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A Kasha, a quick story

By Deborah Glassman

Related to: General UkraineRecipes

Here is a quick story about Kasha. Kasha is buckwheat groats, but "a kasha" means "a question".

I was seventeen years old and still called Debbie Solomon instead of the Deborah G. Glassman that I acquired as a married woman. I was visiting my grandfather's aunt, Ida FRIEDMAN KAISER, at her home in Philadelphia. She was an accomplished woman, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, a teacher in the Philadelphia school system for over fifty years, and married all that time to my Uncle Alex who had been an engineer for Bell Telephone.

Aunt Ida recently had written a history of her part of the family, was one of the early members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia, and seemed to value what I had taken on as my contribution to our shared research; I'd liked finding the records of immigration, funeral homes, pictures of the synagogues in the towns where her family was from, that kind of thing.

I was less comfortable talking to people and quickly ran out of conversation in social situations and would struggle even with relatives that I had met many times. So we were at some lull in the conversation and I mentioned that I now had something that I valued from her late sister's estate.

From the household of this beloved balabusta Sophie FREEDMAN, I had been given a cast-iron cooking pan, that I was told by my father was his aunt's kasha pan. He had loved eating kasha and bow ties at her house and he handed it to me with the instruction that I had better get my mother to teach me how to cook kasha.

Aunt Ida nodded as I related this, "Sophie was a wonderful cook." Her husband nodded thinking of Sophie's family dinners and then chimed in "mmmmmm, kasha," in a loving and longing way. He went on to say that every time he went to the eye doctor, he took himself into Bains, a Jewish restaurant in Philadelphia and ordered kasha.

Aunt Ida pulled herself up confused and indignant. "In sixty years, you never mentioned that you liked or wanted kasha!"

And Uncle Alex replied, "the way you cook??!!"

  • Last Modified: 06-08-2012
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