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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

At the Jewish Deli

IMG_3654It’s the end of the school year. Somewhat. Our kids still have a few odds and ends to finish up, such is the nature of homeschool.

You don’t finish, you don’t finish.

In any event, the days are getting longer, shall we say, and the search for summer jobs is on with a couple of them. The eldest is already employed part-time, year-round, and the youngest is too young to officially work. We try to emphasize volunteering, but it’s a hard sell when you come from poverty and starvation in Russia.


So we plan a small outing of sorts. We’re heading to a small planetarium dating from maybe the 1960s, IMG_3655lol, and along the way, we stop at a Jewish deli. This is an establishment from the same era where Benedetto and I enjoyed a lunch maybe every other weekend for years, yet where the kids had never visited.

In the car I regal them with items I might not be making at home, such as a herring platter (creamed or chopped herring with lettuce, tomato, onions, cucumber, olives & choice of bread), or cold borscht, or stuffed kiska (derma) which would be “sausage” made with beef fat, potatoes, onions, carrots & celery, served with side of gravy, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, olives & bread….

IMG_3656They love all kinds of fish and smoked fish, sausage and smoked sausage, hot borsch and not cold, and I find them turning up their noses at these traditional offerings. I don’t blame them. I’m not the cold tongue sandwich type of gal, either. Maybe some chopped liver on a good day. I’m holding out our traditional favorites for last, items I might make at home….

Cheese blintzes, latkes (potato pancakes) with sour cream, matzoh ball soup, potato knish, corned beef on rye…. Now the kids are getting excited.

We get into line, surrounded by businesspeople and hordes of elderly patrons. I welcome an older IMG_3657Yiddishe mama into the middle of our family. She chuckles and instead, heads to the restroom.

She got turned around, I guess.

Another elderly woman looks at our crowd of a family and demands as she pushes past with her walker, “Do you know what you’re in for? Do you know how good this food is going to be-?!”

The kids giggle while I tell her we can’t wait. It’s that kind of place.

IMG_3658The host offers to seat the six of us at two booths. There is a God in heaven. I look hopefully at him and then at my husband who nixes the idea. This is supposed to be a family outing. The host laughs understandingly and we go back to waiting for a several tables pushed together.

Ah well, what could have been.

The lunch is a success. Everyone around us looks like Papa! they exclaim. Everyone around us has hair like Pasha’s! People are dressed nicely and have big noses like Mama and Papa!

They are home.

Heading for the pickle bar over and over again, the kids savor Eastern European Jewish cuisine at its IMG_3659finest.

It’s an acquired taste.

They have acquired.

We go home and skip dinner, they are so stuffed.

My grandmother would be proud.


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