Russ & Daughters
Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built
Mark Russ Federman & Calvin Trillin
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WITH 8 PAGES OF FULL-COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS AND BLACK-AND-WHITE IMAGES THROUGHOUT
The former owner/proprietor of the beloved appetizing store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side tells the delightful, mouthwatering story of an immigrant family’s journey from a pushcart in 1907 to “New York’s most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring, and silken chopped liver” (The New York Times Magazine).
When Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel shortly after his arrival in America from Poland, he could not have imagined that he was giving birth to a gastronomic legend. Here is the story of this “Louvre of lox” (The Sunday Times, London): its humble beginnings, the struggle to keep it going during the Great Depression, the food rationing of World War II, the passing of the torch to the next generation as the flight from the Lower East Side was beginning, the heartbreaking years of neighborhood blight, and the almost miraculous renaissance of an area from which hundreds of other family-owned stores had fled.
Filled with delightful anecdotes about how a ferociously hardworking family turned a passion for selling perfectly smoked and pickled fish into an institution with a devoted national clientele, Mark Russ Federman’s reminiscences combine a heartwarming and triumphant immigrant saga with a panoramic history of twentieth-century New York, a meditation on the creation and selling of gourmet food by a family that has mastered this art, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at four generations of people who are just a little bit crazy on the subject of fish.
Color photographs © Matthew Hranek
From the Hardcover edition.
A slice of life
More then just a family story, or the story of a business. It is a story of how immigrants came to this country and through hard work rose from poverty. It is a Jewish immigrant story repeated by so many families. As a third generation, I was able to find parallels to my own family and unbringing.
It also is a reminder to respect anyone would comes to this countiry and has the will to work hard. Those immigrants legal or illegal are now, what my grandparents were then. I am where I am today because of their hard work. Today’s immigrants deserve the same chance and respect.