Streams

The Delicious Knish

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mano Hirsch, of the eponymous knish shop on Brighton Beach. Sign in the upper left says, in Hebrew letters, Kosher. Mano Hirsch, of the eponymous knish shop on Brighton Beach. Sign in the upper left says, in Hebrew letters, Kosher. (Photo by Barbara Pfeffer/Courtesy of Marvin Hirsch)

We are re-airing this interview which originally aired on June 25, 2014. 

Laura Silver describes her round-the-world quest for the origins and modern-day manifestations of the knish. Starting in New York, she tracks down heirs to several knish dynasties and discovers that her own family has roots in a Polish town named Knyszyn. In Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food Silver tells stories of entrepreneurship, survival, and delicious knishes. She even meets a legendary knish maker, who share their family recipe.

The first written record of a knish dates back to 1614 and Polish town of Krakowiec (now in Ukraine). No filling was mentioned, but it may have contained grains.

The word “knish” has links to Ukrainian, Russian, Yiddish, Polish, and old German. You pronounce the “k” (kah-NISH), though Silver met some people in the Midwest who make the “k” silent (nish).

 Silver says that the knish could make a comeback in the coming years. “I think the knish is poised for a renaissance in the US, in Poland and beyond because it’s still a wholesome food. One that has this mark of history and something homemade. And it’s a great way to break bread – or break knish – together.”

Guests:

Laura Silver

Comments [1]

Lorrie from Brooklyn

Yonah Schimmel hasn't made good knishes since before the turn of the century.
They are greasy, leaden, and gross.
There is an Israeli felafel joint on the corner of Av M and 15th St in Brooklyn ( I don't know the name)
that has very good kasha and potato knishes.

Aug. 29 2014 01:10 PM

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