YIDDISH—A HISTORY OF JEWISH FOOD

FOOD, JEWS AND KOSHER by ZISA MOGLEN  (8/28/14)

o     1651–Bushwick Avenue’s Kosher Slaugherhouse

In 1651, the first commercial kosher slaughterhouse opened on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn — aka Breuckelen.  As my readers have learned, Breuckelen is the Dutch word for Brooklyn.  (And Bushwick is also a Dutch word).

o     1660-First License for Kosher Meat

In 1660, a Jew from Portugal came to New Amsterdam, a place which later became known as New York. He applied for a license to sell kosher meat in New Amsterdam and it was granted.  Thus, Jews in America could eat a kosher meal with beef and chicken from a kosher butcher.

o     1776 —Celebration in America  July 4, 1776    INDEPENDENCE DAY

o      1868-Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Tonic

In 1868, Jews in New York City ordered their first seltzer drink atNew York City’s Jewish delis. Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Tonic was a drink made with celery seeds and sugar.

o       1888-Manischewitz Company founded in Cincinnati Ohio–MATZOH

In 1888, stores began to carry a product known as matzoh.  The Jewish unleavened bread was especially popular during the springtime eight-day celebration of Passover.

o       1890  The Egg Cream

In 1890, the egg cream was invented by Louis Auster, a candy store owner.  The soda contains neither eggs nor cream. Read Zisa Moglen’s book with of recipes listed in “Second Lamppost on the Left: Stories from My Brooklyn Neighborhood.” The recipe for egg cream:  Mix Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup with Milk and Seltzer.  Years ago, seltzer was delivered by the person known as the “Seltzer Man.”  He was the Jewish Milkman.

o      1905-Hebrew National Foods and Kosher Franks at Ratner’s Restaurant on the Lower East Side

In 1905, Ratner’s arrived in New York City.  Although it was billed as “Ratner’s Dairy Restaurant,” the kosher frank was introduced here.   You may ask:  “Is it kosher to eat a kosher frank at a dairy restaurant?”   In 1965, a KOSHER brand of hot dogs was labelled HEBREW NATIONAL.  They featured the iconic hot dog ad with a slogan: “WE answer to a high authority.” And, in 1961, a little Chinese boy was shown eating a corned beef sandwich on Levy’s Rye Bread.  Henry S. Levy and Sons, a Brooklyn Bakery launched a famous ad around New York City: “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s.”   

o    1915-NOT KOSHER symbol introduced

In 1915, New York State introduced the first Kosher Food Law. It prohibits non-kosher food to be advertised as kosher. The red circle has the words NOT KOSHER with a slash through it.  

NOTE:  Thick KOSHER SALT has a red circle on the box with a K.

o   1934-ZABARS Deli opens on Broadway and 80th Street in New York

In 1934, the famous Jewish Delicatessen known as ZABARS opened in New York City.   It is owned by Louis Zabar whose baked goods such as rugalach are so popular that people visit Zabars from Miami Florida: a suburb of New York City.

o   1938- Empire Kosher Poultry INC—–The Kosher Chicken

In 1938, the Katz family founds the establishment called the Empire Kosher Poultry.  Of course, the Catskills is where people spend their summers and they eat the kosher chickens.  EMPIRE is the location of their poultry farm.  Resort Hotels in the jewish Bible Belt known as the CATSKILLS (a Dutch word ironically) order their chickens from EMPIRE.  Comedians perform after dinner at the Concord Hotel and the Grossingers Hotel.

o     1956  Bagels Defined

In 1956, Jews and Gentiles alike ate bagels with cream cheese in New York City.  What is a bagel?  The New York Times defined a bagel as “a form of Jewish baked goods sometimes described as a sugarless doughnut with rigor mortis.”

o     2005-First Kosher Hanukkah Celebration at President George Bush’s White House

In 2005, the White House celebrated Hanukkah wand the White House Kitchen is kashenered—made KOSHER. In 2009, President Barack Obama holds the first White House Seder.

0      2009-Passover Celebration at Pres Barack Obama’s White House

Kosher for Passover at the White House…..Thank you Rahm Emanual, chief of staff. (In 1957, the fisrt televised Seder was shown on TV on the TONIGHT SHOW. Rabbi Morris Kertzer performed the Passover Seder nationally on TV).

o    2013-How do you spell KNAIDEL?????  

In 2013, Arvind Mahankali wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word KNAIDEL.

(NOTE:   ZIsa Moglen always spelled it kneidel….It is the Yiddish word for matzoh ball or chicken soup dumpling — kneidel).

NOTE:

For Jews who were not religious or who lost their old languages — such as Yiddish, Ladino or Judeao-Arabic — food was still part of their culture and consumed daily.  These people were known as “Gastronomic Jews” because they cherished their Jewish food such as chicken soup with matzoh balls or kneidel (how do you spell it???). Askenazi Jews came from many countries in Eastern, Central and Western Europe where they ate a fixed menu of gefilte fish, chopped herring or chopped liver.  Jews known as Sephardic (Sephardi) have different dishes and lived in different communities in areas as diverse as Ethiopia or Spain.

 

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