My father just emailed me,

I’m still unpacking boxes of stuff we moved, just came across the Wedding Reception menu for Granma Lucy’s marriage to your Greatgrandfather, Abraham Mendelson, in 1917, at the Schary Manor in Newark. Some menu highlights:

Fish: Etlifeg fish (???????)

Soup: Noodles and Marrow

Entrée: Ox tongue

Roast: Egyptian Capon

The dessert selection includes White Rock (?????) and Perfecto Corona Cigars

Sorry to have missed it!

Etlifeg is gefilte spelled backwards. Why would they spell gefilte backwards? Was it considered, I don't know, classier? Wasn't there a trend a while back in England to spell girls' names backwards?

Also, what is white rock?
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)

From: [personal profile] rivkat

My guess is that White Rock is this selection of beverages, if cigars also counted.
daidoji_gisei: (Cooking)

From: [personal profile] daidoji_gisei

I just checked my cookbooks from the 30s and 40s and came up dry on the White Rock question. My first thought was that maybe it was another name for Floating Island, but that involves a milk-based custard and so could not be served with this menu, correct?
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)

From: [personal profile] snarp

Maybe they were trying to trick any gentiles who might have been invited.

Alternately, I googled "spelling food names backwards" and found this. It's very helpful.
dandelion_salad: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dandelion_salad

People joke that they shop at Tar-zhay. Maybe saying etilfeg fish was something like that. I like a bit of goofiness at formal occasions!
tigerflower: (Default)

From: [personal profile] tigerflower

For "white rock" I'm guessing it's a white rock cake -- rock cakes are a type of fruitcake, originally British. The trad Brit version includes oatmeal for economy's sake (cheaper than white flour), the "white" version does not.
chomiji: Momiji fro, Fruits Basket, with the caption Oh! (Momiji-satori)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

Might White Rock have been a wine? There is a White Rock winery in Napa Valley that was producing wines in the late 19th century (it was revived recently).

From: [identity profile]

I was think something like that--maybe a wine or a liquer.

From: [identity profile]

There's also a White Rock that produces mineral water, ginger all, and other flavored sodas, which would have been a bigger deal back in 1917.
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

Good point. And certainly sodas as a beverage were still a big deal at festive Jewish meals when I was growing up in the 1960s. That was usually the only time I got to drink soda in those days

From: [identity profile]

Same with me, except substitute in Catholic and 70s. Sprite was a huge treat for winter holidays and coke for birthdays.
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

I'm also finding listings for "white rock candy," by which plain, uncolored "rock candy" (sugar crystals, not the U.K. candy known as rock) is meant.

From: [identity profile]

The only backwards girl's name I know is "senga" for Agnes, and I thought that was a purely Glaswegian thing.

From: [identity profile]

I agree with the White Rock as a tonic/soda/pop beverage. It was the local upstate New York tonic. I see it's still in production, but the brand appears updated---it may no longer be local.

If you can get the whole menu from your father, that would be very interesting to see!

I'm wondering if spelling gefilte backwards could be a Yiddish right-to-left reference? It could also be a family in-joke, but for an entire wedding, not so likely.

From: [identity profile]

It could also be a family in-joke, but for an entire wedding, not so likely.

I dunno - the fact that I can't find a single real reference to "etlifeg" anywhere, including Google Books, leads me to think it was an in-joke of some kind.

From: [identity profile]

Oooh, I'm wrong about White Rock being an upstate NY company! It's originally from Wisconsin.

It had a classy reputation. Possibly mentioning "White Rock and cigars" hinted that more than just soda water or tonic would be available.

From: [identity profile]

Lovely label design, if I recall correctly.

"A glass of White Rock" was a thing people said (including the White Rock people in their ads). It was the preferred non-booze tipple of LBJ.
ext_14638: (Default)

From: [identity profile]

Maybe Etlifeg Fish is inside out Gefilte Fish - fish on the inside, stuffing on the outside?

From: [identity profile]

O.o. May I ask how you make Gefilte fish? The way I was taught to do it involves processing all the ingredients, not stuffing it anywhere...
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile]

My grandmother said that it used to be that the balls of chopped fish were served with the fish skin wrapped around them, hence the stuffed notion, but that fell out of use because nobody liked the fish skin anyway.
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile]

I have the large turned wooden bowl and half-moon chopper that my great-grandma used to make gefilte fish. Wonderful pieces, even though there's technology now that does the same job faster.

From: [identity profile]

I just googled it and that chopper looks scary. I'd totally lose fingers, plus, once i bought a fish with skin and head to make gefilte fish (it was cheaper!) and my mum wanted to kill me because we spent forever getting it cleaned to make the gefilte fish. People thruly did spend their lives in the kitchen.
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Bandanagirl - Vampire Red)

From: [identity profile]

no, it's very safe! One hand is on the HANDLE, so not in the way of the blade; the other hand is attached to the arm that is CRADLING THE BOWL, so nowhere near the blade. Not for use on a flat surface. Keeps the material to be chopped from flying everywhere. Less stressful on shoulder/arm/wrist, too. Have worked in restaurant kitchens, doing large volumes by both methods. trust me, chopper and bowl is the WAY TO GO!

From: [identity profile]

Oh, I hadn't understood you sued them as a pair. Do modern restaurants use these, then? Cooking shows are obviously giving me a distorted image of the food industry XD.
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile]

well, I brought mine IN, because chopping huge sides of salmon for the salmon burgers when I was working as a prep cook was doing a number on my wrist and shoulder doing it flat.

If you look at, say the Italian cooking shows, you might see one in action.

From: [identity profile]

I wondered about that, but wouldn't everyone present be Jewish? (Bride and groom both were.)

From: [identity profile]

Was it printed or handwritten? The guest certainly would've been Jewish but I'm not sure all the vendors would have been. (I realize I'm grasping a bit at straws here!)

From: [identity profile]

Doesn't seem likely - Schary Manor was a kosher catering place.

I found a few Schary Manor menus, which are unexceptional - no reverse spellings, no Egyptian anything - but they are transcriptions, not scans. I am still inclined to think this menu was written by the bride and/or groom.

One of the Schary family members, Dore (Isidore) Schary, had a career in Hollywood as a writer and producer. He wrote a book about Schary Manor (For Special Occasions) which might be interesting.

From: [identity profile]

Having a Yiddish origin the word gefilte געפֿילטע written in Hebrew script would be read right to left. Perhaps etlifeg was intended as a humorous transliteration of the Yiddish read left to right, in the same spirit as “the” is occasionally spelled “teh” on the net. It is also possible someone unfamiliar with Hebrew script used a transliteration chart in left to right order.

From: [identity profile]

I'm now wondering about that "Egyptian capon." The only reference I can find to it anywhere (except this post) is in Sir William Davenant's The Playhouse to Be Let. Which doesn't prove it's a joke of some kind, but... were either of your great-grandparents into Restoration theater?

From: [identity profile]

Egyptian capon

I found a recipe in a Time-Life Middle Eastern cookbook, of all places.

It was originally a recipe for stuffed pigeon (Old World pigeons, which are rather larger than the skyrats with which we are familiar), but if Cornish game hen is substituted, it becomes "Egyptian capon".

Basically, you take out the giblets, saute them with green onions, then mix in cornmeal and mint. The birds are stuffed with the cornmeal/giblet mixture, then baked in a covered casserole with water in it to make sure they don't dry out. Braised, basically.

The Egyptian name for the dish is Hamam Mahshi - in Googling that, I discovered that it's more commonly made with bulghur wheat than cornmeal, at least in Egypt.

From: [identity profile]

Re: Egyptian capon

Neat! I guess Google has not gotten around to scanning that cookbook yet (although the term must exist in older cookbooks if it was used in 1917).

My impression from the little I could find about Schary Manor was that their menus were a mix of standard Eastern/Central European Jewish food and standard event catering food (e.g., filet of fish with lemon sauce). So this is a little unusual - I wonder if it was a special request.

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