Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
When we moved to Israel last year, many of my US-based friends were lamenting the fact that I would find it difficult to find good herring here. While its true that in a country of over 300 million people you are going to have literally dozens of herring manufacturers and hundreds of herring varieties to sample, the State of Israel, with its population of only 7.5 million, has nothing to be ashamed of. Herring (דג מלוח) is popular here and found everywhere. They even discussed it in the Talmud. A well-known Talmudic reference from the Minor Talmudic Tractate (Mesechtot Katanot) Mazon (Food) reads as follows:
אם יש חסידים יש דג מלוח
This says: "Im yesh Chassidim yesh dag maluach" or "If there's Chassidim there's herring". Some of the best Israeli herring I've found is sold in the Chassidic communities of Ramat Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak and Jerusalem.
Today, we are posting a really nice matjes herring that I found in Kfar Saba. The shop is called Mercaz Hadagim v'haChamutzim. This was an absolutely first-rate matjes with firm, pink flesh, coated with scallions. Not overly salty and really quite tasty. Loved it!
Sunday, January 9, 2011
For all you lovers of books about herring, have you seen this one? It was published in 2004 by Tempus Publishing Limited in Great Britain. The author is a naval architect, maritime historian and fisheries ethnologist---whatever the hell that is. It says that he is also a herring smoker nicknamed "Kipperman". As the author states: "If this book has any purpose, it is to document the historical importance of the herring, and to highlight its versatility. May the herring be recommended in its rightful place in the daily diet of the people." This is a must for your herring book collection. I keep it right next to my seforim for easy access.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
HERRING REVIEWS: #1
This is the grandaddy of the American herrings. My friend Buzzy Levine refers to it as "Old Faithful" because for most people in the U.S. who try herring, this is their source. In fact, this is what defines herring for most of the Jewish World. In small-town America, where no fine herrings exist, you will find good 'ole Vita. This is your baseline-this is your starting point in the world of herring. And its totally OK. I would never walk away from it if I was stuck in Buffalo, N.Y. and this was all they had. It is a bit chewy but the sour cream helps. Their herring in wine sauce version, with its soggy onion can be a bit much at times, especially after the third piece, but its edible.