“There You Have It!”

Pies, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Nashville, Tennessee.

For decades I’ve been following a “kamish broit” recipe I got from an ex-husband’s step-mother, Sarah Lohman. (Got that?) These walnut biscotti are delicious and ridiculously easy to make. So, Friday, company expected and running late, I automatically pulled out Sarah’s recipe.

Sarah, I suddenly thought, grinding a half a cup of walnuts in my mini-cuisinart. (Which, with a couple of taps of my index finger, reduces the nuts almost to a paste—although her recipe merely calls for “chopped walnuts.”) Who was she?  When I was married to her stepson, I never once asked her anything about herself; in my self-involved twenties, I wasn’t interested.

I am, now. A Google search produced a skimpy outline. Her maiden name: Axelrod. Her birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine.  The whiff of a story: At age nine months, she and her mother, Ida, arrived in Quebec on June 2, 1907, and moved on to Toronto. (I’d actually remembered she’d grown up in “Canada.” Period. Canada.)   And a picture:

So many questions I’d love to ask her. Did your father, Abraham, join you and your mother? (Well, she had two sisters so maybe he did?) Did you experience anti-semitism in Toronto? Tell me about that hat you’re wearing in this picture; what you’re wearing around your neck! What brought you to New York City and The New York Times? (Where she met and married Sidney, my ex father-in-law.)

But here’s another discovery unearthed by keywords and links: The words kamish broit tell another story. After the Diaspora, after years of migration, Jews who found themselves in Italy learned about twice-baked/biscotti. Subsequently, Jews in Eastern Europe made mandel broit or “almond bread”; Jews in the Ukraine made kamish broit or “rushed bread”—but it’s the same recipe! (Well, okay, as you can probably guess, mandel broit is usually made from almonds. Which I will certainly try the next time I’m rushing and company’s coming!)

So when Sarah served kamish broit every time my ex and I visited, she replicated a regional recipe from a country she never knew. I find that strangely touching. And other Jews now in the New World are making basically the same, well-traveled mandel/kamish recipe. (There are many such recipes on the Internet: word for word, Sarah’s follows.)

So when I next dip a kamish broit into milk or coffee, I will both thank Sarah Axelrod Lohman—whose parents’ names I now know—and consider the long journey that biscotti has taken!

Kamish Broit

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups sifted flour

Combine ingredients in order given—flour last. Divide into two loaves [meaning two round, patted-down mounds about a quarter-inch thick each] and bake on cookie sheet in 350 degree over for about 25-30 minutes. Light brown color. Remove, slice while hot [meaning quarter-inch slices, top to bottom. You could make an equator slice, too, but my family likes their kamish broit long.] Put back into hot oven (turned off at this point.) for about 15 minutes. There you have it!



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    FYI- my sister (I only have one of those as well as 3 bro’s), got ‘ancestry’ as a Christmas present and just got back the results. GRANTED, we KNOW we don’t have exactly the same DNA, but she found out that she’s 34% Askenazi Jewish! WHO KNEW? My mother was adopted and we don’t know much about her birth parents (she tried unsuccessfully for years to find out). I think that makes sense to me since I’ve always felt such affinity to Jewish people (Arabs too– given my 2 1/2 years in Egypt and 6 months in India where I had pretty significant relationships with Muslim men). Anyway, l live with Beth (jewish), my best friend who I talk with every day in California is a converted Jew (in her teens!), and have had MANY MANY Jewish friends over the years.

    Makes me want to do ’23 & Me’ or some such ancestry test, although I’d rather pay a little more and get more complete information — some of what she got sounded a little ‘vague’ like – 24% Southern European (my mother knew she was at least part Italian….but those countries ‘way back’ when didn’t have borders as we know them today….)

    More at some point….

  2. Dear Diana,

    Well, hello, there, Diana! WOW, I so enjoyed reading your great post above-it is very interesting! Diana, a few years ago I had my DNA sample tested through 23 and Me. I just so love the great service they provide but I wonder if some of the other DNA services provide even more information because my results from 23 and Me seemed to be more general. I am a black woman and it said that I’m 12% European but the results didn’t narrow down all of the countries from which my European ancestry came but only some of the countries. I still really like 23 and Me, though. Diana, I can so relate to what you shared about having an affinity for the beautiful Jewish people! I, too, have such a deep and special love for the wonderful Jewish people! I am a very liberal, progressive, open-minded Christian woman. WOW, Diana, I thank-YOU so, so much for your superb post above-it made for spectacular reading and such blessedly immense food for thought!

    Blessings Always,

    Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

  3. Dear Patricia,

    Well, hi, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you AND TO VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my awesomely precious and dearly special FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, Patricia, what a fantastically fun-filled, fantabulous, so chock full of such interesting and fascinating blog post article this is here by absolutely AWESOME YOU, sistah!!!! WOW!!!!! What a sheer and blessed joy and such a delight for me and for all of us to very eagerly read with such sharp and keen interest about your former mother-in-law!!!! WOW!!!! I so enjoyed reading all about this amazing woman and her family of origin! What a great read this is here about her and with all of this remarkable blog post article all in all in its great entirety, sistahfriend!!!!!! She is such a vision of loveliness in her picture! I love learning of her awesome Jewish heritage and ancestry and wow, was it very interesting and fascinating to learn about her dear parents and the rest of her family of origin and the very courageous move to the beloved United States of America. What a super woman this was with such a pretty name-Sarah Lohman. WOW!!!! Sarah sounds like such a fine woman with a very interesting story to tell! Sister, I love your very engaging and endearing attention to detail as you wonder why she was wearing that hat in her gorgeous picture or what was she wearing around her neck. I think for sure as well that Sarah and her dearest family very much indeed faced, endured, and experienced anti-Semitism which is just absolutely infuriating and appalling!!!!! WOW, I love reading about the beautiful Jewish Diaspora!!!! WOW, Patricia, I thank-YOU for how you've once again as usual as always very graciously and generously feature and include such empowering and informative links to a vast wealth of information and resources with your very powerful blog post articles!!!!! Sisterfriend, oh how I so love when you provide numerous splendid links with your very salient and succinct blog post articles!!!! WOW, I thank-YOU so, so much for all of these very fitting and applicable links here and with your other awesome blog post articles. WOW, I thank-YOU as well for sharing with all of us this very yummy, delectable, and delicious "kamish broit" recipe which you very pleasantly received from astounding Sarah! WOW! WOW, did my mouth water as I happily read all of your wondrously vivid details about this super biscotti treat, Patricia!!!!! I always learn something great and new from you and now I have yet another tasty recipe to follow to make this magnificent "kamish broit!" WOW!!!!! It was so nice as well to read about how once Sarah was in the U.S. that she had met Sydney, your former father-in-law.

    Sisterfriend, I just so love all of these outstanding pictures perfectly accompanying this riveting blog post article here. As I looked at the first picture with the yummy, delicious, and delectable-looking sweet pies I wanted to take a bite of this tasty-looking picture and start eating!!!!! 🙂 Looking at the wonderful pictures of the food at the all-star and top-notch Arnold's Country Kitchen my mouth continued to water and I just wanted to grab my fork and put in through my computer screen and start some good eating, Patricia, sisterfriend of mine!!!!! 🙂 WOW, what picture-perfect pictures all in all which are perfectly fitting and applicable to the great themes and topics of this food for thought article! How aptly do these pictures complement this full of such brilliant ideas blog post article here to perfection, sistahfriend!!!!! 🙂 <3 The title of this very stupendous blog post article full of such radiance is perfect, just absolutely perfect here as you are really delivering to all of us all of this so chock full of such information blog post article as you say so wonderfully, "There you have it." WOW, I had such fun reading this sharp blog post article full of such descriptive clarity and what a joy and blessing to not only read this fine piece of writing but also to very joyfully respond with all of my very heartfelt, detailed, and thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments, my so, so very dear, dearest, precious Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Sister, I sometimes struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep with nagging insomnia so I thought that I'd feel better writing to you and your awesome blog rather than continuing to toss and turn to no avail!!!!!! UGH!!!!! Sisterfriend, I thank-YOU and Spirit continually FOR YOU and FOR YOUR VERY PRESENCE IN MY VERY LIFE!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!! YAY for our very sistahhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! Sistah, you are my very life's and eternal blessings just as I know that you are as well for very, very many other folks with I, and we, just all so, so very much loving and cherishing you just as I, and we, know that you love and cherish us right back at us!!!!! Patricia, Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU A WHOLE LOT AND SO DO I A WHOLE LOT AND A WHOLE BUNCH, TOO!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU ARE such a joy and blessing, my so, so very dearest and darling friend, Patricia, and such the very, very epitome of such overall awesomeness!!!!! 🙂 <By the time you read this it will be Saturday so please have such a superbly super Saturday, a wondrously wonderful weekend, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 YOU bless ME and all of us so with your radiance and brilliance as YOU ARE such a good woman of God, a good woman of such faith and Faith, and of such spirit and Spirit, Patricia!!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely FOR ALWAYS my awesomely special and dearly precious FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you're FOR ALWAYS SO, SO VERY MUCH, Patricia, sisterfriend of mine, with My and Spirit's VERY PEACE AND LOVE FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, sister of mine, AND with SUCH BLESSINGS AND SUCH VERY EVEN MORE BLESSINGS FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, 🙂 <3

    YOURS FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian black woman AND FOR ALWAYS IN THE VERY GREAT SPIRIT OF UNITY AND SOLIDARITY, Sherry Gordon Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

  4. Thanks for this! I am going to have to try Sarah’s universal recipe with almonds.

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