World’s Leading Knish Expert to Give Demo and Talk on Humble Jewish Soul Food at Valley Variety

Knish book jacket(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Laura Silver, the author of KNISH: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food, will discuss the humble Jewish pastry and lead participants in a cooking demo and knish-tasting at Valley Variety on Saturday, December 13, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:30pm.

After the disappearance of her beloved knish shop, Laura Silver, a journalist and native New Yorker, went in search of the roots of the humble pastry and her own family, which turn out to be more intertwined than she expected. KNISH (Brandeis University Press) is the chronicle of her seven-year, three-­continent quest.

With good humor and a hunger for history, Silver mined knish lore for stories of entrepreneurship, survival, and major deliciousness. Starting in New York, she tracked down heirs to several knish dynasties and discovered that her own family has roots in a Polish town named Knyszyn. Yes – her ancestors lived in the land of knish.

KNISH details the four hundred year culinary and cultural history of the edible pie. The book contains back stories of several famous and beloved New York City knish shops—Yonah Shimmel’s, Gabila’s, Shatzkin’s and Hirsch’s; a recipe for Mrs. Stahl’s potato knishes given to Silver by her granddaughters; and The Legend of the Knish, from Knyszyn, Poland, published in English for the first time.

The evening will be highlighted with a plentiful selection of knishes, soup and Mediterranean fare from Park Falafel (Hudson’s kosher restaurant) along with kosher wines thoughtfully provided by Hudson Wine Merchants. The event will be kosher-style.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Tickets are $30 per person. Space is limited. It is recommended to reserve in advance at Valley Variety or online at Valley Variety. Congregation Anshe Emeth is a co-sponsor of the event.


Laura Silver

Laura Silver


Laura Silver is an award­winning journalist whose writing on food and culture has appeared in the New York Times and the Forward and on NPR. She has been a writer in residence at the Millay Colony, the Banff Centre, and the New York Public Library.

Silver has received fellowships from the Lilly Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the New York Times Company Foundation and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, among others. She has delivered talks at international venues including the American Museum of Natural History, the Krakow Jewish Festival and TEDx.

In 2013, Laura was named the Barach Nonfiction Teaching Fellow at Wesleyan University’s Writers Conference. Laura has been profiled in Haaretz and quoted by international news outlets including Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Gazeta Wyborcza (Warsaw) and The Jewish Chronicle (London). Al-Jazeera America featured her in a segment about the knish crisis of 2013.

Silver earned an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College (where she studied with Allen Ginsberg), a B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has worked as an outreach worker to homeless people on the streets of New York, a United Nations tour guide and a sports correspondent at the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Laura has been on staff at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and UJA-Federation of New York and has taught writing at the City University of New York, the University of Virginia and in New York City public schools.

Yonah ShimmelsKnish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis University Press, May 2014) is Silver’s first book. Current projects include Nosh, a knish cookbook and conversation guide; The Lake Has Eyebrows, a children’s book and a one-woman show entitled “The Jewish Goodbye.”

Silver teaches “Jewish Food Through Song and Film” in the Department of Food Studies at the New School and is a research associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She lives in Brooklyn and is considered the world’s leading expert on the knish.



Valley Variety hosts chefs for product demos, cooking classes and special events in its kitchen. The Warren Street storefront also offers a thoughtful selection of products for everyday living, along with its own line of furniture, V2 Home Collection. In addition, a rotating exhibition of works by contemporary artists is displayed in its expansive and airy space. Hours: 11am-6pm; 7 days a week



Congregation Anshe Emeth is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Established in 1888, the Congregation was originally located in the historic city of Hudson, NY, on lower Warren Street. In 1968, the Congregation moved to its present facility in the Town of Greenport. The Synagogue ministers to a diverse population of interests and backgrounds. Religious services are egalitarian and contain both traditional as well as nontraditional elements. Their current spiritual leader, Rabbi Daniel Fried, has been with the Congregation since 1980.




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