Food & Memory on NPR

Happy Tuesday, and hopefully you’re still deep in holiday season relaxation. Alex here.

Just a heads up for the people who missed it: I did a story about the connections between food and memory, and Mexican and Jewish cooking, and it ran Sunday on NPR’s Weekend Edition (Christmas Day). Here’s the link. It was cool to hear our family on the air, but of course we may be slightly biased.

Some of you folks may be reading this blog because you heard the story on NPR. To you I say, thanks for listening, reading, and subscribing!

I thought it would be cool to share some other pictures from the trip to Mexico City during which I reported the story. (I asked for help crowdsourcing cookbook research for that trip, and many people shared comments and suggestions — more on that soon, as the NPR piece has kept  me busy.) Happy Holidays to you and your families! All photos are credited to my lovely sister, Anita Schmidt.

Justo Sierra Street in downtown Mexico City. The doors of the synagogue are visible on the left.

Inner courtyard of the Nidjei Israel Temple in downtown Mexico City

The interior of the temple has been beautifully preserved. Anita and I are standing with our grandmother where she greeted guests at her wedding (higher quality image fortcoming).

Ceiling of the temple (higher quality image forthcoming)

Me and my grandmother in the old temple kitchen where Mrs. Shlejter cooked her delicacies. You can see grease stains on the walls and ceiling.

Me in the old temple restaurant where my great grandfather looked forward to eating when he visited Mexico from New York. Shout out to Anita (again) for a very cool shot.

5 responses

  1. I am one of those who signed up because of NPR. I am so glad I did.
    Me encantan las recetas y son faciles de “vegetarianizar” (invente una palabra, creo)!

  2. Great piece on NPR, Alex! I could see, smell and taste everything you described and I’ve never even been to Mexico. I think the memories of our Eastern European grandparents and the aromas from their kitchens are universal ones that tug at all of our heartstrings. Wonderful of you to lead us down your Mexican-Jewish path and at the same time allow us to revisit our own wherever that might be.

  3. Thanks so much, Donna. Someone commented on the piece that they wondered if there was such a thing as “Jewish” cooking. Maybe not, but flavors from Eastern Europe make for memories that many Ashkenazi Jews share. Appreciate your listening and commenting!

  4. I am so happy for you! I’m also slightly counter-proud because for once I’ll have told my dad about something really cool Before it was on NPR! Score (for the record, I found the blog through a post on’s website)!

    Thank you, and your mom of course, for making this site! I’m learning so much already, and those photos are so gorgeous!

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