A Kasha, a quick story
By Deborah Glassman
Related to: General Ukraine
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
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??!!"