Just Like Bubbie Used to Make

If your bubbie rocked the Whisky!

Nathan grew up in West Hollywood and I grew up in Orange County. Although we were less than 60 miles apart, we basically grew up on different planets. My semi-annual mecca to Melrose Avenue to shop at Vinyl Fetish and Retail Slut were the highlight of my high school years. While lucky Nathan lived and breathed the L.A. lifestyle I craved every day of the week, hanging out with future rock stars at Fairfax High School, serving Hollywood legends like Jimmy Stewart and Howard Cosell through his job at the Farmer’s Market, and ditching P.E. to make a mad dash for Canter’s delicatessen across the street.

When I first met him, he used to regale me with epic stories from his teenage years: the people he hung out with like Slash of Guns N’ Roses (as a high school student in Nathan’s class, he was Saul Hudson), Leisa Gabay, the gal who used to cut Nate’s hair and also styled the band’s hair on Appetite for Destruction (dig out your record people, it says so right on the label: Hair by Leisa). The stars he saw at Cantor’s deli and the food he ate there: matzo ball soup and potato knishes. Especially the food.

For years, he went on and on about the matzo ball soup and the potato knishes. And though he swore he didn’t miss them when he went vegan, his constant reminiscences betrayed the truth. And so when I perfected the Canter’s Matzo Ball soup recipe (which is available in our cookbook, All American Vegan), and served them with Klassic Knishes, I knew that he was mine forever. And although Klassic Knishes and my matzo ball soup don’t take me back to early years seeing shows at the Whisky, drinking beer on Mullholland Drive, hanging out with future rock stars or eating Jewish comfort foods at Canter’s Delicatessen like they do for Nathan; they do give me a little taste, almost thirty years later, of what I missed out on.

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