Knish, recipes below (image from horinca.blogspot.com
NHL labor dispute is over and the games will be back on TV caused me to reflect
on when I started watching hockey games in the 1970s during the height of Boston
Bruin Hall of Famer Bobby Orr’s playing career (1966 to 1978). Orr sparked my
short lived hockey career which led to many hours and meals in hockey rinks in
and around Metropolitan New York. Most of the hockey rinks I frequented catered to the
culinary taste and habits of the Jewish influenced communities in the metro New
York area. The snack bars at the small rinks stocked traditional U. S. stadium food—burgers,
hot dogs, fries, large pretzels (served with coarse salt and eaten with
mustard), candy bars, and soda. But many of them sold potato knishes. Introduced
to New York by Jewish immigrants at the turn-of-the-century, a knish is a seasoned
potato puree inside a golden colored crust.
Like Caribbean patties, and Argentinian empanadas, knishes are a great
carryout food. Today I have a very eclectic palate much of it shaped during my hockey
playing days in metro New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Fred Opie is a Professor History and Foodways at Babson College and a contributor on the radio show The Splendid Table. His latest book is Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food. Hurston did for Florida what William Faulkner did for Mississippi—provided insights into a state’s culture. The book is an essential read for lovers of history, cooking, and eating. For more on Fred Opie visit http://www.fredopie.com