When people think of Jewish food, kosher edibles, many tend to think of bagels, latkes, gefilte fish, matzoh balls in chicken soup. If one is dreaming of Hebraic snacks, among the treats that come to mind are hamantaschen, jelly donuts and in certain American households, those Passover-sealed chocolate Lollicones on a stick. But in recent decades, more and more foods have been adapted for the Kosher palate. This is a consumer-driven given, and we are now able to eat and drink all kinds of items that have been inspected and dealt out various Kashrut symbols.

This has been on my mind especially because the other day my husband and I shopped in a new supermarket, about ten minutes due south of our Brooklyn home. This new emporium, called Gala Fresh, occupies the space that formerly housed a Waldbaum's grocery store. The iconic Waldbaum's (well, iconic in New York City and areas nearby) was founded by a Jewish family several decades ago, but many of their stores have closed up. My husband and I had just eaten dinner at a restaurant in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, and I pointed out this new store on our drive homeward.

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We had to buy a few items anyway, but I also wanted to check out the new store and see its pros and cons. They had some good sale specials, and I also noted that they carried a wide variety of ethnic foodstuffs as well as many kosher items. Almost any given supermarket in Brooklyn will carry items desired by many different ethnicities, and adventurous folk in general. It's not just about being nice; it's about marketing and selling.


So what did I find and buy, besides the mundane pancake syrup and fresh strawberries? Two containers of Lassi Mango Yogurt drink, and a bottle of Mango Coconut sauce. Both certified kosher. Neither your typical kosher food.

Lassi is typically an Indian dairy drink. I've been fond of lassi, especially the mango style, for many years, And here was the Gopi brand of lassi, certified with a KSA stamp. And the Mango Coconut sauce was from Jamaican Choice brand, with a little graphic promoting it as "Real Caribbean." And it had an OK symbol.

I can attest to the tastiness of the Lassi, although it isn't quite as delicious and creamy as those I have purchased in Indian restaurants. The sauce I will use later this week; I think I will cook it with fresh fish. But this just goes to show that so many food manufacturers are willing to accommodate the Kosher audience, and presumably Jewish consumers are interested in ethnic items they might not have dreamed about buying and eating, just a few years back.

Perhaps the globalization of our palates may be a means to a better world, a more understanding atmosphere.


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