeley. Good food, good pints, good company, good times.

When you get a pack of geeks together conversations can—and usually do&#8212go places they just ought not. This evening was no exception and somehow we got onto the topic of kosher food laws and how they apply to fantastic creatures. For some reason the discussion became particularly animated on the topic of whether a gryphon would be kosher. Being the pack of secular geeks that we were we each could talk ourselves hoarse about the gryphon but none of us had a firm grasp on the culinary proscriptions of Judaism, making the chances that we were going to resolve the issue among ourselves slim at best.

Thankfully I both have an iPhone and know people (people who know people; they’re the loveliest people…). As quickly as the tiny keyboard would allow, I tapped out an email to a friend whom I know to be Jewish and whom I knew would receive and reply to my message in short order. My message:

I’m sitting around a table with a bunch of geeks discussing whether gryphon meat would be kosher. None of us are well-versed in the laws dictating kosherness. So, hey, would gryphon meat be kosher?

His reply turned out to be one of my favorite email messages of all time and is a credit to his knowledge, wit and patience with otherwise silly and pointless questions:

Almost certainly not. Without resorting to the wiki, I believe it has a lion’s paws?– hence, it’s a quadraped without a split hoof. I also assume they’re carnivores and don’t chew a cud. If you tried to classify it as a bird… birds of prey aren’t kosher.

Even if all these things weren’t true, it would of course also depend on how you killed it… and it’s hard to imagine that it wouldn’t put up one hell of a fight (i.e., thereby rendering it fit only for consumption by goyim).

And now we all know. It’s things like this which remind me that I know a lot of really outstanding people. Not only will they discuss this sort of thing but they’ll also be able to provide answers.

Put this near the top of reasons why life is good.

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