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A Sea of Liver, A Hint of Deli

A hundred years ago a Yiddish-speaking Jew getting off the boat in New York would not have known what pastrami was unless he had spent some time in Rumania. In one of the early chapters of his novel, Blondzhende Shtern (Wandering Stars), parts of which are set in Bessarabia, Sholem Aleichem mentions pastrami (which he […]

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Lastborn of Egypt, part 18

“Yes, I know the dentist,” said Moses, whose eye went immediately to where Neshi was standing with muti. “He’s one of us now. You have no more authority over him.” Everybody fell silent. The archers pulled the strings of their bows back and pointed their arrows at Moses. Ramesses motioned to them to stop. The […]

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Brisket, Pickles, and Brine

At about six untrimmed kilos per cow, a single brisket, properly portioned out and preserved, could keep a family going for a very long time or provide a butcher with enough meat to give four or five or six different families a reasonably festive shabbes. It is a lean, dry cut though, and needs time […]

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Lastborn of Egypt, part 17

A few days later, on the march We waited four days to get out of town, sat and waited until our part of the line started moving. El be praised, Snofru’s division received orders to patrol the line of walkers and keep the peace, so Snofru was able to go back and forth and see […]

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Lastborn of Egypt, part 16

The day after I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. They’ve all gone on with their mourning and Neshi goes on staring straight ahead like he’s been hit with a hammer, looking but not really seeing. His recovery was temporary and strictly practical: he’s so worried about keeping muti safe and protected in all […]

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Herring and Some Other Fish

In an unpublished essay called “Jews as Fish-Consumers,” a writer named Adam Gostony described the kinds of fish that Jews in New York were eating in 1942: “Gefilte fish, bismarck herring, roll mops, matjes herring, salted herring, homemade schmaltz herring, homemade pickled herring, homemade fried herring, smoked herring, chopped herring, herring salad (‘a gray looking […]

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