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'The Braided Bunch' Brings Back Memories

May 26, 2011 By:
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They were Logan's 1950s version of "The Braided Bunch."

A knot of Jewish bakeries that caused clogged traffic along 11th Street in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city was where those in the know knew that, OK, man could not live by bread alone -- but if he had to, this was the place to go.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah wannabes hand-in-hand with their parents; dads on their way home from work looking for something for the Shabbat meal; kids coming home from Jay Cooke Junior High promising to fetch a challah for dinner -- all battled the serpentine lines of double-parked cars that made 11th Street in Logan more a maze and mystery than a street.

When it came to the goods, these bakeries had them: The White Palace, Liss' -- baked goods for every palate, where hi-hats (special whipped-cream-and-chocolate cake concoctions that towered to the sun) and rites-of-passage cakes had festivity written all over their sugary DNA.

And you didn't have to be a Loganite to appreciate them -- 11th Street was filled with license plates from such faraway wonderlands as Delaware, New Jersey -- and occasionally from New York. (Those cars, we, as youngsters, used to ogle at, wondering what exotic stories their drivers must have to tell.)

And the venerable challah was very much part of this fabled and bragged about Braided Bunch, where to get one with raisins was to capture the essence of Jewish delicacy.

Today's more modern outlets still have wonderful challahs to sell, but those from yesteryear had something no one can approach -- a certain tingling taste amid the tangle of twists.

Their secret ingredient? They were flavored with memories.

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