You know that old expression, “be careful what you wish for…”? Well, a couple of weeks ago, when the Accidental Locavore asked a few friends for some Jewish words for food for a project I’m working on, the results were so hysterical they had to be shared. With big thanks to my friends!Always start your meal with a little forspeis (appetizer.) While some may kvell over their lukshen (noodle), others might think their kasha (pasta) or kishke (veggie sausage) is something nice (as in how about a “nice”?). If God forbid, you’re ailing, try some Jewish Penicillin (chicken soup). Or why not some cool, refreshing, borscht (beet soup) accompanied by a dollop of schmetna (sour cream)? If you need a snack, why not a knish? Who needs EVOO when schmaltz (chicken fat) is so much tastier and clogs your arteries in record time? Never forget the versatile matzo, as in matzo balls, or matzo brei. If you’re still hungry at the end of this taste Mitzvah, you can always have some babka or rugelach accompanied by a bisel (a small amount) of tea. I need a colonic just writing this… And let’s not forget about the shpatzir (a walk, like a walk after dinner to help you digest) that you will need after you eat all of this! The most important words are forspeis (appetizer) and a bisel, which means a little, or small amount. You can really make use of these words in what you need them for! Also add a schmear, which I think we all know…a schmear of cream cheese on a bagel, or a schmear of butter in a pan to cook something. In the spirit of noshing, there is shmear (which means a little dab of cream cheese on your bagel), there is ess (literally , to eat, used as from the mouth of your grandmother…ess a bissel (eat a little) or for a baby or kid (such a good esser) and the ultimate in essing, fress, to overeat (as in watching a fatso chow down …..what a fresser), and shpilkes, literally ants in ones pants (I’m sitting at this table for so long I have shpilkes) and the net result of fressing, a greps (a big belch). If you want food-related terms, that’s another discussion, but the funniest one would be trafe, which is the expression for all food that isn’t kosher, but is commonly used for food that gentiles eat that Jews would never eat, such as bologna with mayonnaise or pastrami or roast beef with butter. Some words have made it into the vocabulary from food, to mean something else, like tzimmes, which is a hodgepodge of vegetables, the centerpiece of which is mashed carrots, but has come to mean ‘a big deal’, as in ‘why are you making such a big tzimmes out of it?’. And there’s schmaltz, which is chicken fat (used in chopped liver) but has come to mean an overabundance of drama. That’s a start!
Did this make you kvell?
…..nothing to do with food, but i’ve always loved what my dear frieind sue merm named her beloved cat: schmata, which means rag.
That was so funny I nearly plotzed. You might think this is pilpul, but kishke’s (intestine), is stuffed intestine, and traditionally not vegetarian. Only allrightnik’s eat vegetarian kishke, hehe. I’m surprised to see chozzerai omitted from the list, which was used more than trafe for non-kosher crap food. Chozzer is pig, and chozzerai is pig food, I believe, but I am not a yiddish maven.
At the Plaza Foodhall you can order the kobe beef pastrami on focaccia…
Speaking of trafe tragedies, the ultimate is the pastrami or corned beef on white bread. Bill Clinton made that mistake years ago in a deli in NYC.