Oct 22, 08
Recommended to Rebecca by:
Grandpa Labon, the Jewish baker of the family.
Read in October, 2008
For once, I actually wanted to hear less about the food. Basically Sheraton chased bialys around the world only to dismiss every modern iteration as inauthentic. My mouth is not exactly watering. If Sheraton had just gotten out of her own way and used the bread as a starting point to explore the amazing stories of the Bialystok diaspora, she would have had something. The oral history she captures here is lovely... but instead of being showcased, it's just a sidenote to the quest for Ye Olde Bialy. The book centers on repetitive field notes and rants about inferior modern ovens, missing poppy seeds, and the ever declining tastes of kids these days.
Instead of an uplifting story of food as the hope that springs eternal for a long suffering people, we get a dirge. The book closes with this poignant letter from a Holocaust survivor, "In June 1941 the Nazis came to us and since then there are no more bialystoker kuchen and no more kuchen bakeries and no more of our Bialystoker Jews."