OP: The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World
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Broadway Books, 2000. Fine in Fine jacket. First printing.
Here is what we might be so bold as to call Mimi Sheraton’s most narratively engaging book. It is an adventure, really.
We follow the author on a quest to taste the bialy—that flat, round, chewy and crusty, onion- and poppy seed-topped Ashkenazi specialty—at its place of origin, Bialystok, Poland. Sheraton understands that the best of anything is always the taste of home: “All [breads are] very much alike in nutritional value, but bread is not bread alone. Apparently all émigrés long for the bread of their homelands, to nourish the psyche as well as the body.”
However, by 1992, when her research began, the city’s Jewish population was down to a mere five inhabitants, despite being the majority prior to WWI. And no one seemed to know much about the namesake bread. Sheraton’s research deadends in Poland but takes her around the world through the diaspora, and we are along for the ride. Delightful.Our copy is a first printing in Fine condition, including the dust jacket. Good reading.