Sunday, April 08, 2007


Hok a Tchynik: Blab Enough, or, from my grandmother Chana: You're banging a kettle!
Farmagan: Treasure
Kishen Tuchis: Kiss My Ass

(pronounce "ch" from the throat, like you're gargling)

These and many other Yiddish words and phrases pepper Joy Horowitz's funny and touching book Tessie and Pearlie, A Granddaughter's Story (Scribner, 1996). My friend Joanie found this farmagan on the free table at the local library sale, and knew it was for me. One of my grandmothers was Jewish and from Russia, and the other Protestant and from Tennessee via Alabama and long before that probably Scotland. The struggle Horowitz experiences in order to better know her grandmothers mirrors my own, and probably yours, too. What amazes me most about this book is that she is never syrupy, and so truthful about the uncomfortable, even repulsive moments amidst the heroic and lovable character traits and events in the lives of her grandmothers. And there are photos and recipes! I had the Meshuggeneh (crazy) Matzo Brei (matzo with eggs) each morning during Passover with honey-the way I grew up eating it. Grandmother Tessi eats hers with jam and I'm sure that's delicious too. Other recipes include French Toast, Marble Cake, Veggie Soup, and Matzo Ball Soup. Happy Easter everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment