Food lovers seem to have so much affection for famously delicious deli sandwiches that other equally sacred offerings are being left out of the spotlight. You can’t just order a bowl of matzoh ball soup with your pastrami Reuben and assume you’ve paid homage to the instutition of the Jewish deli.
Let’s consider the knish, shall we? Like its savory stuffed pastry cousin, the empanada, knishes are beloved throughout their home region of Eastern Europe, ranging in size from hors d’oeuvre to large grapefruit and traditionally stuffed with potatoes, ground beef, buckwheat kasha or cheese. Officially a fixture of New York’s Jewish communities for 100 years strong (happy birthday, Yonah Schimmel!), the knish is comforting, super-filling, and at about $3 a pop, easy on the wallet.
Then there’s stuffed cabbage. Say what you will about ground beef, humongous deli-style stuffed cabbage rolls are without a doubt its best use outside of the burger universe. Between the fluffiness of the filling thanks to the rice and the balanced combination of tangy cabbage and sweet tomato sauce, it’s comfort food from the old country that will keep you full and happy until even New York dinnertime.
Latkes are my final argument for not ordering a sandwich from the deli, and I’d like to make it known that you don’t have to choose between apple sauce or sour cream. They actually go beautifully together. Any latke situation I’m in which doesn’t involve my kitchen smelling like fried oil for three days is great. Christmas gets to smell like cookies (oh, the disparity!) But I would sandwich just about anything between those crisp, savory potato and onion patties, especially cream cheese and lox.
Kishkes…you can “pass over.”