Yiddish things in New Orleans ייִדיש אין ניו־אָרלינס
Tonight I attended a program at which The Michael White Quartet spoke about and played ragtime, blues, swing, and sacred songs from the New Orleans area. Then they said, those are traditional pieces and here are some of our original compositions in which we include material from other folk traditions, and you may well imagine how I was thrilled to pieces that the first thing they played was a variation on the theme of Dire-gelt.
So the program ends at about ten and I am looking for a place for a late supper and I drop into the a little bar on the way back. The charming and delightful bartender, like many people who work around here, is covered with tattoos and piercings with sideburns covering half his face. I ask if they can make a salad without meat and he says he will go to the kitchen to check.
While we are waiting he comments that it is hard to find vegetarian food around here although there are more vegetables available to home cooks than there used to be. In fact, he and his girlfriend belong to a CSA, and they get a box of fresh organic vegetables every week (I would not have guessed this dude was a CSA member, but that just shows you how conventional and clueless I can be). Sometimes, he adds, he gets vegetables, and he has no idea what to do with them. So I say, oh, you have to have a look at my website, I have recipes for all kinds of vegetables, and here, I have a cooking show too, and I start playing Est Gezunterheyt on my phone for him.
He says the show is great and I explain that it is in Yiddish, but has English subtitles.
You know what I would really love to know how to make, he says, gefilte fish! My grandmother used to make it every Passover and it was delicious.
Well, you could have knocked me over with a wet kipper. If there was ever any dude with whom I did not expect to be having a conversation about his grandmother's gefilte fish, it was most assuredly he.
My vegetarian gefilte fish recipe is here
A Yiddish version is here.
Vegetarian Jambalaya here.