Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mort Zachter's Dough

An observation of the Italian/Jewish memoir presentation at the Tenement Museum: It echoed a KV memoir juxtaposition from the two most dominant groups of the KV baby boom era. That occasionally takes place on these "pages." Carl and Mort's conviviality at the event was certainly a model what should have taken place at all times in a previous era. Above, I combined the audio from Mort's NPR interview with Kate Davidson back in September of 2007 an excerpt:
For anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck, Mort Zachter's story might seem like dream come true: In 1994, a banker called Zachter's home and asked him if he'd like to take control of his Uncle Harry's million-dollar money-market account. It turned out that two of his uncles had quietly amassed about $6 million, scattered in separate accounts.
Zachter's windfall let him pursue his dream of writing. His new book Dough: A Memoir, is the culmination of that dream. It's also a story of daily life at the family's bakery from the 1940s through the '60s and a snapshot of immigrant life in New York.
After his windfall, Zachter delved into his family's secrets. He never found out why his uncle sat on his wealth rather than helping the family, but he realized that his uncles — like other children of immigrants who had survived the Depression — had a complicated relationship with money. His uncles Harry and Joe drafted most of the family to work at bakery, which sold bread they bought wholesale from other city bakeries. Zachter's mother — his uncles' sister — gave up her dream of teaching to work at the bakery.

The images in the slideshow were an assortment of scenes from nyc bakeries. The first image is of Mort with the current owners of the Ninth Street Bakery, Oleg and Tetyana Kucherenko. There's also a batch from the "flagship" Jewish bakery of the LES and the KV neighborhood, Gertel's. Truth be told the Italian bakeries, Savoia's especially, were much better.

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