Russ & Daughters by Mark Russ Federman
Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built

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Mark Federman's life as revealed here can hardly be reduced to a set of impersonal abstractions, but if philosophers are willing to settle for a case in point rather than a developed theory, let them read his marvelous book.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

WITH 8 PAGES OF FULL-COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS AND BLACK-AND-WHITE IMAGES THROUGHOUT

The former owner/proprietor of the beloved appetizing store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side tells the delightful, mouthwatering story of an immigrant family’s journey from a pushcart in 1907 to “New York’s most hallowed shrine to the miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring, and silken chopped liver” (The New York Times Magazine).
 
When Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel shortly after his arrival in America from Poland, he could not have imagined that he was giving birth to a gastronomic legend. Here is the story of this “Louvre of lox” (The Sunday Times, London): its humble beginnings, the struggle to keep it going during the Great Depression, the food rationing of World War II, the passing of the torch to the next generation as the flight from the Lower East Side was beginning, the heartbreaking years of neighborhood blight, and the almost miraculous renaissance of an area from which hundreds of other family-owned stores had fled.
 
Filled with delightful anecdotes about how a ferociously hardworking family turned a passion for selling perfectly smoked and pickled fish into an institution with a devoted national clientele, Mark Russ Federman’s reminiscences combine a heartwarming and triumphant immigrant saga with a panoramic history of twentieth-century New York, a meditation on the creation and selling of gourmet food by a family that has mastered this art, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at four generations of people who are just a little bit crazy on the subject of fish.

Color photographs © Matthew Hranek




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Mark Russ Federman

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Mark Russ Federman, grandson of founder Joel Russ, took over the running of Russ & Daughters from his parents in 1978 and turned it over to the fourth generation, his daughter, Niki, and nephew Josh, in 2009. He has appeared individually and on panels at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, and the conference of the Association of Food Journalists, among other venues. Mark and Russ & Daughters were most recently featured on the PBS documentary The Jews of New York; on Lidia Bastianich's PBS series Lidia Celebrates America; and on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.
 
Published March 5, 2013 by Schocken. 226 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Cooking, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Russ & Daughters
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Feb 28 2013

“Russ & Daughters” is a good story well told, packed with zinging Yiddishisms and better-than-average jokes that bubble up organically. You soak in it, like a brine, until you’re pleasantly pickled.

Read Full Review of Russ & Daughters: Reflections... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Jason Epstein on Mar 01 2013

Mark Federman's life as revealed here can hardly be reduced to a set of impersonal abstractions, but if philosophers are willing to settle for a case in point rather than a developed theory, let them read his marvelous book.

Read Full Review of Russ & Daughters: Reflections... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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