Saturday, August 20, 2005

New Creedmoor Coming Motzoei Shabbos - meanwhile here's something else to enjoy

The sordid history of a not too well respected kasher le'mehadrin product :):

Just why is the only, or at least the major, brand of Cholov Yisroel ice cream so substandard in terms of taste, texture and appearance? The answer will surprise everyone - it is not ice cream or cholov yisroel at all!First of all, a little background - Klein's is not a Jewish owned firm at all! The "Chassidim" who own Klein's are Gambiner Chassidim - followers of a certain Sicilian admou"r who landed on these shores sometime after World War 2 when he was probably rewarded with a Green Card in exchange for assisting Allied forces in re-establishing order after the defeat of Benny Mussolini.As is well known, the Gambiner Chassidim have extended their evil tentacles throughout dairy production and distribution in the New York area - and when real Polish, Hungarian and Ukrainian Chassidim arrived en masse after World War 2 and the Communist takeover of Hungary in 1956, they smelled an opportunity in providing these refugees with the food products that their standard of religious observance demanded.Therefore, an entrepreneur by the name of Vito Stronzone purchased an ice cream parlor on the Lower East Side al pi minhag chassidei Gambino - he simply walked in and explained to the Greek proprietor, Mr Themistocles (Tommy) Malakapoulous, that if a sale was not forthcoming, he would simply arrange for Mr Malakapoulous to be buried in a cement casket in an unknown and hard to locate spot in the depths of his beloved Aegean Sea. Mr Malakopoulous, himself an upstanding citizen who had amassed many apartment buildings in New York City through profits from various forms of gaming and other illicit entertainment that he laundered via his ice cream parlor, was only too willing to deal, and the next day, the ice cream parlor was relabeled "Klein's Kolov Isreal Ice Cream."Why Klein's, you may ask? Well, you see, like all Gambiners, Don Vito Stronzone was a real ba'al chessed. He hired 2 dwarves to run his new venture, and since his Jewish lawyer informed him that Klein means small in Yiddish, he even named it in their honour. And he was so honourable in the way he treated them - you see, all production was literally carried out underground so that the unwitting customers would not see the real contents of what they were ingesting. As the basement was rather shallow, and also needed to be used for storage of certain former business partners of Don Vito, only dwarves could fit into the production facilities. And the wages he paid them were also rather dwarfish - five counterfeit dollars a day, paid every third week, in arrears. Never mind the working conditions - I will spare our more squeamish readers the details of same.Now, as for the method of production. Every day, a shipment of brightly coloured sponges was delivered to the Klein's ice cream shop. In the dank, stinking basement, the two dwarves would heat the sponges, and puff up the resulting molten mixture with compressed air from a tire pump. A small amount of rancid milk was mixed in so that the certifying rabbi, a blind dupe who wore a clerical collar and was the rov of K'Hal Adas Our Lady of Palermo, could at least say it was a dairy product al pi halacha. It was then quickly transferred to the freezer, where it took on a texture similar to, well, frozen sponges. The Cholov Yisroel consumers of the time were only too happy to have any sort of frozen dessert for their KAH burgeoning families full of young children, and there was hardly any knowledge of American kosher symbols among them, so that the official looking seal of the certifying rabbi was acceptable to them at the time.Of course, given the Gambiner involvement in distribution and lack of tolerance for competitors, the products were muscled into the freezer cases of every little kosher grocery that cropped up on the Lower East Side and later in Williamsburgh and Boro Park. Nowadays, the dwarves are no longer employed there - the successors of Don Vito (who himself was discovered in a rather large freezer in the meat packing district one spring day, and who was actually mourned by many a frum Yid for his contribution to kosher food production) still hire dwarves, but these dwarves have a new job - sitting inside ATM machines and producing reams of three and seven dollar bills on order every time cards marked "Banco di Sicilia" are inserted into these machines, mostly located in social clubs in Bensonhurst and Ozone Park. Meanwhile, the parlor has been supplanted by a large factory located not far from the Gambiner kehilla in Bensonhurst, and the process has been automated so that larger quantities can be made to satisfy growing demand. Since the Gambiner tradition of not allowing competition, and insisting on very strict control of distribution so that kashrus is observed even during the trucking process, is still very much in effect, we are still eating frozen extruded cellulose, mixed in with a bit of milk, and disguised as ice cream.

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