Bad Food Of The Chosen People

July 5th, 2011 § 1 comment

HG has often devoted some lyrical prose to the triumphs of Jewish/ Eastern European/ Ashkenazi cuisine. Smoked fish; bialys and bagels. Savory brisket with lots of gravy. Real pastrami. Matzo ball soup. Chopped liver (don’t spare the chicken fat and top it with grieben–bits of rendered fat chicken skin); tzimmes (a pungent, caramelized carrot stew); karnatzlack (cigar shaped broiled hamburgers studded with onion and garlic). Many other meaty, fragrant, hearty dishes. And, of course, all the “Dairy” delicacies HG posted about earlier.

However, objectivity forces HG to mention some culinary travesties of the Chosen Few: Lungen stew. Essentially, this was cow’s lung stewed with garlic and onions. Tasted like thick rubber bands. Another was (HG spells phonetically from Yiddish): P’tcha. This was a kosher version of the French tete de veau. Nu. Nu. Don’t ask. Don’t even look.

Then there were the vegetables served in Jewish restaurants (kosher and non-kosher). Canned carrotsandpeas. Pronounced as one word. Nasty stuff. Limp string beans. Equally terrible. HG believes this was a bow to American ideas of healthy eating. Sammy’s, the chicken fat-drenched eatery on the Lower East Side, deals in nostalgia and garlic. Outside of fried potatoes and chopped eggplant, there isn’t a vegetable on the menu. Nary a lettuce leaf. Brave Sammy’s refuses to participate in the American version of healthy eating. HG fears Bloomberg may ban it.

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§ One Response to Bad Food Of The Chosen People

  • Mike Busman says:

    After decades without it, I horrified my family and made p”tcha. As you said my family wouldn’t even look at it let alone taste it. My wife thought I had lost it. I tried explaining this is what starving Jews in the Russian shtetl lived on. I was transported back to my childhood. Amazingly delicious. If you can like grey, salty, garlicky, jello, embedded with gristle, chopped hard boiled egg, pepper, parsley, slices of cooked carrots.

    Sammy’s is a heart attack on your plate. Start with water tumblers of iced Stoli, then chicken liver prepared tableside with salt, burnt onions, chicken fat… then a mountain of steaks… bring your own cardiologist

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