Locust plagues are not generally considered a good-news story, so the threat of impending locust devastation to Victorian agriculture is being watched with trepidation.
However, the locust onslaught is also opening up some productive conversations between Muslims and Jews. I’m not saying that the plague is going to achieve lasting reconciliation between all the fractious children of Abraham, but it could provide the basis for future discussion.
Or failing that, it could at least provide the catering.
Locusts, as it happens, are the only insect to be regarded as both kosher and halal. Scholarly interpretations vary, with some authorities claiming that this decree only applies to particular varieties of locusts, while others maintain that locusts in general are kosher/halal.
Locust-eating has been under discussion by Muslim and Jews on Facebook – or my little corner of Facebook, at least. The conversation has featured the odd locust-relevant quote from Leviticus, but a lot more talk about how-to.
Sol Sabe has combed Google Hebrew for locust recipes. The recipes he’s posted sound a helluva lot more tempting than those provided in today’s Age. Possibly because Yeman has a richer food culture than does the US Food and Agriculture Organisation – the Age’s anointed authority on locust cuisine.
I’ve enjoyed lunch at Sol’s place (locusts were not on the menu, that day) and seen his extensive collection of recipe books – if Sol’s cooked it, I’ll eat it. Locusts with fennel? Stir-fried locusts with orange sauce? Yes, please!
And locust-eating is a slightly more interesting topic of conversation that “So, you don’t eat pork? Me neither…”