By Harvey Tobkes

This is a true story, which I know you can appreciate given your expert knowledge of chicken fat. So, here’s what happened:

I went to visit my best friend, Paul, one Friday night. I am known to be a first class Klutz, but I really distinguished myself that night 60 years ago.


Paul’s mother had just finished rendering a large jar of chicken fat…the gooey stuff was called Schmaltz in Jewish homes and was used for cooking and frying, somewhat like olive oil, but thicker and greasier. She stored it in the front of the refrigerator and it was freshly made, so it had not congealed. I felt very comfortable in their home, after all we were very close buddies, and so when I felt thirsty I went to the fridge and reached in for a bottle of milk. You guessed it, the jar of chicken fat fell …the jar broke into a million shards of glass and splattered liquid fat all over the kitchen floor; it was just like a science fiction film, “The Evil Slime” seemed alive and was was now oozing into the foyer. We were desperately trying to clean it up, when his mother came into the kitchen, and to her credit she didn’t faint dead away, but gave a screamof Oy Vay ist Meir, Gott zul mir helfin!…people 2 blocks away heard that scream.. My ears are still ringing!


I got the hell out of there fast, and left Paul with the task of trying to soothe his mother’s hysteria. Paul’s punishment was he was never to see or speak to me again.

Humphrey Bogart, in Casablanca, said it best with his classic line, “Well, Louie, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

CasablancaFor Paul and me it was the END of a beautiful friendship.

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