I think the only good thing that came out of my recent trip to Far Rockaway to visit the old man and fulfill my obligation to kivud av, was the kiddushim I got to take part in. Far Rockaway isn’t really a foodie paradise, but the kiddushim are good old fun. Like all New Yorkers, Far Rockaway residents are rude and pushy when it comes to kiddush and I like that. There’s nothing like elbowing your way into the crowd only to see that once you get there it’s an absolute free for all.
I do need to give a yasher koach to the White Shul for having a truly good selection of herring. Cream sauce, wine sauce, salmon in cream sauce and something else I could not put my finger on – graced the long tables in their sukkah on shmini atzeres. My father claims to like the way the Rabbi speaks, but I think for him it’s all about the food. They have good herring and decent booze, all of which takes about 10 minutes to run out.
I suggest to go armed with a good sturdy fork, because if you want to actually get herring, you need to pick it out while others are doing the same. Dozens of people, young and old, men and women, could be scene digging through the onions to get to their herring. It was rather gross to me, but within 5 minutes I had shed my Californian sensibilities and was able to be just as nasty and rude as the other kiddush goers. I hogged crackers, because the cracker to herring ration is very small and I stole crackers from people who left their plate for a minute to say good yuntiff to someone.
Toward the end of the kiddush, about 10 minutes in, the place looked like a hurricane had whipped through it. Plates and dirty napkins were stacked everywhere. A few hopeful pickers, were rumaging through the herring containers in hopes that they find something. I overheard someone say, after they had found some prized herring, that the left side never ate as much as the right side. I even found some dry and uneaten crackers, which I ate with creamy onions and herring juice. The only thing that no one touched were these piles of honey drenched kichel with fake cherries, I tried it and it was gross.
Find more herring kiddush at 4torah.com