Russ & Daughters is one of the
last remaining appetizing shops
left in New York City, or anywhere
in the country, for that matter.
When he opened it in 1914, Joel Russ called his store ''Russ's Cut Rate Appetizers.'' What’s behind
WHAT IS APPETIZING?
“Appetizing,” as a noun, is a Jewish food tradition that is most typical among American Jews, and it is particularly local to New York and New Yorkers. The word “appetizer” is derived from the Latin “appete,” meaning "to desire, covet, or long for.” Used as a noun, “appetizing” is most easily understood as "the foods one eats with bagels.” Its primary components are a variety of smoked and cured salmon, homemade salads, and cream cheeses.
Eastern European Jews started meals with cold appetizers, known in Yiddish as the “forshpayz.” In New York, the popularity of forshpayzn among Eastern European Jewish immigrants led to the creation of the institution known as the appetizing store.
Appetizing also originated from Jewish dietary laws, which dictate that meat and dairy products cannot be eaten or sold together. As a result, two different types of stores sprang up in order to cater to the Jewish population. Stores selling cured and pickled meats became known as delicatessens, while shops that sold fish and dairy products became appetizing stores.
In New York City, until the 1960’s, there were appetizing stores in every borough and in almost every neighborhood. On the Lower East Side alone there were, at one point, thirty appetizing shops. Though one of the last of its kind, Russ & Daughters is committed to preserving and promoting this important food culture. So, now that you know, please don’t call us a deli!
The dictionary definition of “appetizing” as an adjective is: “appealing to the appetite especially in appearance or aroma; also, appealing to one's taste.” And that applies to Russ & Daughters as well.
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