The Molly Goldberg Cookbook – How To Make Kishke

If you are over the age of 65, or are a student of pre-television American radio, you probably know who Molly Goldberg was. But since it is statistically likely that you are neither, allow us to explain.

Molly Goldberg was a fictional character who began her life as the stereotypical Jewish mother on a radio program called The Goldbergs. The show was broadcast from 1928 until 1946, then moved to television and was aired in various versions until 1956.

Even back then, merchandise tie-ins were the norm. And what better way to merchandise a meddlesome Jewish mother than with a cookbook?

Sy Ginsberg is the owner of “The Molly Goldberg Cookbook”, copyright 1955. It was inherited from his mother Faney, who began her working life as a deli waitress and cook.













As you can see, this book is very well used, because it contains recipes for what is basically the entire traditional Ashkenazi Jewish diet. At one time, most of these dishes were as common at any Jewish deli as corned beef and challa.

Sadly, those Jewish delis that remain today have removed many of their traditional Jewish dishes for a variety of reasons, such as lack of consumer demand, high food costs, and labor intensive preparation.

Because we hate to see these traditional Jewish foods fade into historical oddities, we have decided to post some recipes from The Molly Goldberg Cookbook from time to time, hoping to encourage people to see what they are missing. Here’s the first.

Kishke (Stuffed Derma or Casing)

  • 1 beef casing (12-15 inches long)
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3 Ts matzo meal
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup + 4 Ts melted shortening
  • 2 onions, sliced
Wash the derma thoroughly in cold water, scrape the inside, and then wash again in warm water. Dry. Sew one end of the derma to close.
Mix the flour, matzo meal, salt, pepper, paprika, and grated onion together. Add the 1/2 cup of melted shortening and mix well. Stuff the derma lightly with the mixture and sew the open end.  Place in boiling water for 2 minutes then removed carefully.
Place the 4 tablespoons of shortening and the sliced onions in a baking dish. Place the stuffed derma on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours, basting frequently. Remove and slice about 3/4 inch pieces and serve hot with meat or poultry.
Note – many of the terms in the cookbook have been Anglicized for a non-Jewish audience. So no comments about how a real Jewish recipe would call for schmaltz and not “melted shortening”. :-)
Do you know of a deli or other Jewish restaurant that still makes and sells great kishke? We would love to hear about it in the comments.




2 thoughts on “The Molly Goldberg Cookbook – How To Make Kishke

  1. Every Jewish deli in the great Canadian city of Toronto will serve you a plate of Kishka in natural beef casing (with real beef gravy) just like the old days back here in the US. I asked the knowledgable owner of Ben’s Best Deli in Rego Park Queens NY why it is not available & he said you can not buy USDA approved beef casings anymore. His deli is one of the few places left that serve real rolled beef that is tied with actual twine (aka Jewish deli floss). It makes a great sandwich. You can’t get that too many places these days.

    • Steve, Ben’s Best is a KOSHER deli, and it is absolutely true that it is impossible to get kosher beef casings in the US any more. BUT – non-kosher beef casings are still readily available here in the USA – we used to sell them for one of our deli customers in Michigan that still makes kishka in their kitchen. It is just one of those old-fashioned (and fattening!) products that customers don’t seem to want much of any longer. Pity.

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