Brisket with a savory onion baste
Brisket with a savory onion baste

Brisket is my comfort food. It reminds me of my grandmother, who makes it for nearly all of my family’s Passover and Rosh Hashana meals. My grandmother learned to make brisket from her mother, embodying the sacred practice of l’dor vador, passing traditions from generation to generation. Like many German-Jewish Askenazi immigrants, Tille cooked brisket every Rosh Hashana. 
Brisket has roots in Germany and Czechoslovakia. It became popular among middling Ashkenazi families living in the shtetls because it was cheap and Kosher. Its long, uninvolved cooking process and large size made it a holiday staple. 
The original braised meat and root vegetable preparation began in the shtetls where families had to use cheap and available ingredients. Upwardly mobile immigrant families added red wine and tomatoes, while many influenced by post-World War II food revolution swapped tomatoes for Heinz ketchup. My grandmother’s friend advised her to add ketchup to her mother’s recipe, and she continues to use it because of its sweet flavor. I think my grandma’s recipe is the best:

Ingredients: 1 5-pound brisket, 1 package Lipton onion soup mix, 2/3 C water, 1 C ketchupInstructions: Pour the sauce on the brisket, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, and roast at 325 degrees ℉ for three hours. Once tender, put the brisket in the fridge overnight. Skim off the fat, thinly slice the meat, and heat it in the oven. Enjoy with family. 

Place(s): Germany; Cleveland, OH; Glenview, IL

– RG

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more