In the good old days, long before anyone heard of the life-threatening dangers of cholesterol, our Yiddishe Mames and Bubies would regularly take the time and energy to make kishke and/or helzel. I'm talking stuffed derma and stutted chicken neck for the younger non-Yiddish speaking audience out there.
Not only were these blessed woman skilled in the art of Heimishe cooking and baking but in order to make kishke and helzel, they had to be seamstresses as well, in order to sew the ends of the kishke and helzel with needle and thread to prevent spillage.
The tube-like small intestine or skin of a chicken's neck had to be scrupluously cleaned then stuffed with flour, chicken shmaltz, salt, pepper (knoble [garlic] optional). The amounts of ingredients in these treats were mysteriously handed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter, by mouth or imitation. They were first boiled (inthe chiken soup in our house) and thenroasted with the chicken or brisket until brown. No authentic written recipe for kishke and helzel has ever been found prior to 1950.
With the arrival of the serum cholesterol test, this former treat has become a lost art, almost. And ironically, our cholesterol levels are no lower than before!!
Let's start a movement to re-introduce these old favorites into our Shabbos dinner and lunch. Are you health-conscious women out there willing to participate?
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