I thought I had exhausted all the stories about the historic knish war until yesterday, when I
turned up yet another publication, the Literary Digest in Volume 52, 1916, a popular weekly magazine, founded by Isaac Kaufmann Funk in 1890. Published by Funk & Wagnalls it covered general interest stories—in this case The Advance on Knish.
I suppose, in 1916 a great many of their readers had never tasted a knish or even knew what it was. Knishes, like the immigrants downtown were so new to America the had probably not yet made it into the Funk and Wagnall Dictionary. So, the writer for the Literary Digest
quoted from the The New York Globe and attempted to define a knish for the uninitiated with these words:
A New York City streetcar, circa 1916
"It is a cross between dumpling and ravioli—a stuffed butter-cake, as it were. Its ingredients include dough, chopped potatoes, and onions, and a modicum of cheese. Truly a well-balanced ration."
A dumpling, yes. But ravioli? Hard to believe that knishes—baked or fried—tasted anything like ravioli.
You have to wonder...had the writer ever tasted either a knish or a ravioli? If he was talking about kreplach, which is like a won ton with rounded sides, then I would agree.
So far, what I've discovered is how hard it is to define a knish. For sure, knishes are lot harder to define than to devour.