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Kishke and Helzel

In the good old days, long before anyone heard of the life-threatening dangers of cholesterol, our Yiddishe Mames and Bubies would regularly take the time and energy to make kishke and/or helzel. I'm talking stuffed derma and stutted chicken neck for the younger non-Yiddish speaking audience out there.
Not only were these blessed woman skilled in the art of Heimishe cooking and baking but in order to make kishke and helzel, they had to be seamstresses as well, in order to sew the ends of the kishke and helzel with needle and thread to prevent spillage.
The tube-like small intestine or skin of a chicken's neck had to be scrupluously cleaned then stuffed with flour, chicken shmaltz, salt, pepper (knoble [garlic] optional). The amounts of ingredients in these treats were mysteriously handed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter, by mouth or imitation. They were first boiled (inthe chiken soup in our house) and thenroasted with the chicken or brisket until brown. No authentic written recipe for kishke and helzel has ever been found prior to 1950.
With the arrival of the serum cholesterol test, this former treat has become a lost art, almost. And ironically, our cholesterol levels are no lower than before!!
Let's start a movement to re-introduce these old favorites into our Shabbos dinner and lunch. Are you health-conscious women out there willing to participate?

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  1. Two comments:
    1) Just because we have replaced one form of junk food with another resulting in no reduction in cholesterol doesn't mean we can safely re-introduce the original and eat both.

    2) There are a number of men that post on this board and cook themselves. In 2014 I don't know why you need to address this to "health-conscious women".

    6 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      I intended this post as a nostalgic look back to the time when men were men and women were women and were secure in their gender role. Obviously, your "progressive" attitude does not allow legitimacy to my recollections of a less complicated time when our ignorance of the dangers of unhealthy foods, and gender boundaries were a couple of things we didn't worry about and keep us up at night.
      On the other hand, I see no reason why men cannot prepare this food if they wish.
      My mother and bubie would consider anyone who considered kishke and helzel "junk food" as meshuga!
      They were and still are if --you allow it, --traitional delicacies.
      I could also have included pipik, chicken fricasse, pitcha, and miltz but I don't want you to have a stroke, avitrek.
      Try to lighten up, avitrek, stress can also raise one's cholesterol.

      1. re: Doctormhl1

        At this very moment I have calves feet simmering on my stove for petcha. So delicious, and easy enough to make. If I were one fourth the balaboosta my mother was, I'd have a helzel going too.
        And yes, I'm a woman.

        1. re: helou

          I guess the extra-special seasoning that you're missing in these delicacies is the sprinkling of misogyny coupled with a hefty pinch of chauvinism.

          I'm a big fan of foodie nostalgia for heimishe foods (holishkes anyone?) but really, must we include the "gender roles" as part of the discussion? Why not just say wow I love stuffed chicken necks and intestines - who's making them this shabbos?

          1. re: helou

            Helou, would you consider sharing the recipe?

            1. re: chazzer

              Happy to, but I just sort of do it by adding a-little-of-this-a-lot-of-that.
              I ge a couple of packages of calves feet bones from my butcher. He doesn't sell the whole calf's foot, as I've seen in other recipes and pictures - there are about 4 or 5 1 1/2 bones per package. Generally they're pretty cleaan - if I see some stray hairs I scrape them off. I pit hem in a 4 quart put, cover with water (less than an inch above the tops). I add loads of garlic powder, (maybe 1 1/2 tbs?), a large diced onion, and salt. Then I let it cook a long, long time, up to 4 hours.
              When it's well cooked the meat and gristle come off the bones easily. Throw away the bones. I then run the meat and gristle through an old Foley food mill that I have. Do they even make them any more? I find it gives a finer texture than my little fleishig food processor, where I'm always leery of making too fine a paste and end up with chunks.
              I add it all back to the soup, stir, and pour into a pyrex dish. Then it goes in the refrigerator to set. Needs at least overnight to firm up.

              1. re: helou

                Thanks, will look out for the feet. And, the Foley is still available http://www.kitchenandcompany.com/kitc...

      2. Do my testicles exclude me from making these once upon a time delicacies as well for I too have been known to dable in gribenez stuffed matza balls, head cheese and any form of offal I can legally get my hands on.

        3 Replies
        1. re: gotcholent

          don't forget the liver! chopped liver oldschool on sweet challah - heavenly.

          1. re: gotcholent

            Ari...
            I'm a generation older than you and love and make organ meats regularly.

            Last Saturday night Mrs. B threw a surprise 60th birthday party for me. It was fleischiges. Amongst the platters were chopped liver, gribenes to munch cold like popcorn, fried mini matzo balls with gribenes neshomos, sliced helzel, sweetbreads, tongue, both pickled and in raisin sauce.
            All of which made there way to the serving tables, by my daughters raiding the freezers where they found amply supplies previously made by poppa.....why not it's time to start using up all the chometz.

            There were loads of 'normal' party foods, veg and dips, etc and baked goods and drink. But it was the organ meat specials that truly were the hit of the party, especially so with young guests who had never had them and older guests who don't remember the last time they had them.

            1. re: bagelman01

              Senor Bagel...I want to bring my family for Shabbas!

          2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9126...

            I regularly make Helzel. The link above is to an August 2013 post on the Pope's Nose thread on the General Topics Board.
            I posted a picture of my Turkey Skin Helzel. Also posted is a shot of my gribenes.

            I am 60 years old. I make and eat gribenes and helzel and liver and sweetbreads and beef, lamb and veal. I do not have a cholesterol problem (and never had).

            As my doctors have always said: You can eat anything in your diet as long as it is in moderation.

            I am not interested in living on a fins and feathers diet, and I don't care for milchiges.

            Most of our 'numbers' are greatly affected by heredity. Thank G-d on both sides of my family most of us live into our 90s.
            I eat a lot in my diet, but it is balanced.

            As for this treat becoming a lost art, it has little to do with the serum cholesterol test.
            With the advent of factory farming and kosher poulty processing, the kosher cook in the past 20-30 years almost never gets necks with ample skin to make helzel. If you look at the markings on a whole Empire chicken, it will read 'giblets not included.' No neck, pupick, liver has become the standard.

            When buying fresh killed (or live) kosher poultry was the standard, necks, skin, feet and the egg yolks without shells from inside the hens (for making in soup) were the common standard. But with the advent of packaged self-serve kosher poultry in the supermarket or kosher store, NOT a butcher shop, the necessities for old time cooking disappeared.

            I can still buy live poultry and have a mostly retired shochet who will process it for me, but then I have to clean the birds and soak and salt, something most modern kosher cooks have never done and aren't interested in doing. and with modern retail kosher supervision, fleisch that has not been kashered is almost never sold with the exception of liver.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bagelman01

              Hi,

              My mother from Poland prepared Hetzel and stuffed chicken cavities (which she sewd shut). She used the same ingredients for both, but I have no idea what they were. I know she used chop meat to plug up the neck end. I know there was celery slices in the stuffing and it was a golden yellow and soft. I assume there was bread crumbs in it and onions. Does this sound famiiar to anyone who can supply a recipe? Thanks.

            2. The real kishke that my Bahby made was illegal even then. I always thought it was very funny how she had "connections" on the black market. I used to watch her sew it up and she was, of course, the person who did--in fact-- teach me how to sew on her Singer machine. Rosa Sharon, I'm a Modern Orthodox woman with a graduate level degree, read the WSJ and subscribe to the Jewish Week, but I am a traditional Jewish mom and wife at heart and in practice and--to me--tradition is everything. I don't feel disrespected that I am the one baking the Challah each week and I was the one who cut my working hours to care for my kids when they were born. My Bahby was respected and respectable and I have little tolerance for the "intolerance" of today's liberals. While I don't necessarily agree with women donning Tefillin, you won't find me on an open forum decrying it. Until this moment. ;) So, don't be so quick to push aside the traditionalists among you and--remember--there are plenty of Got cholents and Bagelmans out there (albeit with less heavenly cooking skills) to replace you in the kitchen. I'm okay standing in there with my tzerka on my arm mixing my Kalichels by hand. :) And the only thing keeping me back from my beloved chopped liver is a 38 pound weight loss that I hope keeps on going. Here's looking at you, Bahby.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cappucino

                I'm pretty much on the same terms as you, and I don't feel disrespected either. My grandma and great grandma made everything from scratch. I consider myself very lucky to have a grandma a phone call away to teach me whatever I want to know

                1. re: cappucino

                  I think something got lost along the way here. I respect Chowhound's request to avoid gender issues so I won't say much else. It would have been just as clear to wax nostalgic about our ancestral foods without implying that only women (and elderly ones at that!) are capable(sewing skills) or desirous (unhealthy) of making these mostly Ashkenazi-based heritage foods. For the record, I am a woman who cooks and bakes and is very happy loving on babies and watching people eat what I make.

                  Now I have a terrible craving for chopped liver...

                2. Folks, we'd ask that you please focus this discussion on Kishke and Helzel and not on gender roles. Thanks.

                  31 Replies
                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                    OK, folks. Kishke and helzel are just the tip of the iceberg.
                    Let's compare our Mamma's and Bubie's cooking skills in a little more depth.
                    When your M or B made gefilte fish, did they buy a live fish i.e. carp; bring it home live, stun and kill it with a rolling pin, remove the fins and scales with a knife, gut the fish, chop it up, mix in carrots etc. salt, pepper, (sugar) shape into portions, boil it and serve with rhein (beet horseradish) ?
                    Did they make baked carp? Their own pickled herring?
                    When they bought meat- usually flunken- did they grind up the meat by hand using a hand-powered meat grinder ( called a meilichle)? Were the hand-made hambergers that your M or B made called kokletten?
                    Did your M or B buy cucumbers in the fall and make pickles? ( Tattes and Zaidies also participated in making pickles)
                    Did your M or B make their own fruit preserves in the fall by cooking pears. plums, peaches, cherries, etc. then preserving them in Mason jars so the family could enjoy fruit for dessert in the wintertime? ( In Toronto, Canada there was no freash fruit other than apples in the winter.)
                    Did your M or B bake challah, all varieties of cakes cookies, cinnamon buns, blueberry buns etc. etc.?
                    Did your M or B ever prepare aything from a cookbook or written precipe or did they only work intuitively but nevertheless everything turned out perfect and delicious?
                    Finally, did anyone in your family ever seriously complain about their weight ?

                    .

                    1. re: Doctormhl1

                      OK, I'm game.

                      Let me start by saying I am 60 years old and a 5th generation American. One side was Litvish and the other side German. I did not have anyone called mamma, bubbe, tatte and zaidah. That was the language of peasants from the east (that's the German side coming through). My mother, now 91, was a professional educator with a doctorate. She did use cookbooks and mainly cooked for holidays and in the summer. Neither grandmother cooked very much. In fact I only remember my paternal grandmother hosting the family twice in my lifetime. She always joked that by the time she stopped spending all holidays and sabbaths at her mother's table, she spent them at her Hungarian daughter-in-law's or a hotel.
                      I learned all the paternal family recipes from my grandmother's next younger sister. My great aunt taught much of my generation to cook. BUT she wrote down recipes, never bought and killed live fish. and yes we still grind our own hamburger.
                      My great uncle was the pickle maker, no one in the family preserved fruit, but I still hang salami to dry.
                      Baked goods came from the plentiful kosher bakeries. I in fact was in that business in the 70s.

                      Yes, we had weight problems, but much of that is genetic, our 'numbers' are fine. Typical life expectancy in our family is in the 90s. The great aunt I wrote about died in 2007 at 105 1/2 years of age.

                      I am the youngest grandchild and knew 3 great grandparents. My sister's grandchildren ages 8 and 11 have 3 great grandparents. and none of it is due to early marriages. My parents and grandparents graduated college before marrying.

                      The key difference in my family's experience and what you describe, is that as long time residents in the USA, arriving long before the opening of Ellis Island, we were not among the struggling, impoverished immigrants of the lower east side who had to stretch every penny to feed a large family. Our family association now stretches to the 9th generation in America and the experience you mention is foreign to many of us.

                      BTW>>>My first wife was the daughter of immigrants (from Germany and Vienna via Palestine) and the great socio-economic difference and lack of the shared American experience was the downfall of our marriage.

                      I make many of the dishes you mention, because I enjoy them, not to stretch the food dollar. My ex-MIL was horrified the first time she saw me pull 10 lbs of chicken out of the soup cauldron, bone it and use it to feed the dogs.

                      My mother grew up in the Bronx in the 1920s with a governess, a cook, and a liveried chauffeur for the Pierce Arrow. Then the stock market crashed in 1929, my maternal grandfather folded the company and OMA had to do all her own housework and work outside the home as well. She learned to cook from the Settlement Cookbook, I still have and refer to it.

                      1. re: Doctormhl1

                        1. Live carp had to be chosen by Bahby from the actual pool of water it was swimming in at the fish store, but was brought home dead already.
                        2. It was gutted and cleaned at home, ground in the fish grinder with the other ingredients and served with chrine (pronounced as such and not chrein which would be the Lithuanian pronunciation and therefore a sacrilege in our Galitzyaner home)
                        3. Made her own pickled herring, ptcha and drella
                        4. made pickles out of cucumbers
                        5. always cooked pears, but didn't preserve them and was especially a big deal at Pesach, fresh applesauce and cooked pears--still served by my mother
                        6. Water Challah with thick crust baked every Friday, picked up by her adult sons on Friday afternoon to take home to their Americanisher wives along with the small individual potato keegels that she made for the.
                        7. Rushinka cake without rushinkas (cinnamon cake), flaumkuchen, rugelach for special occasions and Yuntif
                        8. No cookbook, no recipes. Always intuitive, but I was told to watch and I did. Still can't duplicate all of it, though.
                        9. No one complained about weight, but I had weight issues and most of my friends were being raised in American homes and did not have my issues nor my absolute love of all foods heimish in nature.

                        1. re: cappucino

                          8. My great grandma (and grandma) always cooked by eye, never a cookbook or a recipe. As a kid I remember helping great grandma make something, but I was given a separate tray. Mine weren't perfect and therefore were not appropriate for company. My grandma has recipes written down and stored in a lucite box, but they're not really "recipes." One is for hamburgers- call butcher (gives phone number), request fresh meat. Chop onion, parsley. Cook. (That's it!)

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            My 70 yo SIL has a similar filing system, it gives the phone numbers of all her favorite takeout/delivery places. She and my brother are married more than 40 years (no kids) and I don't think she has cooked 40 meals.

                            In addition to the takeout/delivery places, she also has listings such as:
                            Chopped Liver....Husband likes Mrs. B's, call and ask her 3 days in advance
                            Cheesecale-MIL, doesn't bake in summer-too hot
                            Chicken Soup/Matzo Balls-B always has a stash in the freezer

                            Recently they suffered a flood in the house. Brother threw out more than 100 cookbook SIL had accumulated, not a single one had ever had the spine cracked.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              That's really funny! My grandma is such a good cook that she sees no reason for recipes. I'm very lucky that if I want to learn how to make something, she will come over and teach me

                            2. re: cheesecake17

                              My mother was such a wonderful cook and baker. I have her recipe book which often has instructions like "combine in the usual way."
                              A recipe for a favorite cake of mine calls for a "20 cent bar of Hersheys chocolate" to be melted. Was that the big giant bar in the 1960s? Medium? The kind kids buy - single serving?
                              And even if I knew that, companies have been downsizing the quantities - have you looked at the net weight lately in a tuna can, "1 pound" coffee can, "pint "of ice cream, yogurt container, cranberry sauce can, package of shredded coleslaw?

                              1. re: helou

                                Everything that's written down has the measurements in "glasses." As in 2 glasses water, 1 glass flour. We finally took the glass and measured it!

                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                  Sadly I no longer have the whiskey glass to measure the whiskey glass of raisins that went into my mother's stuffed cabbage, or the teacup which measured raisins for her rugelach. Measure while ye may.

                                  1. re: rockycat

                                    I definitely try to! I love calling my grandma and asking a measurement. The answer is usually "just put, you know"

                                  2. re: cheesecake17

                                    My great aunt had two sizes of glasses for cooking/measuring:

                                    Yahrzeit and jelly.................

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      Hi, Bagelman O1:
                                      I'll bet there was a jar of chicken shmaltz in your refrigerator also. Our shmaltz jar was a saved and re-cycled jar the size of today's large herring jar and contained grebenes. (we were fortunate to have a refrigerator; some families still had ice-boxes. I'm going back to the early 1940's)
                                      When as a school kid, age 5-6, I came home from school starving at about 4 P.M. and it was too early for supper, I was given a thick slice of rye bread (with kimmel), schmeared with chicken shmaltz, and sprinkled with a bit of salt.
                                      Just perfect to carry me through to supper at 5:30 P.M.
                                      Oy, what a meichel in beichel!

                                      1. re: Doctormhl1

                                        Doc.....
                                        There still is a schmaltz jar in my refrigerator. But as I don't eat or like herrimg, it's a qt size jar from New Kraut.
                                        I have containers of gribenes in the freezer. Perfect snack (eat like popcorn) while watching Netfix.

                                        When I was about 5, we ate supper late on Thursday nights (8PM) as dad's store closed at 7 instead of 5:30 on Thursdays. Mom always made broiled chicken with rice and carrots. About 6PM when my stomach would start feeling very empty, she'd hand me the heel of a seeded rye (we never had plain) or pupernickel and I would be allowed to dip and wipe up the seasoned fat dripping from the broiler pan.
                                        55 years later, and when I make broiled chicken, I still grab the end of a rye bread and wipe the pan. A better treat than the chicken itself.

                                        Another favorite after school snack from out 50s childhood was an individual 1.5 ounce salami. Known as a 'nickel ah stichkel' they were cut from a chain of links (similar to hot dogs in the kosher deli's and were literally 5 cents each.
                                        Some members of this board may find it odd that we had chicken every Thursday night when it would be served again Friday. BUT, the B family had meat twice a day, every day. Mom had an almost set supper menu:
                                        Monday>London Broil
                                        Tuesday>alternating Lamb or Veal Chops
                                        Wed>ground beef in some incarnation
                                        Thursday>Broiled Chicken
                                        Friday>Roast Chicken
                                        Saturday>Deli
                                        Sunday> 1PM after Hebrew School, a roast, Beef, Turkey, Top of the Rib, Stuufed Veal Breast
                                        then in the car for a 90 minute trip to NY for supper with either set of grandparents and the matching aunt, uncle and two first cousins.

                                        And....mom managed to pull this off while working full time as a public school teacher/administrator.

                                        Since you show yourself to be a doc, I have to relate a medical/food 'B' family story.

                                        At 60, I am the youngest child, born in New Haven. My older siblings were born in the Bronx and moved with my parents to New Haven two years before I was born. In 1958, I was in Grace New Haven Hospital (Now Yale) to have my tonsils out. Th evening after the operation I was in my bed awaiting supper. The nurse came in and brought a tray with vanilla ice cream and gelatin. I refused the food,complaining that my mother had ordered Pot Roast for my supper. the nurse told me that there was no way I could eat pot roast after the procedure. I made a loud fuss and they got my mother from the solarium at the end of the hall.
                                        The nurse told my mother; 'Mrs. B. Your child can not possibly eat pot roast after having his tonsils out.'
                                        My mother said:
                                        "Young lady, this is my third child to have tonsils out, and has older siblings had pot roast for supper that night. He'll have no problem eating it with the gravy. Go call the doctor."
                                        The nurse reluctantly went to the nurses' station and called the surgeon. He told her: "The B children eat meat twice a day, every day. This is the third set of tonsils I've removed in that family. If Mrs. B ordered Pot Roast for the child's dinner, you call down to the kosher kitchen and have it sent up." (in those days the hospital had a kosher kitchen as well as treif. No frozen TV dinners for kosher patients---it was very odd to have nuns delivering kosher meals at times).
                                        Twenty minutes later the nurse came in, all red faced carrying a tray with pot roast, mashed ptatoes and gravy. I was happy.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Did they have the rye heal for the gravy?
                                          Pot roast gravy pairs well with it too!

                                          1. re: chicago maven

                                            Hi Bagelman 01:
                                            I enjoy reading about your carnivorous upbringing.
                                            However, all that meat and no potatoes?
                                            Please tell of the "sides" that undoubtedly accompanied the fleish.
                                            Your tonsil story reminded of a ritual I was literally forced to undergo to maintain my state of health as a young kid.
                                            Each morning in the wintertime (Toronto, Canada) I had to open my mouth, and pinch my nose while my mother a'h spooned two teaspoons of cod liver oil into my mouth, then made sure I swallowed it. Uggg! What torture. Remarkably, I don't recall getting too many colds.
                                            When I got to school I could smell to stench of cod liver oil on most of the other kids' breath as well..

                                            1. re: Doctormhl1

                                              My mother wasn't big on sides, they were for holidays. Both parents had weight problems.

                                              Potatoes are my least favorite starch. I prefer:
                                              #1 Rice
                                              #2 Pasta
                                              #3 grains such as barley
                                              last choice, pasta

                                              So, as requested the rest of the main meal on mother's menu:
                                              Monday: London Broil with broccoli, no starch
                                              Tuesday: Lamb Chops always served with canned creamed corn alternate weeks, the Veal chops were breaded and partially fried then finished in the oven. They would be served with spaghetti and tomato sauce, with additional sauce on the chop
                                              Wednesday: Ground beef, if Coottage pie, it contained niblet corn and mashed potatoes. If Meatloaf it was served with overcooked canned green beans. If Hamburgers then they were served on buns with cole slaw, macaroni salad and potato chips. Occasionally the ground beef came as spaghetti and meatballs, or stuiffed cabbage or peppers with the rice mixed in with the meat and sauce.
                                              Thursday; Broiled chicken, ALWAYS served with rice, either white rice flavored with Croyden House powdered chicken soup mix, or wild rice with canned chopped mushrooms mixed in
                                              Friday; Roast Chicken with cooked carrots (with dill) and pareve noodle kugel
                                              Saturday: Deli with sour pickles and tomatoes, cole slaw
                                              Sunday; 1PM roast with baked white or sweet potatoes, asparagus.

                                              Mom hasn't cooked this meal schedule since I left home in 1972 (I'm the youngest). She's 91+ and in a nursing home. I was there for lunch today (with my almost 68 year old brother). She doesn't know who I am. The nursing staff keeps telling me she doesn't eat. It's Tuesday. I brought a tupperware container of lamb chops cut up in tiny pieces mixed in creamed corn and applesauce for her dessert. It took an hour, but she ate every bite I fed her. She hasn't said a word to me in five months, but when she tasted the food, she smiled. It was worth the effort.

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                It's wonderful that you kept the tradition alive. I'm sure your mom (in some way) appreciated it

                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                  Warm smiles, bagelman. Food is truly a healing force and all your memories inspire me.
                                                  My mom was a working single mom so we lived with Bahby and she cooked dinner every night.
                                                  Sunday: Leftovers from Shabbos (roast chicken, potato kugel) or Sunday dinner at my uncle with all the cousins where we would alternate calichel or brisket, sometimes meatloaf and mashed potatoes, gravy, bread and canned corn.
                                                  School days:
                                                  I would be greeted by a large piece of chocolate cake and milk for my after-school snack followed by:
                                                  Monday: steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli (the better to mash into the potatoes and turn them green)
                                                  Tuesday: fried flounder, mashed potatoes, canned corn
                                                  Wednesday: Hamburgers made in the frying pan, home fried potatoes in the pan, canned green beans
                                                  Thursday: strawberries and cream to be sopped up with white bread . Later in the evening and this is something I savor till this very day and never miss--diet and all--fresh potato kugel straight from the oven at around 10 p.m.

                                                  1. re: cappucino

                                                    I'm amazed at the idea of having a scheduled menu.

                                                    1. re: DeisCane

                                                      Being a baby boomer, few of my friends' mothers served a set schedule. Those who did tended to be working professionals (mom was a teacher then administrator). I grew up in a neighborhood of Jewish business sowners and the only wives who worked on a regular basis were educators or medical professionals.
                                                      This was a time of economic boom and growth in America. No WWII rationing or shortages. During the war you cooked hat you could get. You couldn't plan on the availability of a certain cut of meat for a certain night. Food production as for the ar effort. No a orking ife could plan her menus. Mom had a deep freeze well stocked with the cuts she served on a regular basis. She tended to buy a 1/2 cow at a time and the same with lamb and calves. Chicken was delivered fresh killed every Thursday afternoon.

                                                      The standard exception was that all wives of retailers would help in the store during the 4th quarter rush.

                                                      On our block of 6 homes, all occupied new in January 1954, my mother was the only full time school year employee, so our menu was set. That said, in the other homes it was most common that Monday and Thursday nights were dairy (with the exception of my next door neighbor, the butcher--where all suppers were meat), Friday was chicken and Saturday night was cold as all the parents went out Saturday Nights.

                                                      In the summer, set menus went out the window, as mom didn't work and it was common that in the days before central A/C supper would be cooked on the grill, chops, steaks, burgers, franks, kebobs....always fleischige.

                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                        It sounds like you're arguing that her working was the reason for the set menu? Am I understanding that correctly?

                                                        1. re: DeisCane

                                                          I know of 2-career families who do this. Reason is, you know, the menu, the quantity, the prep time and the fact that the kids will eat it. You can place a standing delivery order. It saves a lot of time. Often includes pizza on Thursday.

                                                          But there was a legendary member of our extended family who passed away years ago. She was married with children, but her great triumphs in life were her Hunter College BA earned during the Depression, and the triumph of having landed a New York City teaching job in the 1950s. As she put it, she landed that job "the year they lifted the quota" on hiring Jewish teachers. She is remembered not only for having taught school at a time when very few married women did, but for serving the exact same dinner on a weekly schedule every day of the week for over forty years.

                                                          1. re: AdinaA

                                                            Standing delivery order-
                                                            Reminds me of when I was talking to a woman in Pomegranate. She was maybe a few years older than me, had 4 children, and worked part time. She commented how I had so many "ingredients" in my cart- rice, pasta, tomato sauce, vegetables. I guess I gave her a funny look, because she answered me and told me that every night in her house is takeout from a different place. Mondays- Chinese, Tuesdays- sushi, Wednesdays- pomegranate, Thursdays- pizza.

                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                              LOL But I'm sure it's true. The ratio of floor space in grocery stores devoted to take out vs. ingredients shifted radically about 20 years ago. I know we're in a "foodie" moment. But as far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of modern foodies are people who watch TV shows about food, read about food, talk about food, cook a meal every month or two and eat take out the rest of the time.

                                                              1. re: AdinaA

                                                                It's true! The first thing I see in most kosher supermarkets is the takeout counter.

                                                            2. re: AdinaA

                                                              I never had a scheduled menu. Never even knew of such a thing outside of Pleasantville.

                                                              1. re: AdinaA

                                                                Adina................
                                                                You could be writing about my mother.
                                                                All the neighbors laughed at my grandfather for giving my mother 50 cents per week subway fare during the height of the depression to attend Hunter College High School. He said it guarrantees her a seat at Hunter College and a teaching job. Mom then went to Hunter, graduating 60 years ago this past January. She got that Post WWII teaching job and continued in education/administration here in Connecticut until her retirement in 1984. It's 30 years that she gets a lovely teacher's pension. Teacher's in CT are NOT covered by Social Security

                                                                Sounds like this member of your extended family was one of mom's Hunter Sorority sisters...they all seemed to have the same housekeeping/cooking habits.and were all Yekkahs............

                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                  We're no yekkies, but my late aunt graduated from Hunter College in the early '30's and was a working woman her entire life. Chief bookkeeper for the Mangel's chain of department stores, if anyone remembers it. Had she been a man, she probably would have been the CFO. She lived with out family and was the only cook (and I use that term loosely) and we had the set menu my entire life. Monday was "dairy," Tuesday was hamburgers & tater tots, etc.

                                                                  I wonder if it really is a Hunter thing.

                                                              2. re: DeisCane

                                                                We had a sort of "set" menu. Mom didn't work, but she did a lot of volunteering.
                                                                Monday- dairy
                                                                Tuesday- chicken
                                                                Wednesday- hamburgers
                                                                Thursday- pasta and fish

                                                                1. re: DeisCane

                                                                  not arguing, but explaining................
                                                                  Summertime and school vacations the set menu went out the window

                                      2. re: Doctormhl1

                                        Sorry. I forgot the meat. It was ground in the hand-cranked meat grinder that screwed on to the edge of the counter. I was the one who had to turn the crank. I didn't mind.

                                    2. Hi,

                                      My mother from Poland prepared Hetzel and stuffed chicken cavities (which she sewd shut). She used the same ingredients for both, but I have no idea what they were. I know she used chop meat to plug up the neck end. I know there was celery slices in the stuffing and it was a golden yellow and soft. I assume there was bread crumbs in it and onions. Does this sound famiiar to anyone who can supply a recipe? Thanks.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jerseykosher

                                        Unfortunately I have no idea what recipe your mother was using to stuff the bird and skin.
                                        The basic soft golen yellow stuffing with carrots, celery and onion sounds like your mother made a basic challah stiffing for the bird.
                                        Helzel was usually stuffed with animal fat, minced onions and carrots, spice and meal (often corn meal or a farina). I've never seen chopped meat added. The fat and skin was a way to extend the bird, and make a meat meal without having the expense of meat.

                                      2. "With the arrival of the serum cholesterol test, this former treat has become a lost art, almost. And ironically, our cholesterol levels are no lower than before!!"

                                        People supposedly dropped those things because of health reasons but later rushed to be first in line for Dougie's all you can eat buffet. I'd like my homemade kishke and pastrami back, please.

                                        1. I once saw a version of helzel that was chicken skin wrapped around some really good chopped liver and then the whole thing is fried until nice and crispy. If it also had some pastrami in it (like a pastrami eggroll), that should also be crazy fun...