A wonderful Canadian food blogger has suggested writing on the topic of Dishes of Comfort. I have been trying to remember what my childhood comfort foods were and the memories associated with them.
That photograph on the left is a miniature knish I made a few weeks ago, just 2 inches across and utterly perfect. Let me tell you a little more about knishes. When I was in middle school my aunt Rima (z"l) married the Knish King of the Hudson Valley, a wonderful man who owned a company called Kisses Knishes in Rosendale, NY. Marvin's knishes were sold up and down the valley, and in New York City. From the time he entered our lives our refrigerator was frequently full of knishes, it seemed there was usually at least one hiding somewhere. At holidays, he would bring over trays of freshly baked miniature knishes. At other times he'd hand us boxes of different flavors of saran-wrapped full-size knishes. Kasha knishes, potato knishes, broccoli-potato knishes, tofu-blueberry knishes (the latter of which is the only flavor I refused to try). They ruined me for those deep-fried orange-tinted machine-made knishes sold by street vendors in New York City.
There is something comforting about dishes that incorporate more than one carbohydrate - Knishes made of dough-wrapped potato filling. Or the pasta-and-buckwheat combination of kasha varnishkes. I was shocked to read someone online explain knishes to a non-Jew as being like "Hot Pockets" - What a shonde! But it's true that there's something about any food that's wrapped neatly in a pocket of dough. It's convenient, satisfying, and a good snack when you're on the run.
As a school project in middle school we were asked to prepare, and bring to school, an ethnic food from our culture. I spent the day in the Knish Factory, learning how to make miniature knishes, a tray of which I proudly brought to school. Needless to say, they were a big hit.
Kisses Knishes closed this past year when Tante Rima was diagnosed with lung cancer. She passed away in September (Zichrona livracha, may her memory be for a blessing). I look forward to seeing the Knish King when I go back east for Thanksgiving, and to tell him I missed his knishes so much that I baked my own.