Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food Laura Silver Brandeis University Press 300 Pages $24.95 ISBN: 978-1-61168-312-7 (IBRCookBooks)


The knish is an icon of Ashkenazic Jewish cuisine. These delectable buns filled with potatoes, kasha, spinach, and other tasty stuffings delight the taste buds and thicken the waistline. When the author’s favorite knish shop, Mrs. Stahl’s in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, closed, Laura Silver embarked on a quest to track down the origin of this wonderful pastry. Her trip took her from Brooklyn to an Italian pasta maker in New Jersey and across the world.

In this culinary biography, Silver finds her family roots in Knyszyn, Poland and discovers a group of Minnesota seniors who make knishes every week to sell as a fundraiser. Along the way she finds plays, raps, and festivals that honor the knish. She also provides readers with a recipe and a directory of knish stores in the United States. She even tracks down Mrs. Stahl’s granddaughters and makes knishes with them. Readers will enjoy her stories of knishes past and present. Who knew that the Babylonia Talmud mentions kisanin, a type of roasted wheat that can be used to stuff bread? Were there knishes in the ancient Holy Land? Silver provides extensive notes for those who wish to pursue further research. Readers interested in culinary history and lovers of Jewish food will enjoy this book!

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