Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Side Bar 3

Posted on June 5th, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways

Side Bar: Benjamin Bober: “Milkmen them days, it wasn’t like today”

Miss the beginning? Start here.

Unidentified woman posing with milk can, c.1924. JMM 1998.47.7.1

Unidentified woman posing with milk can, c.1924. JMM 1998.47.7.1

“We landed on Ellis Island, and they brought us from there here to Baltimore…to my aunt.  And her husband then was a milkman.  And milkmen them days it wasn’t like today.  It was small milkmen that used to go around with milk – two cans and a little pint measure.  And you had your customers.  There was a lot of them milkmen around…. And then when I came, the first thing my uncle did was, he took me along with him…. Now when it came to Highlandtown there was already bigger milkmen.  There was milkmen that had maybe fifty cows or more.  And they used to deliver to these little milkmen….  Everybody, amongst the Jewish milk people, mostly all walked.  I think there was one had a horse and wagon….. I used to carry a can and a pint measure.  And whatever the woman wanted I would come in the house and give her whatever she wanted…. I didn’t get paid from my uncle.  I just used to help him…

See now, my mother at that time she had a little milk store.  And there was some in that neighborhood they used to come for milk and she would also sell butter….

I was in the fourth grade when my mother married a man that used to have a little farm…. On Johnnycake Road.  And that was a little Jewish settlement, [Yaazor]…. Now my stepfather, he tried to make a living from the farm itself.  He used to raise what he could, like tomatoes and corn.  And he used to have a couple of cows.  They used to make cream and cheese…. Now later on, when I got older…stepfather allowed me to have cows.  And…my mother helped and I used to also make cream cheese and butter.  I used to come in town and I had my customers,….

And then I had a cousin that had a store in the city, a little dry goods store and…I used to take care of that little store…. it was easier for her to have somebody to look after the store while she was…in the house, she didn’t have to run back and forth….

I bought a great big farm with a hundred and seventy acres [on Old Annapolis Road].  And…course I had people working for us…. That was a different farm altogether.  That was a gentlemen’s farm…. And the men used to work on the farm.  The women used to do the picking….. And…we farmed in nineteen-twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two.  I think three years we farmed it…. I had a grocery store before I bought the farm.  I had a grocery store on Monroe Street.  That was during the war.  And the troops came out, and I had the flu, I was very sick.  A lot of people died.  When I came out I just wanted to get out…and that’s how this farm was advertised.  And we went and looked at it and we got together and we bought it.  We didn’t have enough money, we had to borrow money, get mortgages on the farm…. we used to send loads of stuff in.  To Marsh Market and they used to sell it…. Now when I bought the farm there was also a lot of cows.  I’d also run the dairy then…we used to sell the milk [to]…Snesil Dairy…. And then we used to raise a lot of vegetables, like we used to have mules and big wagons, we used to send them in to the wholesale market….

Then, we left the farm, and I went, went back to the grocery business.  And my partner was a baker and he went back to the bakery business…. I held onto the farm for about forty years…. I owned it.  And I, I had this farmer that used to farm it….”

~Excerpted from Oral History 161, Benjamin Bober July 29, 1982

Continue to Side Bar: Gordon Salganik: “People in Washington didn’t know what to do with a brisket”

 

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Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Side Bar 2

Posted on May 29th, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways – this sidebar was not included in the original print publication.

Side Bar: Gustav Brunn: “I thought I could make a better seasoning”

Miss the beginning? Start here.

White glass bottle of Old Bay brand Beef Flavor, c. 1950-1955. JMM 1993.59.130

White glass bottle of Old Bay brand Beef Flavor, c. 1950-1955. JMM 1993.59.130

“My first job, I was an apprentice…in a leather business.  [Then] I bought an old company in Germany…they had rawhides, a big outfit, and quite a number of employees.  I took that one over.  They had rawhide and furs, and besides that, they had a spice business, but in a very small way.  After that, the rawhide and fur business was not good, not much profit, so I built my spice business up.  In former years, I had only pure spices.  Then later I started out and made ready seasonings…for a special purpose.

My first job in America was in the sausage factory.  You heard the name Salganik?  He had a sausage factory on Lombard Street.  I tried to get a job here with a spice company, McCormick Company.  I was working there, but his chemist wasn’t much interested.  I didn’t talk enough English, my English was very bad at that time.  I was there, I believe two days or so, three days, and then when he said you don’t understand English, then he wanted to fire me.

Then I rented the second floor down on Market Place, across the street from the wholesale fish market, a cheap price on it, and I started out to install this little metal [grinder]….  First of all, then I didn’t know anything about here, what to grind, what to make.  So I went from one wholesale grocer to another, then I came to B. Green & Company [a local Jewish-owned business], existing today as a wholesale grocer on a much larger scale.  Old Bennie Green of B. Green & Company was very nice to me, and he showed me – I asked what spice sold here, I didn’t know anything about the American spice business.  So he showed me packing pepper, ten pound boxes, and in pails, 30 pound pails.  He gave me information, what he has to pay for, what they are buying on spices.

Crab pin, promotion from National Brewing. JMM 2007.54.16

Crab pin, promotion from National Brewing. JMM 2007.54.16

I thought I could make a better seasoning for the seafood people….I started to mix it and improved it and improved it more, and so when our product was ready for selling, I would go over in the wholesale fish market across the street from where I started out and I wanted to sell already seasoning to these people.  Oh, no, they didn’t buy the seasoning, they have the best shrimp and crabs in the city, and they had their own secret recipes, everybody, and they wouldn’t buy it….So finally, I got a man a few weeks later, a seafood wholesaler around the corner there on Water Street, and I talked him in, he should take five or ten pounds….And this man’s business increased with it.  You see they liked it, when he sold his crabs they liked it a whole lot better than the others….so I got one customer after another.  And these seafood men here in the city and in the whole area must have it today.”

~Excerpted from Oral History 112 Gustav and Ralph Brunn May 7, 1980

Continue to Side Bar: Benjamin Bober: “Milkmen them days, it wasn’t like today”

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Family Fare: Baltimore Jewish Food Businesses Side Bar 1

Posted on May 29th, 2017 by

Article by Jennifer Vess. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways

Side Bar: The Bluefeld Catering Story: “People came from all around”

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Bessie Bluefeld, February 23, 1941. JMM 2012.10.1

Bessie Bluefeld, February 23, 1941. JMM 2012.10.1

“The Progressive Lodge had a shore where, during the summer, the members were allowed to go…on the weekend – it was on the Magothy River…. So in 1936, my mother was awarded the concession.  She paid $1200.00 for the privilege of having the little stand at the shore….

We opened…on Sundays only during the summer months…. The concession was a soda concession with limited foods…. On Sunday morning, early, we would pick up hot dogs, European Kosher hot dogs…from Slaters…. We would pick up the rolls from Crystal Bakery next door, we would pick up the ice cream packed in dry ice from Hendler’s.  My mother would have been down the shore for a couple days prior, she would have gotten meats earlier…she used to buy meats from Posner.  On Wednesday, she would get kishke; Sam Posner made sure she had the best kishke…She would have konkletten – the hamburger of today was the konkletten of then, it was delicious.  Corn – she used to prepare a few days for these things.  She used to make, maybe, a hot dish.  It was all simple servings, but she embellished it.  Rather than just being hot dogs and hamburgers and grease, she already embellished it with a little bit of ‘tam.’ A little bit of taste….  People came from all around….

There were organizations in this Order that would then have outings…That summer, by the time we got to August, we were already catering, without knowing the word ‘catering….’ They would say, ‘We are going to have fifty women coming down on an outing;’ and rather than everybody taking their own baskets, which was the trend…she arranged with these organization for $1 a plate, a Wednesday lunch.

Receipt, Bluefeld Caterer for Mr. & Mrs. M. [Meyer] Cardin for the Bar Mitzvah of Howard Cardin, July 10, 1954 held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. JMM 2007.3.4

Receipt, Bluefeld Caterer for Mr. & Mrs. M. [Meyer] Cardin for the Bar Mitzvah of Howard Cardin, July 10, 1954 held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. JMM 2007.3.4

A Mrs. Spector, who lived on South Charles Street….said to Mrs. Bluefeld that her daughter was going to be married in October at Workmen’s Circle Hall on Baltimore Street, and she would like for her to cater her daughter’s wedding.  And my mother said, “Well, I don’t know how to cater any weddings.  This is what I do.”…. Mrs. Spector said, “You’ll do it; you’ll do it nice.” And my mother said, “Okay, fine” [Bessie Bluefeld] was our charm, she was our mentor, she was the one who had all the foresight.  What we did years after was only a matter of doing what she had planned.  She had set the guide rules of what our business was to be, the adding the dignity that catering was beautiful, that the responsibility was on us to do a good job for the people.”

~Excerpted from Oral History 75, Louis and Philip Bluefeld, August 6, 1979

Continue to Side Bar: Gustav Brunn: “I thought I could make a better seasoning”

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