Osem stuff I found in the kitchen. Who runs the State of Israel? Religious Israelis will say the secular lobby. Secular Israelis will say the religious. A foolish goy will say the elected government of Israel as embodied by the Knesset. Michael says you people are all nitwits. Israel is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Osem.

You thought Osem just made those little soup almonds? You’re wrong. Osem has a hand in everything from instant coffee to couscous. Osem probably legally has a controlling interest in your shul, your JCC and your children. If Palestinian terror groups were smart, instead of attacking buses which brings the wrath of the IDF down on their heads, they would simultaneously hit every Osem facility in Israel. Left without Bamba, soup almonds, Nok Out bars, chicken soup stock, cup noodles and bagged ravioli, Israel would crumple in a week (fortunately for us, Palestinian terrorists tend to be dumb as cactus – although hopefully none of them are reading Jewlicious).

Seriously, though, Osem is a great company whose ubiquity in both Israel and kosher markets around the Diaspora isn’t a bad thing, because their products are actually pretty good (and I’m not even getting paid to say that, though I am open to the idea if any Osem execs are reading this). Being someone who keeps kosher, I live on their bagged food products at school and wind up eating better than anybody I know who eats at that skankhole cafeteria. So without further ado, here are some facts about Israel’s biggest food company:

– Osem began in 1942 as a collective of seven businessmen’s various noodle factories in Israel.
– The name comes from the Yom Kippur prayer for plenty.
– Osem provided jobs for thousands of new immigrants in the difficult years of the 1950s, probably leading many Sephardim to question how they had gone from being artisans or merchants or doctors or rabbis in the old country to standing on an assembly line stamping out spaghetti in the Holy Land.
– The first Osem factory is in Bnei Brak; others are in Holon, Petach Tikva, Sderot and Yokneam.
– Bamba, the vitamin-fortified Cheeto-ish addictive-like-crack peanut butter puff snack, was introduced in 1964
РNestl̩, the Swiss super company, owns 50.1 percent of Osem
– Osem products are available in the UK, the US, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand
– In addition to Osem-labelled products in Israel and the US, Osem owns or distributes Sabra Salads (makers of the only decent storebought hummus in America), Tivol (fake-meat products produced in Kibbutz Lochamei ha-Geta’ot), Of Tov chicken, Beit Hashitah pickles, Nestle ice cream and Purina dog food.
– Some Israeli guy with too much time on his hands has reviewed a bunch of Osem snacks. Trust me – the falafel Bissli really does taste eerily like falafel.

So next time you see the Osem logo in your home or at the market, remember: they own your Jewish ass, so buy a bag of Bamba. It’s vitamin-fortified.

About the author

michael

82 Comments

  • The non stop pimping… Throwaway lines…
    Wrong, HU has very good food there, good sandwiches, I was there a couple of years ago and reccomend a visit by bus incl. lunch.

  • What I always loved about the Osem product line was their snappy advertising campaign: Zeh tov, zeh Osem. Zehu. OK, so I added the Zehu, but I think the terseness of the slogan is, in fact, a window into the mindset of the Israeli…

    “What? You need a reason to buy it? It’s good. What else do you need to know? I say it’s good, and it is Osem, and that’s it!”

    Second place: Commercial where like twenty Israeli soldiers are soaping each other up in an outdoor shower, then the testosterony voice-over: “Maccabi…birah shel gever.”

  • At Hebrew U., you can’t get anywhere near the really good Frank Sinatra Cafeteria (adjacent to the Nancy Reagan Plaza) without a student ID. Dang yo!

  • “Osem owns or distributes Sabra Salads (makers of the only decent storebought hummus in America”

    Oooooh…hummus!

  • My friends always loved the Schnitzel at “Frank.” Since I was stuck out in Kiryat Yovel, I didn’t get there much. But the twice I had it…yum.

  • Osem really is awesome. Whenever I’m trying to introduce new foods to friends, I’ll always pick up the Osem couscous.

    Mmm… Kosher yum-yum.

  • Osem couscous? yum-yum? Oh my, Brakha would not approve. But I gues in Calgary you take whatever you can get.

  • CK, you’re not kidding.

    The Kosher section @ Safeway 3 shelves at the end of an aisle.

    Nothing like the all Kosher Sobey’s in Toronto *grumbles*

  • Where can you find Crispy Zaatar? That reviewer says it’s “baked, not fried”. Healthy AND tasty? Yum! And you just can’t beat Sabra Hummus. My seven-year-old’s totally addicted to it now. Maybe not with the zaatar, though. Or is that Picnic Time?

    I intend to check out many different kinds of Bissli when we’re in Israel next month — only 39 more days to go!

  • Esther – YES. I’m sad I forgot to mention their great commercials. Although my favorite Osem advertising has to be the message printed on top of their cup noodles:

    “Ra’ev? QACH.”

    Hungry? TAKE! What, you were thinking of something else? No no, you will TAKE this cup of noodles and you will be SATISFIED.

    As far as Israeli commercials, there’s this really, really weird one now with swirling psychedelic tie-dye stuff and floating heads and weird harpsichord music and deep male narration…and it turns out to be a tampon commercial. I was like, “…What?”

  • Please help me. I eat hummus made by a company named “Athenos,” which sounds Greek. My question is, is it kosher? Even though I’m a goy, I’d like to eat kosher. There is a circle with a K in it, and a word next to it that says, “Pareve.” Does this indicate that the hummus is kosher? Thanx.
    CH

  • Yes, CH, it is Kosher, and parave, which means it is neiter meat nor dairy. (I didn’t read the posts above to see if your responding to something else, so for now I’ll take your post as a serious request for information.

  • Thanx, Purim Hero. My initial post wasn’t in response to anything, and it was a sincere request for information. I appreciate your help.

  • CH, in case you want to know more, the major kosher symbols in the US are an O inside a U (Orthodox Union), a K inside a circle (OK), a K inside a star (Star K), a K inside the Hebrew letter Kaf (Kof-K) and a K inside a triangle (Triangle K), in addition to a lot of smaller local hekshers. The letter P next to a symbol means that the item is kosher for Passover, a D means dairy and a M means meat. Pareve like Purim Hero said is neither meat nor dairy. Almost all hard cheese is unkosher, unless it is specifically marked as kosher. If a dairy product is marked “Cholov Yisroel,” it means a Jew observed the milking process until bottling. As far as meat, “glatt” means the lungs of the animal were found to be free of adhesions.

    Not all people accept the validity of every company’s kosher supervision – for example I know many people who don’t eat processed products with a Triangle K heksher. But as you are not Jewish, I would imagine that the more minute details of kosherness won’t concern you as much as an Orthodox Jewish person.

  • Thanks for all the helpful information, Michael. I should probably buy a book on eating Kosher.

  • Whenever I need a little MSG to get me through the day, I reach for some Osem snack food. Ick! Seriously, in a world with pareve cream cheese, can’t we find a way to make Bambas without MSG?

    About the hummous- we used to eat the Athenos or Tribe of 2 Sheiks stuff- back in the dark ages. We were turned on to Sabra and Picnic (aren’t they actually owned by the same company?) and there was no going back. Ahhhh, the smooth texture… With a little olive oil drizzled on top & some sesame seeds… and of course, some decent za’atar, what more could you want?? The other stuff has the consistency of wet cement, IMHO. Just Say No to bad hummous- life’s too short.

  • Judi – I sympathize, I used to be a fellow traveller in the purgatory of Tribe of 2 Sheiks. I wonder how in the holy hell someone can make hummus that badly. Have they ever seen/tasted real hummus?

    Fortunately for me, the hip supermarket where I go to school started carrying Sabra Salads, so now I don’t even have to schlep all the way out to the kosher store to get it. Al hamdu lillah!

    Of course, this still doesn’t solve the problem of finding decent pita…but that’s what aliyah is for.

  • We just discovered Queens Pita in Flushing, NY. It tastes like real pita!! Imagine that! (And while we were there, we raided the Pereg spice store…) It’s almost like the Promised Land, but much closer to home.

  • Bamba is vile. Really! And I am not all that keen on humos either.

    Guess my klitah has not gone as well as I thought.

  • Daphna, perhaps your sacrilege regarding Bamba can be overlooked, but hummus is the line. You may have to be placed in Jewlicious cherem for your kefirah.

  • JM:

    Buy two large cans of chickpeas (not the 16 oz. cans, the bigger ones).
    Buy two cans 8 oz. cans of, if you can find it, Israeli techina like Telma or something.

    Throw one medium onion into the food processor along with, oh, six or so cloves of garlic. Pulse it into a fine slurry. Add chickpeas, techina, a squeeze of lemon juice, enough olive oil to make the mix smooth and salt, red pepper and paprika to taste. Blend for several minutes until smooth. Perfectly decent food processor hummus.

  • Perfectly decent, perhaps, but I’m afraid the onion is just not meant to share the stage with other hummous ingredients. I was just having this conversation the other day with ck. I was claiming that home-made never tastes like restaurant made. He was saying it’s possible. Maybe he has a recipe.

  • OK. A bag of dried chick peas is cheaper, no? Could go into the crock pot some morning.

  • Onions?? 6 cloves of Garlic? JM, skip the onion, use very little garlic – 2 cloves tops – and chop it first (chopped, not crushed!). Also skip the red pepper and paprika (sheesh) AND boil the chickpeas for 15 minutes first removing as much of the skins as possible. Leave some chick peas aside so that you can serve warm chick peas on the hummus. Garnish with parsley and a dash of paprika and a small dollop of olive oil. OLIVE OIL, ya hear me? Not that crappy vegetable oil.

    And yes, you can use dry chick peas but you’ll have to soak them overnight and then boil them till they get nice and soft. Canned chick peas require less prep time.

  • I’m afraid you’re wrong, TM. But it is permissible to discard the onion if you’re a mincing nancy boy like TM.

    JM, dried chick peas are, pardon my Tzarfatit, a pain in the ass. Trust me, just use pre-soaked canned ones. They’re not expensive.

  • ck fears innovation. I would like to remind ck that if it wasn’t for innovation, his forebears would still be living in caves in the Atlas Mountains throwing trash out the cave door. But his mom’s shakshuka recipe is good.

  • they have great pitot in famous pita in flatbush ny. it s almost as real as being in israel but ofcourse not all the way. all this real pito in diaspora anre not bringing us closer to israel. they really taking us away b/c we think that galus is not that bad. but the truth is we should all go where the real pitas are. to pin point exact location pls contact michael.
    and since it s michael’s fan club day i wanted to add that u have not checked yr fascts correctly again (hehehehehe) b/c osem is being sold in more countries that u ve mentioned. it is acctually availlable for “qach” at any (i repeat any) kosher store all over the world. if they dont carry osem what would they sell anyway??

    and are you sure this hegsher reads kof-k not ck? 😉

  • ck does not fear innovation! an onion with your hummus is de rigeur but it needs to be raw and served with the hummus, not in the hummus!! imagine the nerve, little ashkenaz boy telling us how to make hummus. I mean I don’t tell yo’ momma how to make uh… perogies or geffilte fish or whatever crap it is the commies fed her back in the Ukraine. Sheesh. And those caves? Damn cool in the summer time, don’t knock it till you try it.

  • Ybocher, when I complain about the quality of kosher food in the US, I am exempting New York, because you can find awesome food of any ethnicity, Jewish or otherwise, in New York. Besides, New York is like Israel 2.

    Hey, and I was just going by what Osem’s website said. So blame them, not me. They should know!

  • Dude! Hummus isn’t even Moroccan! You have no more ethnic claim to it than I do!

    I’m sorry if I’m just too “out there” for you. And as far as caves, trust me, I know. I live in a cave in the Judean Desert. With my new wife. And walk to Ezra’s for Shabbat lunch.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some blintzes and stuffed cabbage to attend to.

  • Hummus is more Moroccan than whatever it is you are. Keep in mind too that Brakha, who would be horrified at the notion of onion in hummus, was raised in Israel on a farm where they had many Arab workers. You’re just some white boy all frontin’ like you’re sephardic.

    As for that Ezra comment – you met that chick?? Pretty freaky, huh?

  • You’re just some Sephardic boy all frontin’ like you can read. We know that you get Laya to help you. She helps you read, and you help her to develop her innate spirituality which the shtetl bred out of us. And hey, by making hummus, I’m just reclaiming our people’s original Middle Eastern birthright. Bitch.

    Met her? Dude, I was there. With you. Sitting next to you. Sitting next to her. How could I forget such freakiness?

  • Yes, and when you see it, don’t you want to slap those people and say, “Wake up! These are Polish clothes from the 16th Century and you come from Morocco!”

  • Actually, to tell you the truth, I kind of want to slap just about anybody wearing Polish clothes from the 16th century, and say, “Wake up! These are heavy black Polish clothes from the 16th century and you live in the 21st century in the Middle East! It is fuckin’ hot here, brosef!”

    I mean, I don’t see why dressing like a goy 400 years ago is better than dressing like a goy now.

  • Huh? Paris Hilton may dress like a non-Jew, but it’s very likely she’s wearing Calvin Klain, Ralph Lauren or American Apparel. We dress the world, baby.

    But yes, all of those guys need to be slapped for choosing 16th Century Polish garb for their uniform in the Middle East.

  • hey u guys leave polish alone, ok? it was suppose to be michael bashing day! and i bet his not frm poland if he s rushing to blintzes instead of marvelling pierogis. and long robes can be cool u just gotta pimp it up!

  • Michael, wtf is wrong with this place? What did you get yourself into? Jew-haters, Pole and French lovers… I’m going back to DL, where everyone loves Jews, even the Palestinian Arabs.

  • Reading this post is making me hungry. If Sephardim and Ashkenazim can’t unite over a menu, what chance is there for peace?

    Michael’s mother, stay…clearly we need the supervision. Wanna be our fact-checker?

  • esther, thank you, darling. Fact-checker? Moi? I just make them up as I go along. Where do you think Michael gets it from? As far as the supervision… I’m afraid I’m gonna get you into more trouble than you’re already in. Besides, you already have Jewish Mother for supervision. BTW, bubele, are you engaged? Do you have a hairy shoulder to lean on?

  • M’s mom, thanks for your interest; I am engaged–in the act of being a singles columnist, which leaves no time for picking out china, making hummus with or without onions, or leaning on shoulders of any level of hirsuteness.

    Given, I could have just waited till morning and then Jewish Mother would have weighed in on how my stubborn refusal to wear kitten heels is sabotaging my dating life, but…

  • Kitten heels just get you a TINY bit off the floor, without hurting, one assumes. They are girlish and who-me.

    I only meant: any happy-medium, realistic, alternative to sneaks for someone not interested in a sharp angle upward. Very high heels are a whole other world; while I acknowledge their tremendous power, I am not sure the results are great long-term. They can be aging, too. They try too hard. They are groovy at the opera, obviously. Within reason. But during the DAY … what will you really get for your sore feet, when all is said and done? It won’t last.

    Large sunglasses are even easier than dress shoes: you can run just as fast in them. People love big dark eyes. They, too have tremendous power, without the other associations.

  • Men say that stuff doesn’t affect them, they are looking at something else.

    They lie.

    Their brains have two parts: the anatomy part, and the class part. When both are responding well, at the same time, they move in. Otherwise they don’t. Not the way we want.

    He does not want to treat you better than necessary, so his first concern is your class. He does not want to over-pay.

    Men read go-away signals very well and do that. They do not want to waste their time.

  • I’m buying my wife kitten heels today. Frankly, I’m surprised she’s been able to keep me without owning a pair. “Come on, honey, they are just a little bit off the ground.”

  • But they are very good soaked overnight and eaten with Osem soup powder. Trying to get back on topic.

  • You’re saying I should buy a pair for the mistress? Great, so now I need to find a mistress…

    “Honey, put those on, you know I hate to see my wife in them. But you and those shoes are the perfect match, like hummous and olive oil.”

  • You know I always favor morality.

    But you, yourself, seem to like the things. And you are the marrying kind.

    There must be something pretty serious at stake here to cause all this discomfort.

    Yes, it’s a move to the right, a little. Can we handle that? Must it put our knickers in a bunch?

  • What I mean is, if it takes defining gender a little more sharply to get the next generation into existence, that might have to be done.

    Women, use the tools available.

    Of course the men may punish you a little, for increasing your power with them. Look how nervous they are getting.

    If they give you trouble, put on your darkest sunglasses to hide your thoughts and move on to the next one. Or buy something nice for yourself.

  • I have no preferences when it comes to shoes. As for certain parts of the body, that’s a different story. I love nothing more than beautifully curved, big and creamy, uh, eyes.

    I’m just playing around, JM. I actually buy into the concept of what you’re saying, even if I don’t care much about shoes. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you look nice for the significant other. On the contrary, I think it’s important – our union should go beyond the kids if we are to share a lifetime together.

    I recently met up with a rabbi friend in a restaurant and he spoke to his wife a couple of times on the phone while we were there. In every conversation, he said at least twice, “I love you” before hanging up. As he did so, I thought that this was a person who was in love but also making sure his wife knew it and had absolutely no doubt they were on the same car train in this journey through life. Maintenance is important.

    Part of maintaining the relationship is the maintenance of the power of attraction. Part of it is looking good for our partner. Different people will have differing notions of what that means, but the concept is along the lines of what you’re saying.

    By the way, I do not have a hairy back.

  • Black, black, black eye pencil. Lots. Tons. Black, black, black, black, black. Tons. Black.

    Forget mascara. Looks phony.

    Just pencil, tons. Tons.

  • Sharpens and balances the face. Gives an intensity of regard, intensity of intelligence to the face. Everything else natural. Who, me?

  • Everything in life requires tipul, upkeep, your home, your car, and most importantly, your marraige.

  • It can be PERILOUS to spend your whole clothes budget on your work clothes, wearing any old rag at home. If you are very, very poor, and most of us are, you can find yourself having to do this. But don’t.

  • ryb! c’mon u r w/them? u also dont see it was about osem? osem is the man! u r just hooked up on it like everybody else.

  • Yes, the Rabbi is with Them.

    TM, chill. The enemy just wants the race to go on. That is no crime.

  • Hmmmm….what about someone eating hummus at the same time as wearing kitten heels?

  • Get a FEW pencils: one always with you, one at home, another at the office. Get two little sharpeners. Just scrag it on without looking in a mirror. Afterward, check in the mirror. Goes on best that way. You know where your eyes are! You can touch them without looking, right?

    If you wear (tinted!) contacts, it is another world. Get your lashes dyed with the contacts out. You will need better hair and earrings to compensate because you probably can’t wear eye makeup.

    Hey TM, “They jest at scars that never felt a wound.”

  • No! No! No! No onions IN the hummus! nions served with the hummus, ok, but not IN the hummus. Please people!

  • I wouldn’t chop onions in because of the consistency, but onion powder is great, I use it in my chumus sometimes. You don’t even know it’s there.

  • Ziva Lehava, don’t be intimidated. They are all pretty nice.

    I learned about Shakshuka here. Do you know what that is?

  • JEWS BURN IN HELLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HOPE 2 SEE ALL UR HEADS CUTT OF WITH A KNIFE!! U SIK BASTARDS!

  • may g-d forgive you for your ignorance and hatred. he has created the people of Israel and of Torah unlike any other. we do not quicken to anger over your foolishness. please leave.

  • HI I worked for OSEM back in the 80’s .First when they had an office in Tel Aviv then when they moved to Rehov jabotinsky. I worked in the computer dept . I was wondering if yehudah Yani still works there ? He was a friend and we worhed together. I would like to get in touch with him if possible.

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