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When Dad Wanted Sorrel Soup

Coming from Riga, Latvia and missing his homeland my dad wanted to be able to enjoy the foods he was used to in his country. One of those was Sorrel Soup. Sorrel is a leafy spinach-like plant and the leaves are rather tart. In Latvian, it is called Skabene and soup made with these leaves is very popular. The soup can be eaten hot or cold. When eaten hot it usually includes some meat and an added spoon of sour cream.

Anyway when I was little Sundays were still Sundays meaning that all of the neighborhood stores in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York were closed. It was quiet and people went to church and took quiet Sunday walks. Just as I referred to it in my post about Sundays. It was then that my dad discovered that in the Jewish neighborhood next to ours the stores were open. It was a different religion and different traditions. That was all dad needed to know because he had discovered that Jewish people were fond of Sorrel.

So, on the occasional Sunday when dad wanted Sorrel Soup off we all went mom, dad and me to buy fresh Sorrel. The man who owned the vegetable and grocery store in which dad finally chose to buy Sorrel became fast friends with him. From that first Sunday to the last time dad went there he was greeted with a wide smile and the greeting, “Welcome my Christian friend!” Dad loved people and he made friends quickly and they always had a chat before the purchase was made and a handshake as we left.

Sometime later dad also discovered great Jewish deli and we became a Christian family with such wonderful and tasty food as gefilte fish, and deli lunches with pastrami and corned beef. I loved helping dad fish out homemade pickles from the large pickle barrels in the deli. One of the most wonderful things was getting warm bagels from a nearby deli and having them with cream cheese and lox. After dad died when I was just ten it would figure that my first boyfriend in high school just happened to be Jewish. I remember lots of walks from school with him stopping to pick up hot knishes from the wagons on the streets.

  • Question of

    Have you ever had Sorrel Soup?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you enjoy some of the deli foods I mentioned?

    • Yes
    • No

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  1. when I was doing my first project in NYC, we wandered to Carnegie Deli (probably five years before it closed) I took my kids there when they came to hang out on Spring Break (vacation for them work for me). The twins died when they saw the cheese cake!

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