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Aug 4, 2011 10:06 AM

Journalist's Query

Hi Friends: I'm a journalist and I'm writing an article for the Baltimore "Jewish Times" on Jewish Baltimore's Favorite Foods. What I mean is: "You know you're in Baltimore when....is on the menu." Coddies may have been the go-to snack for our parents' generation, but I'm looking for foods that speak to a younger crowd. Doesn't have to be kosher, but should have a Jewish association. Thanks so much for your help.

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    1. Well, being from Cleveland and somewhat familiar with deli and Jewish foods generally, I'd be interested in hearing what good delis there are in Baltimore-- or even "Jewish" restaurants that don't fall into that category, such as Israeli/Middle Eastern cuisine.

      Attmans is fine, but the place is a mess with no/little table service and just falling apart. Don't get me wrong I like original and genuine old stuff that gives character but really, it is just unkempt and sort of unclean-- but it does have the essential food elements of good deli- it just has the potential to be so much more, particularly for that "younger crowd."

      I'd be very curious to know what is "cutting edge" or what differentiates a "younger crowd" in the Jewish community in Baltimore from the "older crowd" in terms of food.

      Great bread, tender and tasty slices of deli meat, crunchy pickles, delicious mandel brot, kugel, pastries and flavorful chicken, matzoh ball and other soups are standard fare and loved by all generations... and not exclusive to Baltimore. I don't think Baltimore has any unique product in the Jewish foods category, like smoked meat or the sesame bagels in Montreal... perhaps black and white cookies?

      5 Replies
      1. re: ClevelandDave

        I think NY probably has a better claim to black and whites than B'more (I also wonder whether there a food that is specific to Baltimore and Jewish and "speaks to a younger crowd").

        1. re: Doh

          Thanks ClevelandDave and Doh for your thoughts. It's a tricky question. I think the younger generation may go more for Israeli salad and hummus than chicken and brisket, though I don't think that's really a Baltimore thing. Berger cookies maybe? Old Bay on pizza?

          1. re: amythefreelancer

            Yea, but is Old Bay on pizza (yuck) really a "Jewish" thing? In terms of Israeli food, what are the Israeli restaurants in Baltimore? I mean you have a point that "lighter" fare might be more popular among younger Jews in Baltimore than schmaltz and crisco laden foods, but I'm not sure where you go from there, or even if that is too much of a generalization.

            1. re: ClevelandDave

              I love Old Bay on pizza (Seriously, try it!) Tahina's in Owings Mills is a popular place for falafel and salads.

        2. re: ClevelandDave

          I like Attmans just fine, yeah it's shabby and it's only claim to being a Jewish deli is by ownership and being across from a synagogue in what WAS the Jewish neighborhood.

          but you're right, the rooms could benefit from a (gentle but thorough) revamp. lack of table service is the least of issues, grubby linoleum is sort of distracting. too many young types though woukd ruin the vibe and drive away the veterans.

          I still love the label of "health salad" on something out of a 70's women's magazine that would choke a horse. I'd only seen that term once before when I found an unpublished manuscript on my stoop written in about 1982 by some guy who thought documenting his neuroses would make him the next Philip Roth. (still trying to figure out the linguistics that might ID the neighborhood that would use the term " X must needs be Y" I mean it's English but the sentence structure is all wrong).

        3. I agree with ClevelandDave and think you might need to find a different "hook" for your article. Can't think of a food, kosher or otherwise, with a Jewish association, that is unique to Baltimore and is relished by young Jews. They eat pretty much what other young Baltimorons eat, unless they keep Kosher.