Mayer Kirshenblatt remembers in words and paintings the daily diet of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust. Born in 1916 in Opatóów (Apt in Yiddish), a small Polish city, this self-taught artist describes and paints how women bought chickens from the peasants and brought them to the shoykhet (ritual slaughterer), where they plucked the feathers; the custom of shlogn kapores (transferring one's sins to a chicken) before Yom Kippur; and the role of herring and root vegetables in the diet, especially during the winter. Mayer describes how his family planted and harvested potatoes on leased land, stored them in a root cellar, and the variety of dishes prepared from this important staple, as well as how to make a kratsborsht or scratch borsht from the milt (semen sack) of a herring. In the course of a forty-year conversation with his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, who also interviewed Mayer's mother, a picture emerges of the daily, weekly, seasonal, and holiday cuisine of Jews who lived in southeastern Poland before World War II.
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