I grew up knowing the fragrant aromas of freshly baked cakes, nutty cookies, jam filled pastries and whole grain bread. My grandfather was a baker by trade. He came to NYC from Poland, in his late teens.
In a tiny village in Poland, his step father contracted a master baker to house him and train him in all aspects of baking. After two years of horribly long hours and searingly hot servitude, he ran away but was tracked down and forced to return to finish out the terms of his apprenticeship contract. On his second attempt, he succeeded in making his way to a ship bound for Ellis Island.
He found some mishpuha (relatives) on the Lower East Side and sent for his beautiful and oh so sweet step sister, whom he then married in NYC. He made a living as a baker for the rest of his life. My grandmother, his step sister (yes, you guessed correctly), was a superior home baker of all things parave (non-dairy).
I remember them visiting our home every Sunday, toting both glossy, cardboard bakery boxes secured with twine and a second parcel of home baked, parave treats to enjoy after our meat meals. Calories be damned. We never gave it a thought and everyone lived long, healthy lives. Continue reading