Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (HBI Series on Jewish Women)

By Laura Silver

While Laura Silver’s favourite knish store went into bankruptcy, the local New Yorker sank into mourning, yet then she sprang into motion. She launched into a round-the-world quest for the origins and modern day manifestations of the knish.

The iconic potato pie leads the writer from Mrs. Stahl’s bakery in Brighton seashore, Brooklyn, to an Italian pasta maker in New Jersey—and directly to a hunt throughout 3 continents for the pastry that formed her identification. beginning in long island, she tracks down heirs to numerous knish dynasties and discovers that her family has roots in a Polish city named Knyszyn.

With strong humor and a starvation for historical past, Silver mines knish lore for tales of entrepreneurship, survival, and significant deliciousness. alongside the way in which, she meets Minnesota seniors who make knishes for weekly fundraisers, foodies made up our minds to restore the legacy of Mrs. Stahl, or even the mythical knish maker’s granddaughters, who proportion their joie de vivre—and their family members recipe.

Knish connections to Eleanor Roosevelt and rap song? Die-hard investigator Silver finds these and different exciting anecdotes concerning the starchy snack as soon as so universal alongside Manhattan’s long-lost Knish Alley. In a chain of humorous, relocating, and touching episodes, Silver takes us on a knish-eye travel of worlds earlier and current, therefore laying the basis for a world knish renaissance.

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In a last-ditch attempt, I addressed my supplications to the net. I registered my want in a browser window, typing gingerly, as though whispering into the tiny plastic window of a Magic eight Ball: “Mrs. Stahl’s stumbled on. ” “Mrs. Stahl’s FOUND,” the net answered, with a publish via “bruklinboy”: My mom, who grew up in Brighton consuming Mrs. Stahl’s . . . has information! She and my father . . . occurred to forestall in a deli in Mill Basin . . . that's promoting Mrs. Stahl’s knishes. 15 forum discussions waxed functional — and Talmudic: was once “bruklinboy” yes the institution in query wasn’t the Mill Basin Deli? (He used to be. ) Did this fabled position particularly carry The Recipe for Mrs. Stahl’s? (It didn’t, no longer anymore. ) have been Stahl’s on par with Hirsch’s and Shatzkin’s? Or vice versa? (Inconclusive. ) close to the top of the thread huddled a remark through “pianist355”: Bless you. Mrs. Stahl (1885–1961) was once my mother’s oldest sister. To me she was once simply “Aunt Fannie” — a truly fantastic one that stored me in loose knishes whilst i used to be a bit child. She used to be additionally a “hands on” company lady and made the knishes correct along the opposite staff (including youngsters, cousins, and so forth. ). sixteen Fannie? My folder used to be filled with leads for Lena. (Later, I retraced that first identify to a competing knish dynasty. Oy. ) Fannie Stahl. I cross-referenced and doubled again and scavenged and quadruple-cross-referenced. the following morning my cellphone rang. “Hello, this can be Marietta Axler. We acquired a decision from this quantity, yet not anyone left a message. ” Marietta Axler was once married to Andrew Axler, a piano instructor, retired, on Staten Island. He learn to me from a ebook of kinfolk heritage compiled by way of his cousin Toby in San Francisco. I texted Jill: “I came across Mrs. Stahl’s granddaughter. ” tomorrow, Jill e-mailed me: “My mom’s pal Sara . . . is the granddaughter of Mrs. Stahl and used to paintings within the shop in Brighton. Sara should be there [at the knish presentation] this night and should arise to speak to you after the debate. ”17 on the Mid-Manhattan Library, around the road from the only with the lions, I requested Mrs. Stahl’s descendants to upward thrust. (Sara was once there, as was once her cousin Arthur, Toby’s brother. ) The viewers applauded. quickly after that, I visited Sara at the higher West facet, met her brother and sister-in-law, and during images, inventory certificate, and aerograms written in Yiddish, turned conversant in her grandmother. 40 days after that, we sat in San Francisco, Sara and Toby and that i. We driven the babka at one another and at last took buses to the city’s Russian local. En path to the Richmond, Toby mentioned nice moments in knish making. there has been the time — at Sara’s daughter’s marriage ceremony — that she arrived in Baltimore with numerous dozen, in a suitcase. From left: Anna, Rae, Abie, Dora, Mrs. Fannie Stahl, and Bella, circa Nineteen Twenties. TOBY: I hand them to the caterer. They placed them on a platter. Our instant kin hurl themselves on the desk. SARA: Knishes! TOBY: The WASPs are sitting there primly, anticipating salvation, most likely. SARA: (with suspicion) “What are those, dumplings?

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