Using The Knish War on Rivington Street in Your Classroom
The “war” between Benny and Solly’s families offers a useful way to talk with your students about
competition. It’s also a way to talk about and perhaps taste food specialties from different
countries. For art and creative writing, focus on how businesses advertised long ago, before
there were TVs or computers. It’s an opportunity for students to try their hands at marketing an
edible product they will create. Cooking and polling preferences lend themselves to hands-on
math experiences with measuring and simple counting. Most importantly, The Knish War on
Rivington Street will also give you a way to help students discover that there can be more than
one good way to make a quality product.
After Reading Cook Knishes
Ask your students if they know of any ways
that people compete. What does it mean to
compete? If you are on a sports team? What
about quiz shows on TV? Or when playing a
game, such as checkers?
Competition is about trying to be the
winner or the best. That’s what this book is
about, only in this case, the competition in
twentieth-century America was about a type
of food that was new in America, a popular
food called knishes. Knishes were well known
to immigrants: people who had come from
Europe to America. A knish was a pastry.
Have any of you had a knish?
A knish can be filled with potatoes or
cheese or kasha. Potato knishes were the
most popular. They were not expensive and
they could be eaten without a fork or knife,
so people could take them along to eat while
they were at work.
Let’s find out why there would be a war
Talk about why Benny and Solly’s families
• Why should it make a difference if the knishes were baked or fried?
• Can they think of any food they like
one way better than the other?
•How do they like potatoes?
•Make a list of their favorite potato dishes: •baked •fried •mashed • chips
There are many ways to enjoy the same basic
That’s true of knishes too.
Find out which type of knish your students prefer. Use the recipes for baked and fried knishes in the back of the book to prepare knishes.