It’s war to the last crumb of potato, cheese, and kasha on New York City’s Lower East Side.
The first knishery has opened in the early years of the 20th century on Rivington Street amid Manhattan’s largely Eastern European Jewish immigrant community. The delicious, oversized dumplings are baked with a filling of potatoes, cheese, or kasha (buckwheat groats) and fill one’s tummy with warmed-up heavenly heaviness. Benny’s family business is busy and successful until a new store opens right across the street. This knishery sells fried knishes! From baked to fried and from round to square—a war of reduced-by-a-penny pricing begins. Signs, raffles, street music, and a visit from the mayor follow. After many tastings, the mayor makes a politically sound decision by proclaiming “Rivington Street: the Knish Capital of the World!” The author has based her entertaining saga of economic warfare on an actual event as reported in the New York Times in January 1916. Davis’ illustrations, in pen and ink, depict an almost–all-white cast dressed in mostly modern and fashionable 1916 clothing. The palest white faces unfortunately often take on an unhealthy pallor when set on the white background of the pages.
A tasty slice of New York City immigrant lore. (author’s note, recipes) (Picture book. 4-7)