Tag Archives: bagels

Kvetching About Old Timey Jew Food

St Viateur\'s Bagel in MontrealIf there’s one thing Jews like as much as, if not more than Old Timey Jew Food, it’s kvetching about Old Timey Jew Food. Maybe Kvetch is an understatement. The discussion at Chowhound regarding knishes in New York for instance, verges on the angry and irrational! Some claim the Knishes at Katz’s are better, but Katz’s Deli gets their knishes from Schimmel’s. Over at Jewschool, the conversation got to the point that one of their bloggers, an employee and devotee of Schimmel’s, moved his blog site off of their servers! These debates are endless though – which city makes the best bagels? New York? Montreal? Which bagel joint in a particular city makes the best bagels? H&H vs. Murray’s in New York? St. Viateur vs. Fairmount in Montreal? Pick a traditional Jewish food, express an opinion about who makes it best and soon legions of Jews will be on your ass telling you you’re wrong. The fact is that there really are very few authentic Old Timey Jew Food makers anymore. In North America, when the Jews moved out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, the food carts and Old Timey Jew Food stores gave way to strip malls and supermarkets. Old Timey Jew Food is now prized for its sentimental value more than anything else – biting into a latke reminds one of the latkes Bubbe used to make. Or something. Obviously nothing will ever compare or be as good as that knish you had that day in Queens with your Zaidye. It’s an area rife for dissent where one person’s glorious memories clash with another’s. But seriously, get over yourselves people. Old Timey Jew Food is peasant food. Eastern European peasant food at that. What’s to talk about? Eat your knish and shut up.

Old Timey Jew Food

Old-timey Jew foodOn the Lower East Side on Houston Street, within two blocks of each other, you can visit both Russ and Daughters and Yonah Schimmel’s Knishery. Within these establishments on most Sundays, one can find Jews from all over New York and the US taking a gastronomic trip down memory lane by chowing down on all manner of bagels and shmears and lox and smoked fish and knishes and kugels and latkes. They bring their kids with them, they get all misty as they bite into the food their parents and grand parents used to eat. This scene gets repeated over and over, wherever the Jews are – from Schultzy’s in Miami to Schwartz’s in Montreal, from Canter’s in LA to Goldberg’s in Paris. Never mind that this food is mostly unkosher and not particularly Jewish – what’s important is that Jews sure do love their Old Timey Jew Food!