American couple Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, both writers and editors, went for a walk in the woods a few years ago where they had quite a productive discussion: Which animals from the world of legend and fantasy are kosher for Jews to eat? The conversation made its way onto the Internet and has culminated thus far in the book "The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals," (published last year ) - a hit last Passover as a holiday gift among American Jews.

This amusing book features 34 strange creatures, most of which were declared by the couple to be non-kosher. Is Steven Spielberg's imaginary creature E.T., for example, fit for the Jewish plate? "Why are we even discussing this one?!" the couple ask themselves. "Why would you even consider eating E.T.? Do you think he goes good on a bagel with cream cheese?"

What about the Phoenix, the mythical bird of fire that resurrects itself from the ashes? The VanderMeers share their deliberations with readers and in the end conclude in the negative, as it isn't clear how the Phoenix would undergo kosher slaughtering.

And what about beautiful mermaids? If they are indeed kosher, the two decide, it would be better to marry them than to eat them. As for Bigfoot, they regard him as too human for human consumption.

The learned discussion continues in Evan Liewer's "Kosher Cookbook of Imaginary Animals," which adds creatures like the Cylons from the television series "Battlestar Galactica," Minotaurs (half-man, half-bull ) and even good old Donald Duck into the mix.

"The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals," by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Tachyon Publications, 2010