Jews frickin LOVE Florida, particularly Boca Raton and Miami. Every December they descend upon these cities like a swarm of locusts. Is it any wonder then that the most well attended Matzo Ball parties are in Boca and Miami? It’s easy to understand why though. Most of the visiting Jews are there to escape the cold North Eastern winters where they live and to hang out with their friends who are doing the same. It’s also nice to get away from all that incessant Christmas mishegas, and well, since Florida is a thriving destination for retirees, they get to visit Bubbe and Zaiyde too. Add to that the existence of many establishments that sell Old Timey Jew Food and really, it’s no wonder the Jews love the State of Florida. Well all except for the North and the Gulf Coast. That’s mostly for the Rednecks and for the Republicans. Feh.
If 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.
On 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!
Posted in SJPL
Tagged bagels, food, knishes
This should probably be listed under Stuff Old Jewish People Like but I can’t help but notice that there are no Kosher All You Can Eat Buffets in Jerusalem (except for in Hotels), the Upper West Side, Pico Robertson or Le Marais. It can’t just be because of the old people. Luckily however, there are plenty of All You Can Eat Buffets in all Chinatowns and in Suburban strip malls and while they may not be kosher, the Jews love them! Why? Maybe it’s a throwback from the impoverished shtetl days where quantity was valued above quality. Maybe it’s a remnant of our history of Antisemitism where a Jew never knew if a particular meal was his or her last before they had to pack up their belongings and run away from the Cossacks and who knew when they could eat properly again? Whatever it is, despite their current state of relative wealth and freedom from Antisemitism, the Jews, they sure do love them a good fress!