Your Source for All Things Herring...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Haven't Had Any Vita In A While  (This is not fake news )

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Time For A Little Herring Art History

The Herring Net1885

In 1883 Winslow Homer moved to the small coastal village of Prout’s Neck, Maine, where he created a series of paintings of the sea unparalleled in American art. Long inspired by the subject, Homer had spent summers visiting New England fishing villages during the 1870s, and in 1881–82, he made a trip to a fishing community in Cullercoats, England, that fundamentally changed his work and his life. The paintings he created after 1882 focused almost exclusively on humankind’s age-old contest with nature. HereThe Herring Net Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work, hauling in an abundant catch of herring. In a small dory, two figures loom large against the mist on the horizon, through which the sails of the mother schooners are dimly visible. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other unloads the catch. Utilizing the teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells. Homer’s isolation of these two figures underscores the monumentality of their task: the elemental struggle against a sea that both nurtures and deprives.
— Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 41.
Source: Art Institute Chicago---

Monday, May 15, 2017

Commentary Magazine's attempt at herring humor:

The Herring Joke
Our joke for February

For 65 years, every day, Fishbein goes at noon to Ratner’s, the famed dairy restaurant on the Lower East Side a few blocks from his clothing stall on Orchard Street, and has the schmaltz herring and a can of cream soda. He outlives waiters, cashiers, bus boys. He sees the neighborhood change. One day when Nixon is president, a waiter says to him: “Fishbein, live a little. Before you die, go up to Famous on the Upper West Side at 72nd and Broadway. Isaac Bashevis Singer practically lives there. They have great schmaltz herring. Give it a chance!”
He thinks about it and says, “Yeah, why not?” He decides he will go the next week.
Word spreads throughout the neighborhood. There is buzzing. There is gossip. How will he get there? How will he get back? He’s a lifelong bachelor. He’s probably never been above Houston Street.
As he leaves his stall at 11 on Monday, the murmuring follows him down Orchard to Delancey, where he descends into the subway. He takes the F train to West 4th, transfers to the D at 59th, climbs the stairs to the 1, and emerges at 72nd Street 40 minutes later. The word has traveled here too by Jewish telegraph; people are waiting at the subway exit to stare.
As he crosses Broadway, people are pointing. He is oblivious to it. Fishbein enters Famous. An awestruck owner wordlessly guides him to a booth and hands him a menu. “I don’t need it,” he says. “Schmaltz herring and a cream soda.”
He looks around. People look down immediately. The restaurant is hushed.
The waiter comes with a bottle of Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and a plate with a herring on it. Fishbein picks up his knife and fork, and just as he’s about to cut into it, the herring looks up at him and barks, “Schmuck! The schmaltz herring is lousy here! Go back to Ratner’s!”

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sea Lions vs Commercial Fishermen


WATCH: Man vs. mammal, commercial herring fisherman films sea lion feeding frenzy

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Did You Ever Hear Of "Operation Herring" ?

                               Operation Herring: the last WWII war launch of the Italian Paratroopers

Operation Herring

This was the Allied drop of a specially trained Italian partisan unit, numbering some 250 men, behind the German lines in the valley of the Po river in northern Italy (19/22 April 1945).
The object of this undertaking, which was the last airborne operation of World War II in Europe, was to disrupt the lines of communication to Generaloberst Heinrich-Gottfried von Vietinghoff-Scheel’s retreating Heeresgruppe ‘C’ as the Allies swept forward in the final stages of the Italian campaign. The April 1945 'Craftsman' and 'Buckland' Allied offensives in northern Italy were aimed at a decisive breakthrough of the German ‘Gotisch-Linie’, the defensive line along the Apennine mountains and the Po river plain to the Adriatic Sea, for a rapid drive to the north to occupy northern Italy and reach the Austrian and Yugoslav frontiers a rapidly as possible.
However, the Allied planners believed that German strongpoints, the destruction of bridges, road, levees and dikes, and limited but determined resistance over the Po river valley might slow the planned operation. Thus there emerged the concept that the dropping of paratroops into some of the key areas to the south of Po river could disrupt the German rear areas, attack German lines of communication, and destroy German motor transport, so dislocating the German retreat and preventing German pioneers from blowing key chokepoint features before the Allied spearheads could reach and take them.
Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery, commanding of the British 8thArmy, had a number of Italian paratroopers available for such an effort. In March 1945, the whole 114-strong F Reconnaissance Squadron organised as 12 squads of Italian paratroops under Capitano Carlo Gay, and 112 volunteers organised as four platoons, each comprising three squads led by Tenente Guerrino Ceiner (all of the Reggimento fanteria paracudisti ‘Nembo’ of Generale di Brigata Giorgio Morigi’s Gruppo di Combattimento 'Folfore') were selected for ‘Herring’. This would comprise eight drops in areas to the south of Po river, at locations to the south-east of Ferrara, the Mirandola area, and Poggio Rusco and the main road linking Modena and Mantua.
During the night of 19/20 April the Italian paratroopers, together with at least one British paratrooper who had joined them, jumped from 14 Douglas Dakota transport aircraft. The drop was very dispersed, but this did not significantly impede the progress of the following ground operation. A few men were captured on landing, but their comrades proved very aggressive. Some 16 paratroopers were surrounded by German forces and fought it out from a farmhouse until all but two had been killed and their ammunition had been exhausted. Other groups were more successful, inflicting heavy damage and suffering light casualties.
The 18 men of two squads of F Reconnaissance Squadron took two small towns, Ravarino and Stuffione, capturing 451 Germans and holding out until the arrival of the first Allied ground forces.
In the event ‘Herring’ lasted 72 rather than the originally planned 36 hours, but was a success. According to some sources, and with the aid of local partisan groups, the Italian paratroopers killed 481 German soldiers of General Traugott Herr’s 10th Army, captured 1,083 German soldiers, destroyed 44 vehicles and captured many more vehicles including some tanks, armoured cars and guns, cut 77 telephone lines, took three bridges, and blew up one ammunition dump.
The paratroopers themselves suffered 31 dead (including one British paratroop sergeant) and some 10 to 12 men wounded.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017



The Barrel Always Smells of Herring I: How Do You Remember A Fish?

“La caque sent toujours le hareng.”
“The barrel always smells of herring.” – A French proverb about how a person’s origins are never forgotten
Blynai with sour cream and herring
Blynai – potato pancakes – in Vilnius, served with red onions, pickled herring, sour cream, and mushrooms. These are all considered to be delicious things in the non-Jewish and Jewish Lithuanian palates alike. That was a good lunch. Photo mine, March 2015.
I grew up with herring. I’m not saying this to be a snob or prove my authenticity. I say this because pickled herring was constantly present in the house where I grew up. I was introduced as a young child to herring by my South African grandfather, who would stay with us for two months a year in our house in New York. He ate pickled herring almost every day for breakfast at the time – and he still, at 94, enjoys all forms of pickled or salted herring immensely. So by the age of six, I was hooked on pickled herring – be it with dill, cream sauce, “wine sauce,” or juniper berries. (As I wrote for Roads and Kingdomsherring anywhere can send me back to my childhood.) My grandparents did not have to be present for herring either – my mother constantly kept pickled herring in the refrigerator. This was partly because she herself enjoyed the saltier varieties of herring on a sandwich. In addition, guests were often served, especially on Jewish holidays, a forshpizer of chopped herring – the leftovers of which were happily consumed by someone in the family. By the time I left for college, I had an insatiable and very homely love of pickled fish. One could say this was unusual for my generation – unless I had, like so many of my fellow hipsters, been introduced to herring at IKEA or a modern Jewish deli. (The former is not bad, the latter often does well too.) But one could also say that having grown up in New York, undoubtedly the preserved fish capital of North America – that it was destined to happen.
Russ and Daughters herring platter
A platter of herrings at the Russ and Daughters cafe extension in New York. Expensive but worth it! (Photo mine, August 2015.)
For many New Yorkers of all faiths, herring is a Jewish food. The city was introduced to pickled herring first by the Dutch colonists and Scottish and Irish migrants, but the most common forms of pickled herring today are those that Eastern European Jews brought with them from Poland and Lithuania in the late 19th century along with techniques for smoking fish, uses of fish, and myriad preparations of river fish. Today, shops like Russ and Daughters and Raskin’s do brisk business with a Jewish clientele seeking pickled herring, and most supermarkets with a large Jewish clientele carry at least a few brands of mass-market pickled herring. Herring is remembered by many Ashkenazi Jews as a mark of some bygone era of proper Judaism – or as a taste of a now-dying generation. Others use herring to prove their adherence to either Orthodox authenticity or a vaguely-shaped idea of Ashkenazi or “Yiddish” culture (which are sometimes combined). Meanwhile, the great Nordic obsession of the 21st-century Anglo-American bourgeoisie has catapulted the herring – also a food of “ordinary” Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, and Icelanders – into the realm of “gourmet” cuisine. You can now spend too much money on “Scandinavian” or “Jewish” herrings at the chic boutiques of SoHo and the Upper East Side. Herring is Jewish and homely and Scandinavian and haute cuisine all at the same time. And by some, it is loved.
We forget – I too forget – in these reveries that herring was once an oft-maligned food of poverty. In Eastern Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries – and far before that – herring, salted or pickled, was the everyday staple of the Ashkenazi working and peasant classes. It was cheap – incredibly cheap, as it was fished, preserved, and shipped in huge quantities for the day. It was readily available and filling. And, it was consumed by pretty much everyone in much of the region – herring was a common protein source for Jews and non-Jews alike in Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. As documented by Michael WexGil Marks, and Claudia Roden separately, a fairly typical meal for a Jew in late 19th-century Lithuania – be he in a yeshiva, working at a factory, or at a shop – would have been a piece of herring on black bread. The fish was so common that the Latvian-born British Jewish columnist Chaim Bermant described the diet of his childhood as such: “On Sunday, one had a pickled herring, on Monday soused herring, on Wednesday baked herring, on Thursday herring fried in oatmeal and on Friday herring with sour cream.” Herring was so common as to almost be hated by many who ate it every day. Meat was the luxury that was craved, as one Yiddish-language song opines, by those who only had “a spoiled little herring.” That said, herring also tied Ashkenazi Jewry to a wider world that spanned the Baltic and North Atlantic – an entire economy based on herring and cod, and a network of cultural influence from northern Iceland to Russia closely paralleled by the fish. (This world was brilliantly documented by Douglas Murray in his recent book Herring Tales.) Thousands of Jews across Baltic Europe, and in England, the Netherlands, and France, were also employed by the herring industry, including the father of the Lithuanian Jewish artist Marc Chagall.  Herring was, for many, the food on the table and what put food on the table.
Herring + tea + apple
Herring on rye toast with tea and an apple – the Ashkenazi meal of champions. I used this photo for my herring article for Roads and Kingdoms. Normally I would put less herring on, but I was celebrating finishing my master’s degree. (Photo mine, June 2015)
I’ll discuss global herring and the herring economy in a later post. For now, let us return to the United States and Canada, where memories and tastes shifted. Firstly, tastes shifted away from herring and foods like it. In the years after World War II, increasingly prosperous Ashkenazi Jews assimilated both into whiteness and “middle-class values” in America and the food habits and tastes of their Christian neighbors. Herring – that sour, fishy, smelly food of poverty and un-Americanness, was out, canned pears and mayonnaise were in. But then herring became stylish. Firstly, the increasing fascination with new flavors by the post-hippie yuppies of the 1980’s soon expanded beyond spicy and savory to the pickled – exactly where herring sat. Then there was the fact that Scandinavian products – including herring – became an increasing marker of class status in the late 20th century. Professionals who bought Scandinavian furniture and worshipped “Swedish design” also became interested in the herring sandwiches that fed the architects of Göteborg and Norrköping. These expanded tastes showed what Pierre Bourdieu would consider a marker of elite status, a proof of high social and economic capital that was a far cry from herring’s proletarian origins. Meanwhile, a new generation of Ashkenazi Jews, became interested in the food of their own ancestors and that of their Sephardi brothers and in other aspects of their heritage like Yiddish – encouraged, of course, by the increasing commodification and celebration of heritage in the 1980’s and 1990’s – became enamored of herring as well. In addition, in a time when the tastes of Jews in the US had shifted – both to new spices and flavors and to the mainstream sweet and bland flavors of white America, herring also provided access to a memory of the “good old days” for those disturbed by the change. Russ and Daughters was now not just an excellent place for pickled fish, but the preserved proof of a “more Jewish” time on a changing (and less white) Lower East Side. Of course, some Jews – Haredim, South Africans, and an older generation – had never stopped eating herring in the first place – or doing any of the other things a generation curious as to what it considered “authentically Jewish” (read: “Ashkenazi”).
Finally, the large-scale migration of Jews from the former Soviet Union to the United States and Canada also changed the perceptions and memories of herring. Herring – selyodka – had remained on the menu in the USSR, and Russian-speaking Jews brought their pickled herrings with them as they moved to New York, Toronto, Montréal, and Chicago. So now, there is also a whole other Jewish communal memory associated with herring – not the Yiddish yesteryear, but that of a Russian Jewish memory shaped by seven decades of novy byt.
Herring fridge
The herring fridge at a Russian supermarket in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of New York. I got … excited. (Photo mine, May 2015)
I wondered as a child why most of my other friends were not fond of herring. To a certain extent, the tart and fishy pickled herring is – was – for many of their palates a very foreign tastes. As I had noted, tastes in North America had shifted as Ashkenazi Jews largely assimilated into whiteness – which themselves were changing in what they ate and how they ate it. As Bee Wilson in First Bite and Donna Gabaccia in We Are What We Eat have written, flavor preferences in North America and Europe, led by the restaurant and food manufacturing industries, have largely centered around a trifecta of sweet, fatty, and salty flavors in the past fifty years. These tastes – along with social cues that I discussed in a post about Arab desserts – play heavy roles in everything from the flavors of a child’s first foods – formula, baby food, and “kid food” like chicken nuggets and children’s cereal – to the hip foods their parents may eat in wealthy neighborhoods. It is into this context, as Avery Robinson has noted in his work on kugel and “Jewish American foodways,” that North American Jews, their tastes, and their idea of “good Jewish food” have been assimilated. So the tart-sour, fishy-briny taste of pickled herring would be well outside this flavor profile. Perhaps – though South African Jews are very assimilated themselves in terms of food – it is my South African parents that introduced me to herring. Perhaps I was just an unusual child. The most likely thing is that I was simply introduced very early. Now, as more of my friends come to like pickled herring, the dish is used to recall not a simpler time, but rather one of different tastes.
Herring on an English muffin
Herring on an English muffin. (Photo mine, June 2016)
But herring, as you may realize, is also mobilized as a mark of authenticity and continuation – in a manner I’d rather eschew. I’ve seen a few Jews discuss how they are sad “no one eats herring anymore” or claim that they are doing Judaism properly or more authentically by eating herring. This idea, of realness, is rooted in a nostalgia that the theorist Svetlana Boym noted has a habit of “colonizing the present.” This authenticity, rooted in nostalgia, does exactly that – more so than anything truly reflective of the material past. Yes, herring is traditional in Ashkenazi communities. Yes, herring has great symbolism in our culture. But eating herring doesn’t make you any more Jewish than the person who doesn’t eat it, nor is it more right than say, only eating your fish “on sushi or a bagel.” Eat herring because you enjoy it, because you want it, and share it with your friends as something to enjoy and want, not to perform your superior authenticity to address your own insecurity at something we Jews all feel bad at doing: being Jewish. Besides, let’s not forget that for generations those “authentic” ancestors you seek to ape, those “real” Jews, were often quite keen to swap herring for canned tuna and rye bread for Wonder Bread. Or that the herring they preferred may well have been sourer and fishier than the one you do. (We are also affected by changing tastes.) What you remember when you eat herring – like what I remember – is always a “colonization of the present.”
How do we remember our humble little fish? For some, it is the food that fueled Ashkenazi Jews in the past in di alter heim – “the old country,” and a reminder of a lost taste palate or an authentic culture. For others, as it might be for me, a taste of childhood in New York or Moscow. And for others a reminder of our complex statuses as Ashkenazi Jews in North America – assimilated and not. It can be all of these or none of these. And what is forgotten when we remember is just as important – whether it is the crushing poverty that most Jews in Eastern Europe faced, the headlong rush into white Americanness the “authentic” Yiddish-speaking generation of grandparents encouraged and initiated (including the change of tastes!), the class dynamics of eating the “authentic” version an often pricy pickled delicacy, or the simple fact that in a sweet-fatty world, the tart-fishy pickled herring has a different place.
And as we remember herring, we keep eating it. At least I do.
A school of herring. (Photo Arild Finne Nyboe via Creative Commons)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Boston Marathon runners aren’t the only ones who undergo an endurance test in spring: Millions of river herring migrate into Massachusetts’s coastal waters for their annual journey upstream. When they encounter obstacles like dams and steep elevation changes, man-made fish ladders help them up and over. Pick a sunny day and head out to watch one of nature’s more intriguing spectacles. The Nemasket River in Middleborough is the largest herring river run in the state. As many as 1 million fish migrate over the Wareham Street Dam and Fishway, making it a great place to view the herring run. Watch on Wareham Street off Route 105 in downtown Middleborough from late March to early May. Another great spot is Oliver Mills Park, site of an annual herring run festival on April 8 and 9.

Friday, March 17, 2017


Thanks to Aaron Michelson for this joke!! 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Seen in a kosher food shop in Antwerp:

Mondvopen ogen dicht. En geniet (eyes closed and enjoy)

down the hatch!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Great Yarmouth, as reported by the BBC, was the location of Europe's largest fleet of herring fisherman with some 1000 ships at its peak in the late 19th and early 20th century. Large numbers of English and Scottish fisherman were based there. It is estimated that 10,000 men plus another 5,000 "fisher girls" were employed. The "fisher girls" processed the fish after unloading. A top flight processor could gut over 30 herring in a minute.

source: The BBC

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Have you ever read this poem or seen the video?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


You better know what you're doing if you're naming your flick after herring:

Some on-line reviews:

Trailer says it all...SHILL VOTES GALORE

Author: mairtino from United Kingdom
11 November 2015
If the trailer is anything to go by and I think it's a pretty good indicator of what's in store then this one does not merit watching at all. The acting seems pretty atrocious and I echo what the one other reviewer that isn't linked to the movie has already said...the acting lacks's as wooden as hell.

If the rest of the picture is well scripted and acted then why would they have chosen the worst 2 minutes of the movie as it's showcase. I know shill voters want to get their picture watched...did it ever occur to them that people would probably be more inclined to watch it if it wasn't such poorly put together garbage. The trailer would seem to suggest a quality that would make even the most amateur film student offering look like the work of Coppola in comparison.

A Smart & Stylish Thriller!

Author: jonnyrancher ( from Las Vegas, NV
30 October 2015
One of the dictionary definitions for a "red herring" is: "something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting." When discussing "Red Herring", the film, the dictionary definition definitely applies. "Red Herring" is a taut, action- packed crime-drama, directed by Ousa Kuhn, that will keep you guessing all the way to the exciting finish. The film stars Robert Scott Howard, Holly Valance, Tim Tucker, Andre McCoy, Vincent Pastore of Sopranos fame, and G Eric Miles and is packed with more twists and turns than a dance- hall on a Saturday night.

Written and produced by Joshua Cohen, "Red Herring" is a top-notch thriller; on par with the great mystery stories of old! To give you an idea of how intricately Cohen wove his web, at varying points in the film, and in seeming rotation, I thought each of the main characters was the guilty party, and in the end, I was wrong! That's how great mystery is done. And that's what's in store for you in "Red Herring!"

Through the efforts of the Nevada Film Incentive (established in 2015,) "Red Herring" is a 100% made-in-Nevada production: Written in Nevada; produced in Nevada; filmed in Nevada. With quality efforts like "Red Herring," the Nevada Film Incentive appears to be off to a very promising start.