The Gefilte Manifesto: We’re Just Getting Started

Yesterday I went to the public library to return my copy of the new Shirley Jackson book, which was due (appropriately) on Hallowe’en, but which I returned a day late. I paid my 20 cent late fee and ambled off to browse for something I could pay late fees on in the future. The books that fell into my hands were Michael Wex’s “Rhapsody in Schmaltz” and “The Gefilte Manifesto” by two hipstery sounding young Members of the Tribe named Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alepern. In case you are slow on the uptake: these are very different works on the same subject: Jewish food.

Wex’s book is of course primarily a work of prose, a cultural history, and the Yoskowitz/Alpern work is a straight cookbook. I began to poke through them both today, with some difficulty, as we acquired two new cats last night and this morning they’ve decided that it’s totally ok to jump up to wherever I am sitting and make it impossible for me to read.

But I can confidently predict a few things: 1. I will really enjoy the Wex book and 2. the cookbook will simultaneously drive me insane and make me feel a need to do things that will surely qualify for immediate cataloging in the Museum of Tsuris. They’ve got a recipe for sour cream, my friends. Sour cream. An item many of us keep in the fridge; an item almost no one in their right mind would make from scratch at home. I will accept this challenge. Apparently all I need is cream and buttermilk. How hard could it be? I am already very, very loyal to both Cabot sour cream and Arethusa Farm Dairy sour cream. But if I can make a comparable product on my own, at home? I might be willing to do it, once in a while.

More likely, I will wind up with some putrid-smelling yellowy-white glop that I have to rush out to the dumpster. But, it occurs to me — I had no great high hopes with my yogurt making enterprise, and that turned out quite well, so… Sour Cream, here we come.

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