I love the few Yiddish words I know. They just pinpoint the very feeling there seems to be no English word for. Dean and I have exchanged some of what our grandparents have taught us. Here are our top five:
1. ALTER COCKER An old person, an old fart according to my Grandma.
2. CHAZEREI Food that is awful, junk or garbage. (make sure to really clear your throat with this Chaaa)
3. SCHMALTZY Excessively sentimental, gushing, flattering, over-the-top, corny. From shmaltz, which means chicken fat or grease.
4. PISHIN FROM THE OYGN It may be Yidglish but it’s my all time favorite. It means crying (pissing from the head). Quit pishn from the oygn, my Grandma used to say.
5. VERKLEMPT (pronounced fer-klempt) Overcome with emotion
As the Jewish holidays are quickly approaching, we’ll no doubt be throwing an extra oy in here and a vey there. This past weekend, I learned one of my husband’s grandmother’s famous recipes for kichel. Say it properly now, ki-chhhhhh (throat clear)- el. It’s a sweet cracker that you traditionally put herring (pardon me, but ick) on. I instead topped it off with a spicy Tunisian tomato dip (recipe to come some day if it’s owner will permit it).
Granny Frida’s Kichel
Makes 2 dozen