Good news for the Ashkenazi

One of the joys of my childhood was bagels, cream cheese, onions, and lox on Sunday morning, with fresh bagels from Silber’s (a Northwest Baltimore institution long since closed).

Bagels, of course, are now largely unavailable, though toroidal pillows called bagels are ubiquitous. I am not the only one to have noted, and mourned, their passing: when you’d eaten a real bagel, you knew you’d been in a fight.

By contrast, the disappearance of lox has not been widely commented on. Real Jewish lox (not, properly speaking, “smoked salmon” — lox is cured by a process different from smoking) is salty, fishy, and oily. It’s sometimes called “belly lox” to distinguish it from the much milder and more expensive “Nova”: Nova Scotia cold-cured salmon.

Now I have no ethical objection to Nova, but it seems to me a bad compromise between honest belly lox and the lovely, delicate flavor of gravlax. Actually, maybe I do have an ethical objection: I suspect Jews who eat Nova, especially if they call it “smoked salmon,” of “flattering themselves with contrarieties of pleasure,” trying to be yiddish and goyish simultaneously.

Anyway, belly lox is even harder to find than real bagels.

So here’s the good news: the Farmer’s Ranch Market where I get my produce — a market which I think is owned by Russian Jews — has something called “cold-smoked steelhead,” which seems to be a very close substitute for belly lox, and costs $5 a pound. So if you’re in LA, and jonesing for belly lox, your troubles are over. If not, check in your area for cold-smoked steelhead.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Good news for the Ashkenazi”

  1. Bagels and Lox on a Sunday Morning…

    In New York, of course, there are few places you can get a decent bagel, and edible lox is even harder to find. One-stop shopping does not exist, and the closest you can get to it is 80th and Broadway, where you can get hot H&H on the south corner and…

  2. Lucky for Mark I'm here….

    Mark Kleiman bemoans the death of the REAL bagel, but lucky for him I'm around. The poor shmoe of course lives in LA, which every good Ashkenazi knows is NO place to comment reasonably about the state of Jewish cuisine….

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