This Week: Blintzes

These were requested long ago, and oh how I’ve been looking forward to making them. Blintzes remind me of my father’s mother — not because she liked to make blintzes, but because she enjoyed eating brunch in the kinds of places where blintzes were popular in Chicago in the 70’s: grand hotel dining rooms, old-school restaurants…pretty much anywhere you could find classic Continental cuisine and waiters in tail coats. I can’t remember where I ate my first blintz, but I remember it was served by a gloved hand, neatly placed on a small silver dish with a drizzle of blueberry sauce. I was probably about six and had no idea what it was. I only knew that it represented good living, and that was enough for me.

Of course there’s really nothing high-falutin’ about a blintz. They’re Central European comfort food. But in my mind they’ll always be associated with water goblets, table side service and breakfast in a tie. And of course with one truly great lady that everyone knew as Mudge.

3 thoughts on “This Week: Blintzes”

  1. Was this intentional timing? February 2 is the “jour des crepes”:

    OK – blintzes and crepes aren’t exactly the same, and the fillings for the two differ, but they’re similar enough (siblings in the tortilla, mu shu wrapper, injera, etcetera family) I just got a blue steel crepe pan, and was breaking it in, building up some seasoning, this weekend. Tomorrow I’ll be making some more crepes, probably with more French-style fillings – butter/sugar/lemon, banana/Nutella, brie/apple, emmenthaler/spinach (maybe with a little bacon?). Since we’re snowed in here in Chicago, I’ll have plenty of time to cook and eat!

    In my Chicago sub-culture growing up (also in the 70s), blintzes were known by their eastern European names: “polichinki” informally, or other language-specific variations like “palachinka” depending on which ethnic group was most represented at the table at that moment. My recollection is that fillings were along the lines of fruit jams (cherry, maybe apricot, probably plum/prune) and some sort of cheese – which to my more American kid tastes was too “dry” and not sweet enough, but was probably a good balance to the sweet fruit fillings.

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