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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

When I was a kid growing up in New York, Pop and his brothers for their business had one incredible "treat" for me. We had season seats to the Jets, Giants, Knicks and Rangers, while one of my aunts had a whole box smack on the Third Base Line, first row, for the Mets. If you are a sports fan you can just imagine what heaven that was for my friends and myself.

Oh, don't think I had seats for any game I wanted to go to either. They were for "business clients" and I usually got to pick 2 Giant games (football) 1 Jet game (football) and a lot of Met games. The Knicks (basketball) and Rangers (hockey) well let us say, Pop and I went to a lot of those, while Mom loved to go to Hockey. She loved the fights in Hockey and would scream like a banshee when they started. That was my Mom!

But there was one really yucky thing for me especially for the Baseball and Football games. We were kosher, and therefore all we could eat at the games were Peanuts, Crackerjacks and Coke. Now mind you, that is great, but when you are sitting next to a bunch of people eating stadium hot dogs and that smell hits your nostrils, and you are all of ten years old, well, it kind of bums ya out that you could not eat the stuff.

Now, I have been told, and also saw on a couple of my trips back to the old hunting ground, that in Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium there was a Kosher concession stand now. And though that is a great thing for all the people who eat kosher, I truly wondered how the hell they make money? I mean how many people at each game are going to insist on buying Kosher food and can afford those prices to boot?

So of course, an old friend sends me this article entitled: "Growing kosher market arrives at stadiums to feed hungry fans" printed in the Boston Herald.

I drooled. And drooled again while screaming, "It is NOT fair!"

Talking about Jeffrey Striks, who opened a company seven years ago, Strikly Kosher, it tells how he is offering kosher food at concession stands at Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium in New York and how he now operates kosher stands at Giants Stadium and Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, Nassau Coliseum in Long Island and the Yankees’ minor league ball park in Staten Island.

The article goes on to say:

His core market is the most observant Jews who follow the laws of kashrut, which restricts what food can be eaten and how it is prepared.

But he’s also attracting customers who aren’t Jewish and perceive that kosher food is healthier. They are buying his knishes, chicken nuggets and “knockwurst” - not the traditional German sausage but a chicken product designed to look like a hot dog.
That is interesting. Kosher is seen as healthier food. I don't really think this is true, but let us go on a bit shall we?
Since typical stadium fare is hot dogs, selling kosher food at sports venues is a logical market, said Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior research analyst at Mintel, a market research firm in Chicago which estimates the American kosher food market to be $40 billion.
That is a lot of money - $40 Billion. And certainly that is not only being eaten by Kosher observant families.

But I know from experience it is true that Kosher food is percieved as being better and healthier. And if I had been smarter I should have jumped on this hint.

While in high tech, I used to fly into the US and Europe quite often for meetings and to give seminars. Indeed, during the course of a couple of years, I thought I was living in airports. One time I ended up in the Las Vegas Convention Center. I was not a particularly happy dude during that period, and to make it worse I was starving. I am also incredibly lucky as I can live on tuna and mayo for days on end. But for some reason I was starving during this convention.

For those of you familiar with the Convention Center in Las Vegas, it is a huge affair. Not as huge as Berlin but big enough. So there I was giving a seminar, and I mentioned during the seminar that I was going to shrink to nothing in the middle of the most gluttonous city in the world.

So some nice person comes up to me and says, "Just wanted to tell you that there is a kosher stand all the way over at the other end of the grounds."

So I make a beehive over to the Kosher stand, where all the food stands are. And I get there, and see that every other food stand is serving maybe 1-2 people and the Kosher stand has a line of no less than around 50 people. So like a good boy I stand in line, but I realize there is no way that all these people are kosher observant Jews or Muslims. So I ask the lady behind me why she and everyone else is on line for the Kosher food, which by the way, was being microwaved, covered in all sorts of covers, and looked to me absolutely horrible!

She says, "Everyone knows Kosher food is better. Tastes better than the rest of this crap too."

I shrug and figure you know what? When people get to Las Vegas they loose their marbles. I would have given anything for a nice, thick Rib Steak right then and there.

I guess, the lesson is, whether true or not, Kosher food is looked upon as a grade above. I do not understand why, perhaps people think we do things to clean out the food better (partially true). And Jewish law demands a healthy animal and certainly a clean and very divided kitchen.

Well folks. If anyone out there wants to take me to a ballgame..
Tickets are on you. Kosher Hotdogs and Coke are on me!!
And boy are you going to eat and eat and eat. Let me tell you.
I have many lost years to make up for!

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3 Fire Comments - Click To Post A Comment:

bes said...

Teddy, if I were in New York, I'd glady take you to a ballgame. (But I'm a Yankees fan, is that still okay?)

Ted W. Gross said...

Hah! You caught on the Yankees were missing from the list!

Sports is sports is sports...
and for a good Kosher Hot Dog I will even sell my soul to the Yankees!

Paula said...

Sports is sports but come on.. the Yankees! Sheesshhh.. Fenway Park sells the Kosher Hot Dogs as well.
I would gladly take you there and buy you a Kosher Dog..

I read this article in the newspaper this morning. Once a few major sporting venues pick up on this, it will not be long before kosher foods are available everywhere. So Ted before you sell your soul..be patient..