The explosion of New York craft distilleries in the past few years has presented some fascinating tipples to taste and, among them, some truly excellent new bourbons. Thus we took a New York theme for our inaugural Forward Jews and Booze event.
It’s past my bedtime, but I’ve been glued to the TV tonight, watching the news unfold. Seriously, if you blink you miss something HUGE.
An abandoned hostess stand greets you. Delivery orders are piled high on a table in the middle of the dining room. Bright lights, sticky tables and no background music square the mood. After untangling yourself from the huffy patrons crowding the doorway, you are seated at a table that affords you as much room as if you were a 1920s garment worker. To gain access to your square foot, you must jockey with the double-barrel stroller hanging over your setting. The father to whom the stroller belongs pushes it back to the spot from which you moved it, as if a wind blew it out of position or you simply don’t exist.
Kosher fair fare? It sounds unlikely, but at the Minnesota State Fair, family owned area business Sweet Martha’s serves warm cookies by the bucket and ice cold milk to hungry visitors. Area chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern says the cookies are so good, he eats “about a bucket and a half a day.”
I have had many things passed down to me by my matriarchs including my grandmother’s cast iron blintzes pans, which she inherited from her mother and are well over 100 years old. On Shavuot, my daughters and my mother and I have had the honor and joy of making blintzes in these magic pans seasoned with love and memories from one generation to the next. For a brief moment I am transported back to when Nana made them. If only those pans could talk! Oh, the tales they could tell. I truly treasure these family recipes — cultural ties to our Eastern European roots. Like the brass candlesticks my great-grandmother brought from Minsk to America, these foods are small vestiges of that former life.