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]


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Definition: Refreshed

The matzoh seems unusually stale. It would be much more tasty if it were aufgefrischt.

2. Nosh [nosh]


Photo by Hannah Peterson

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]


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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]


Photo by Justin Shannin

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]


Photo by Madison Mounty

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]


Photo by Tiare Brown

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]

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Photo courtesy of Tori Avey

Definition: An exclamation of grief; woe is me

Oy vey! I burnt the latkes, and I have no more schmaltz for a new batch.