Yiddish, a hybrid language of German and Hebrew, was a common language used by Ashkenazi Jews. In recent generations it has seen a large decline, so I wrote this article to revive some of my favorite words.
Use the list that follows to incorporate these fun Yiddish phrases into your kitchen lingo. Just don’t say them over the food, or someone might think you’re sneezing on it.
1. Aufgefrischt [oof – ge – frisht]
The matzoh seems unusually stale. It would be much more tasty if it were aufgefrischt.
2. Nosh [nosh]
Definition: To snack on
Please tell Sarah to stop noshing. She’s going to spoil her appetite for the brisket I cooked.
3. Fress [fres]
Definition: To eat gluttonously; consuming as much as an animal
Benji ate lunch at the deli. Boy, was he fressing on hot corned beef sandwiches.
4. Schlep [shlep]
Definition: To carry something heavy
It’s no wonder I threw out my back. I schlepped the cake all the way from the bakery to Sam’s bar mitzvah.
5. Schmaltz [shmahlts]
Definition: Poultry fat
Schmaltz is delish in everything: kugel, chopped liver, matzoh balls. Don’t tell my cousin the cardiologist, but sometimes I eat it straight off the spoon.
6. Schütteherein [shi-te-rine]
Definition: To cook without a recipe — Add a little of this, a little of that, and don’t open the pot until it’s done
Me: Can I have your cholent recipe?
Bubbe: Recipe?! I have no recipe. Just schütteherein… some potatoes, a bisl meat, carrots, etc.
7. Oy vey [oi vey]
Definition: An exclamation of grief; woe is me
Oy vey! I burnt the latkes, and I have no more schmaltz for a new batch.