Schmaltzy Spotlight / Liz Alpern: How a Parisian pastry awakening led to modern Jewish baking
It all started in Paris. So many love stories begin that way, and so it was for Liz Alpern, the co-founder of Gefilteria in Brooklyn and co-author of the Gefilte Manifesto. A fateful pastry consumed on a sunny afternoon ended up being a gateway drug to home baking, challah-pimping, and a career in food. It happened on the third day of her study abroad program. Liz was lost in Montmartre and spoke almost no French. She stopped at a bakery, as one does in a crisis, and bought something sweet. With that first bite, “everything changed,” says Liz. “I was sitting there freaking out because it was so delicious. I didn’t even know what it was.” Once you’ve eaten something like that, Liz realized, you cannot look at the world the same way.
When Liz returned to Montreal to finish her undergrad, she discovered that her experience in Paris had spoiled her for life. Store-bought baked goods no longer met her standards. She had no choice but to make her own. She made challah on Shabbat, first for herself, then for her friends. On Thursdays, she and her crew would bake, and on Fridays, she’d hop on her bike and peddle the loaves to people in the neighborhood. This was the seed that led to a career in bringing quality back to Jewish food. Liz’s passion inspired her to riff on her favorite recipes. This knish is her take on the deli classic. But it’s so much better when you make it yourself.
Come hear Liz’s story—and taste her knishes—at the Schmaltzy storytelling event on March 7. Click here for tickets.