We had the pleasure of meeting kosher/soul maven Michael Twitty at Toronto’s Ashkenaz festival, where he was a panelist at a talk we moderated.
“There’s always more to all of us,” Elissa Altman explained to me over the phone when talking about the impetus for her second memoir, “Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw,” which is out next week. Altman — a cookbook editor, food writer and James Beard Foundation award-winning author of the blog Poor Man’s Feast (her first memoir has the same name) — was speaking specifically about her father, but she might as well have been reflecting on herself.
You don’t have to let an awards show stand in the way of a haimish Sunday feast. Here are a few of our favorite festive finger foods to satisfy and delight family and friends during the Emmys. The show airs Sunday at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC.
Two weeks ago, my family and I spent a week in the Laurentian mountains, an hour north of Montreal. We were there for a week-long Jewish music and culture festival called KlezKanada, which has become one of our favorite annual excursions. (Brisk dips in a gorgeous lake, the convergence of the world’s most renowned klezmer musicians and Yiddish scholars, the sound of fiddles and clarinets floating across the bucolic campgrounds at all hours — what’s not to like?)
I had a beautiful Hungarian grandmother, born Erzsébet Weisz and redubbed Elizabeth Weiss when she and her parents and brother and sister moved to New York from Miskolcz in the 1920s. I called her Nana and she called me darling. (It sounded like dahhrrlink, as if spoken by a brainiac Zsa Zsa Gabor.) Nana said her Ws like Vs and her Vs like Ws, so as she told it, proudly, I vent to Wassar. She had gone to another of the seven sisters, Barnard, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1926, a brand new immigrant who had enrolled only two years earlier, no less. She went on to get a Master’s at Columbia; then taught at Hunter College and later — after being denied tenure for marrying my grandfather — at Horace Mann. She spoke five languages, had perfect skin, and made splendid baby lamb chops and a mean chicken-in-the-pot.