New Yorkers are a lucky bunch when it comes to Jewish foods, both of the old guard and the new. Despite dire warnings, Jewish food is alive and well, in no small part thanks to a younger generation paying homage to time-honored traditions and introducing them to a new audience.

Two such individuals are Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern, co-founders of The Gefilteria, who started out with the goal to preserve a cuisine they feared would die out as grandparents and parents aged. They began, of course, with gefilte fish, hoping to introduce the dish to new diners, and have since expanded their aspirations to all kinds of old world Jewish foods. Their quest has since spawned a book, The Gefilte Manifesto, tours across the country giving talks and demos, and pop-up dinners that explore the history, impact and enduring legacy of Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

With that in mind, we asked Yoskowitz and Alpern to take us through one of the fundamental ingredients in Jewish cuisine: schmaltz, or rendered poultry fat, and some of the delicious by-products like gribenes—which Yoskowitz jokingly compares to "Jewish pork rinds"—and chopped liver pate that you can make through its creation.


(Video by Jessica Leibowitz)

Recreating these recipes should be pretty simple, even for a novice cook. Yoskowitz and Alpern recommend saving up raw chicken skin and fat scraps and stashing them in your freezer 'til you have enough (8 ounces) to make one batch of schmaltz. You can also ask your local butcher shop if they sell leftover bites after they've trimmed their birds.

For the demonstration above, the duo used the skins to make the schmaltz so that they'd have byproduct leftover to make the gribenes. But you can also use straight fat to render down and make your schmaltz.

If you're not ready to make your own vat of liquid gold and crunchy gribenes treatsm head over to the new Williamsburg Whole Foods, where their Jewish delicatessen-inspired N4 restaurant is serving gribenes in an appetizer with smoked sea salt and caramelized onion dip and in a GLT sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo on marbled rye. Mile End Deli also employs gribenes in its chopped liver, which is served with toast slathered in schmaltz.

Of course, you'll also find it on the menu of most Jewish delis worth their schmaltz.

Check out the recipe excerpts from The Gefilte Manifesto below and pick up their book for more great old world Jewish food recipes.

Schmaltz and Gribenes recipe by Nell Casey on Scribd

Schmaltz and Gribenes recipe 2 by Nell Casey on Scribd

Chopped Liver Pate recipe by Nell Casey on Scribd

Chopped Liver Pate recipe by Nell Casey on Scribd