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VIDEO: Dark rye bread, chicory and other foods our great-grandparents had for breakfast

The lively Zoom discussion between two cooks and two scholars of Ashkenazi cuisine is now accessible on YouTube

Discussions about Jewish food traditions often focus on holiday meals and special occasions. This week, though, four cooks and scholars of Eastern European Jewish cuisine imagined what their ancestors might have eaten on an ordinary weekday.

Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter hosted the panel discussion on Aug. 7. Yiddish food scholar Eve Jochnowitz,  and. Throughout the hour, over 1,300 people tuned in to all or parts of the live discussion on Zoom or Facebook.

Yiddish food scholar Eve Jochnowitz shared an excerpt from a memoir by the Yiddish novelist I. J. Singer (Isaac Bashevis Singer’s older brother). Folklore and food expert Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett shared her own research and described what her father, Mayer Kirshenblatt, told her about how food was prepared in his shtetl Apt (Opatow), Poland. And food and travel writer Joe Baur, who only recently discovered his Ashkenazi culinary heritage, said how meaningful it is for him to blend these legacy foods with his own American-influenced palate.

The panelists touched on various foods that Jews in pre-war Eastern Europe might have eaten for breakfast or a light lunch. Among them: Dark rye bread, radishes with sour cream, mamelige, chicory and black tea.

All that talk of old-time favorite dishes must have made some of the viewers hungry. As one viewer quipped in the chat box at the end of the event: “Nu, gey esn!” (“So go eat already!”)


A message from Forverts editor Rukhl Schaechter

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I wanted to ask you to support the Forverts' 127-year legacy — and its bright future.

In the past, the goal of the Forverts was to Americanize its readers, to encourage them to learn English well and to acculturate to American society. Today, our goal is the reverse: to acquaint readers — especially those with Eastern European roots — with their Jewish cultural heritage, through the Yiddish language, literature, recipes and songs.

Our daily Yiddish content brings you new and creative ways to engage with this vibrant, living language, including Yiddish Wordle, Word of the Day videos, Yiddish cooking demos, new music, poetry and so much more.

—  Rukhl Schaechter, Yiddish Editor

Support the Yiddish Forverts with a generous gift to the Forverts today!

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