Where Goest the Knish?
We all have our Proustian memories of the great foods that were part and parcel of our youth. Some have survived and are every bit as good as they originally were, and, alas, some have not.
Sadly, of all the great old staples of bygone days, favorites from all ethnic groups, the knish has suffered most in the bumpy, misinterpreted transition to modern times. In fact, there are things being called knishes that have not even an iota of similarity to what was called a knish, say, 40 years ago.
At the zenith of its gastronomic glory in the middle of the 20th Century, the knish, as served at those two great bastions of Knishdom (Cohen's Knishes, Newark, N.J., and Gershberg's Kosher Caterers, Philadelphia, Pa.) it was not quite an orb, but more beanbag/sandbag in shape, about the diameter of a medium-sized dinner roll. Basic fillings were potato, kasha and chopped liver. If you couldn't decide which kind to have, your best bet was to have all three.
I echo Mr. Hoffman in noting that the crust was flaky, and add that said exterior shell in its better permutations was almost croissant-like, its fallen flakes practically translucent, with ever so slight touches of burn here and there.
Just a guess, but I think these latter day, square patty things of doorstop consistency now being called knishes are easy to manufacture (to say cook would be too charitable), simple to warm-up and have a more profitable shelf life than the real McCoy.