Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can’t Stop Eating It

“Rhapsody in Schmaltz” is a wonderful love letter to Yiddish food – and anytime anything ethnically Yiddish is involved, it’s always a fun look at the language, too.

Wex recounts all the tasty Yiddish food out there – and all the rest, too. From chicken soup to matzoh to bagels and everything else, we get the story of all the food, from its creation to its current manifestation.


The story of Yiddish food is also the story of the Jewish people around the world. Most of it is from the Ashenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, but the other Jewish ethnicities and their foods are brought in.

A lot of the food isn’t so much Jewish as Eastern European – German and Russian, mostly.

And it is all covered in schmaltz – chicken fat, which is the most Yiddish food of all.

This is a fun look at food, history and language. Worth it.

I received this book for review.


Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

How Benedict Arnold went from Revolutionary hero to treacherous turncoat – and how it all was uncovered by accident – is the ultimate subject of “Valiant Ambition.”

But there is more to this story. How George Washington was more a symbol of leadership during the war than an actual military leader, and the deep sectional divides as the war dragged on.


Philbrick makes the case that the American public had grown tired of the war and would have failed or given in if not for Arnold’s attempted betrayal. That galvanized the public, and the war reached a new phase.

This treatment pulls in more characters and events, and closes with Arnold’s defection and the war continuing. The ending felt to me like the set up for Episode 2.

I’ll read it.

I received this book for review.