After giving me a lesson in how thin I needed to roll the dough to make a proper knish, my neighbor Lois sat down with me in my kitchen to tape the audio for a planned iPad app called The Book of Schmaltz. I had intended to use only the audio, but now that the app is temporarily unavailable because of the publication of the hardcover book, I find Lois’s words too engaging (and funny) to hide. And so here I present her thoughts on schmaltz, chicken fat rendered with onion, against the backdrop of our messy kitchen backdoor area. She is an articulate woman who waxes beautiful on this most ethereal of fats.

And, from this humble goy to Jews far and wide, L’Shanah Tovah. May your year be fruitful and filled with schmaltzy goodness.

Schmaltz: Chicken fat rendered with onion, strained. Aka liquid gold. Photos by Donna

Schmaltz: Chicken fat rendered with onion, strained. Aka liquid gold. Photos by Donna

Knish dough, enriched with schmaltz, rolled super thin to wrap potato and gribenes.

Knish dough, enriched with schmaltz, rolled super thin to wrap potato and gribenes.

Homemade knish, with thanks to Lois Baron

Homemade knish, with thanks to Lois Baron

If you liked this post, read:

© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


13 Wonderful responses to “Meet Lois Baron, Queen of Schmaltz”

  • Victoria

    I agree; that’s great. I think the first knish I ever ate, which was in 1966, is still with me. I (understandably) haven’t had one since. But a homemade knish? Ummmmmm

  • Allen

    Love it, thank you for posting, so much better than just an audio clip.

    In the tradition of using the a goose and the feathers, nothing goes to waste, I made sautéed kale stalks and kale in schmaltz reduced with a little chicken stock, some crushed red pepper flakes, topped with crushed crispy salted chicken cracklings and a few crushed peanuts. Very delicious and most of this would have been tossed out before I read this blog.
    It is a very rich, saisfying and special dish to me.

    If she knows any Yiddish, she could correct me on how to spell farshtooptah, from the comments of your original shmaltz post. I’m pretty sure it means plugged up.

    • Allen

      I just made the kale stalk shmaltz dish 10 min ago. You don’t need peanuts, they are good, but an unnecessary luxury. Finley mince the stalks, you don’t even need leaves. Warms the soul.

  • irina

    Where’s the knish recipe? Did I miss it? I love knish and can’t get them her like in the City,

  • Michael Landry

    so what’s going on with the kindle version? I pre-ordered it a long time ago, I just want to enjoy the book like I’ve enjoyed many of your others.

  • Susan

    Thank you for this post! What a lovely lady. Now I know how to pronounce the word properly I have been going around saying it out loud, just for fun.

    I have pre-ordered The Book of Schmaltz (it’s not out until Sept 26th in UK) and I can’t wait to delve into it. I really enjoy your blog, and wholeheartedly agree with a lot of your views, especially on food fanaticism (rawfoodism/veganism/paleo or whatever the stupid restrictive self-righteous fad of the day is). Keep up the good work!

  • Shelley

    I am Jewish. OMG – Lois could be my grandma – HEHE

    Both my grandmothers made SCHMALTZ. It was always in the refrigerator in jars. ALWAYS. Same as Chicken soup, Honey cake and Gefilte fish, but I digress. As a kid we didn’t know what it was…but we thought it was gross just sitting there all “fat like” in the jars! LOL – but I loved the food. Without this ingredient I just can’t get the same flavor no matter what I do. (trust me, I’ve tried). My mother was a health freak so she never made it, and we were always told how bad it was for us, thus the “art” of making it died with my grandma’s…until now. I am now purposefully using whole chickens and saving the skin and fat in the freezer until I get enough to make it and make it I will. Can’t wait to try and duplicate some of those old dishes! Boy my mother will be surprised (probably not in a good way) So SHHHH! Mums the word.

    • Joe Wiercinski

      Way to go, Shelley! May you rediscover all the flavors you learned to love at your grandmothers table. And may your grandchildren learn them at yours.

  • Natalie Luffer Sztern

    Now should you desire a ‘squished knish’ just put them in a pan and lay covered bricks or a heavy ‘Le Creuset pot” and squish them one side turn and re-do to squish the second side. A knish in my house is not a knish until its squished :)) Shana Tova

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