Bilik Vi Borsht

When it came to borsht, we had a milkhike (dairy) borsht with a dollop of our own sour cream and Papa’s favorite fleyshike (meat) borsht with beef.

Mama never said, “It’s only peanuts,” or “Cheap as dirt.” Mama never said, “It’d be cheap at half the price.” To Mama there was nothing that was cheap.  If it cost her money, it was tayer (expensive). 

We ate cracked eggs every day—every possible way, except poached.  We had chicken in one form or another every other day. 
The shoykhet (ritual slaughterer) had only our old, non-laying Leghorn hens to slaughter. 

Everyone raves about white meat, the breast, but to us boys, beylek (white meat) was like cardboard.  Mama boiled them in soup or ground them and made cutlets. 

Mama used the Purina feedbags to make pillowcases, sheets, quilt covers and her aprons.  When they were torn and could not easily be mended with her trusty Singer Sewing Machine, they became shmates (rags) for washing—all except the kitchen floor.  Mama had the biggest mop you ever saw.  Her powerful arms swept the mop across the floor like a bluebird going to nest.

The only thing that Mama never complained about was the money she spent on her children’s doctor bills.  If a physician charged a lower amount, he must not be a good doctor. 

When we lived in New York City and Papa belonged to the Glovner Society, we went to the Glovner doctor.   He was cheap, bilik vi borsht (cheap as beet soup), but after all he was the “Society Doctor.”  Mama knew value.