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An Appetizing Array
Appetizing. You think you know what it means: tasty, enticing you to eat. But in the early 20th century, among the Eastern European Jewish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side, appetizing was more commonly used as a noun, referring to the delicious array of foods -- smoked fish, cream cheeses, cold salads -- that were traditionally eaten with bagels. Back then, there were upward of 30 "appetizing" stores in the neighborhood. Today, only one remains: Russ & Daughters.
The spread at Mark Russ Federman's Yom Kippur "break-fast" centers on bagels, cream cheese, a wide array of pickled and smoked fish, and all that goes with it.
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The Fourth Generation
In 2001, Mark passed the reins to the fourth generation of the Russ family to run the business, his daughter Niki and nephew Josh. Here, Niki and Josh arrive at Mark's home in Brooklyn with provisions from Russ & Daughters. The store ships nationwide.
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The Family that Fillets Together
Josh and Niki slice salmon and fillet a whitefish in Mark's kitchen in preparation for the family's break-fast meal.
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The Skill of the Artisan
Hand-slicing smoked salmon is a required skill for employees at Russ & Daughters. As Josh Russ Tupper demonstrates, each piece must be thin to the point of translucency.
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Choose Your Own Adventure
The family's favorite break-fast combos include Josh's toasted bialy with kippered salmon, tomato, pepper, and capers; Niki's bagel with scallion cream cheese, Nova, and French trout roe; and Mark's black bread with butter, sturgeon, and minced chives.
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Queens of Lake Sturgeon
A circa-1950 Russ & Daughters shopping bag that the writer Calvin Trillin, a longtime customer, saved and gave as a gift to Niki and Josh.
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No Better Bagel
Bagels are the cornerstone of "appetizing" cuisine. Russ & Daughters sells about 6,000 of them every week.
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School of Whitefish
Smoked whitefish are sold whole and filleted to make whitefish salad. Russ & Daughters' recipe is unique in that it also contains kippered salmon.
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The store sells about 10 varieties of domestic and imported caviar and roe -- including this French trout roe, which is crisp and sweet.
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From the Briny Deep
Half-sour pickles such as these are brighter green and milder than full sours -- both are still served straight from the barrel.
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Maria, Mark's wife, had the idea of baking leftover bagels into a bread pudding. It was such a hit that they now order extra bagels to make it.Get the Bagel Pudding with Prunes and Raisins Recipe
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A Sweet Finale
A selection of classic sweets from Russ and Daughters: chocolate and cinnamon babka, jelly rings, rugelach, black and white cookies, seven layer halvah, and dried fuit.
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Smoked and Cured Fish Glossary: Whitefish
Native to the Great Lakes, these freshwater fish are smoked and sold whole, filleted, or chopped to make a salad.
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Smoked and Cured Fish Glossary: Nova and Smoked Scottish Salmon
Short for Nova Scotia, this cold-smoked variety has a succulent texture and a mild flavor.
Smoked Scottish Salmon
Like Nova, it’s brined and cold-smoked over aromatic wood (Russ & Daughters uses apple and cherry). The difference: a smokier taste.
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Smoked and Cured Fish Glossary: Gravlax and Kippered Salmon
In this Scandinavian preparation, salmon is cured -- but not smoked -- and coated in a delicate brine of salt, sugar, and dill.
Sometimes called baked salmon, it’s hot-smoked, so -- while still moist -- it has a flakier, more “cooked” consistency than cold-smoked salmon.
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Smoked and Cured Fish Glossary: Sable, Sturgeon, and Peppered Mackerel
Black cod that’s been smoked and then dusted with paprika, it’s buttery in both flavor and texture.
It’s best known as the fish that gives us caviar, but its smoked flesh, boasting a sweet, earthy flavor, is also a delicacy.
Brined, coated in pepper, and hot-smoked, it has an intense smoky, salty, robust taste.
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