fun with phrases

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 5 00:41:15 UTC 2011

Oh, boy! You're closer to truth than you might imagine! "Stuffed derma",
in these parts, is sold as "kishke" or "kishka". "Derma" presumably
refers to skin, but "kishka" is Slavic>>Yiddish for "gut" or
"intestines". What gives? Well, Poles make "kiszka" with actual "kiszka"
stuffed with what amounts to blood pudding. Of course, such product
would have been anathema to Polish--or any other--Jews. And "gut" is
another problem, as it usually comes from pigs. So what were Jews to do?
Czechs have a similar product that is considered to be a giant dumpling.
It's this giant roll of flour and fat that merrily simmers in a pot
roast with a chunk of pig, then is sliced along with the pig for
service. Hungarians also have something similar, called "bread
dumplings", but they also use pig gut. So, instead of the pig gut, the
regional Jews--covering that whole stretch of nations--took the
unmolested skin from the chicken neck (something that we rarely see
today) and stuffed it with a softer version of the Czech dumpling (or
the Polish kiszka without the blood). In my memory, it can be 4-8 in.
long and 2-4 in. in diameter--somewhat smaller than the Czech version
but larger than the Polish and the Hungarian versions. This "dumpling"
can then be cooked in the savory tsimmes, along with a couple of chicken
legs or a nice piece of beef chuck. It serves dual functions, as it also
thickens the tsimmes--something that carrots cannot do on their own.
But, the bottom line is, you don't have to be Jewish to eat--and even
like--stuffed derma. (I'm not so sure about gefilte fish, although the
dish's origin is certainly /not/ Jewish; gribenes are the Jewish answer
to salt pork and bacon, etc.)


On 10/4/2011 7:34 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> On Oct 4, 2011, at 4:43 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> "You don't have to be crazy to *  - but it helps!"
>> 1925 _N.Y. Times_ (Nov. 2) 20 [rev. of movie "Classified"]: One of the
>> captions, written by Ralph Spence, reads: You don't have to be crazy to
>> dance the Charleston, but it helps."
> …Seems like this slogan could have combined nicely with those billboards for Levy's Rye bread to yield plausible ads for other products:
> "You don't have to be Jewish to eat our gefilte fish (stuffed derma, gribenes, ptcha, etc.)--but it helps!"
> LH

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