I am still trying to catch up on the weeks I missed. Part of me wants to give up on a snapshot each week. I really don’t know what I’ll do with all these snippets. Another part of me wants to live up to the commitment. So here goes.
I am long overdue with Week 22 whose prompt calls for stories repeated in the family. My mother was an expert storyteller although whenever she began a tale, we’d find a way to leave the room. In retrospect, I wish I had stayed to hear all the stories. She talked about how her grandmother took her to Bath Beach on foot from Bensonhurst (Brooklyn) for Tashlich. She was only about five. She and her petite grandmother who spoke no English removed their stockings and shoes and strode to the water. Her grandmother said, “Whatever sins you have, I put on myself,” and she cast the sins into the Atlantic. My mother also talked about her many beaus. I have her 1936 junior high school autograph and several of her male classmates enthusiastically declared their love for her. She was stunning.
Week 28 asks for writing about comfort food. What a joy! I wrote about traditional Jewish foods at home, including chopped liver, eggs and onions made with chicken fat, vegetable soup that was more like a porridge, mushroom barley soup (another porridge) made with cow knee bones, Shabbos dinner with four variations of chicken (roasted whole, roasted wings, sweet and sour wings, fried chicken breasts in matzoh meal), chicken fricassee with chicken feet and quarter-sized beef meatballs. I wrote about foods eaten or brought in from kosher restaurants, particularly Greenspan’s in Jersey City: kishka wrapped in cow’s intestines, lungen stew, the real sloppy joes (triple-decker sandwiches on rye with turkey, corned beef, and roast beef with Russian dressing and coleslaw). There was also Tabatchnik’s where my father bought creamed lox, creamed herring, smoked whitefish, smoked sturgeon, lox, sable, and scallion cream cheese to go on the bagels we bought on Saturday nights fresh from Watson’s Bagel Factory in Irvington. What a feast!
What stories did your family tell and what are your comfort foods?