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Monday, October 27, 2014

Kosher, Then and Now

I compared a menu from "Mr. Broadway Kosher" that I picked up yesterday in midtown Manhattan to one from the defunct Phil Gluckstern's kosher restaurant, where my parents had their first date in April 1963 and my mother saved the menu. It was also in midtown Manhattan.This doesn't really give the full picture--Mr. Broadway Kosher has a rather more extensive menu than Gluckstern's, where I have a feeling that if you asked for sushi in 1963 they would have said, "Susie don't work here Sundays."
A bowl of chicken soup with matzah balls cost 60 cents at Gluckstern's 51 years ago, and $6.50 at Mr. Broadway Kosher yesterday--an increase of nearly 11 times over. Roast Vermont Turkey cost $3.80 at Gluckstein's back then, $23.00 at Mr. Broadway Kosher now, roughly a sixfold increase. The general Consumer Price Index has increased by a factor of 7.8 times, so these price rises are more or less in line.
An additional interesting note for cognoscenti is that Gluckstern's menu had typewritten notes, "The Management requests that you refrain from smoking on the Sabath" (sic) and that broiled meats would not be served on Friday afternoon after sundown. These concessions to the Jewish Sabbath would not be accepted by the Kosher Police as of 2014--the certifying authorities would not allow any kosher restaurant to remain open at all on the Sabbath. O tempora, o mores!

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