Classic Takeout: Russ & Daughters

Inside the new Russ & Daughters book

Russ & Daughters is the house that herring built, and we want to dwell in the shadow of its deliciousness all the days of our life.

With the release of Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes From the House That Herring Built ($26), Mark Russ Federman tells the story of his immigrant family's journey from a herring pushcart in 1907 to running the New York landmark today.

Ferociously hardworking, four generations of the Russ family have operated the store through the Great Depression, World War II's food rationing and the Lower East Side's present-day renaissance.

Whether you are more into sturgeon or sable, babka or rugelach, the book lays out how saturated with meaning and memories this store, with its "singular scent–smoky, briny, yeasty and sweet," is for so many.

In the foreword, Calvin Trillin gives a shout-out to Herman Vargas, "the rare Yiddish-speaking Dominican [who can slice fish] thin enough to read the New York Times through."

The book is peppered with recipes for bagel chips, blintzes and strudel–enough to get any schmuck in the mind for a nosh. Reading it is the best reminder there is to give sincere thanks for this institution, and to schlep your tuches on down to the Lower East Side for some provisions.