the schmooze
("Oh, there's just one more thing")
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

I walked into my favorite dairy restaurant, the one with the "elderly" waiters who serve "insults on onion rolls." It's that type of eating establishment where people say, " If you leave without heartburn, you ordered the wrong thing!"

I ordered my usual: a plate of cheese blintzes with "smetent" (sour cream) and a " glezel tai" (glass of tea).

As I waited for my "kelnerin" (waitress), I thought of Stevens, Levine, & Steinmetz ("Meshuggenary - Celebrating the World of Yiddish"), who wrote, "A blintz is not to be confused with a blimp, which is how you feel if you eat too much." And the late Leo Rosten once said, "I list blintz and blintzes together because I never heard of anybody eating only one."

I glanced at the gentlemen seated at the next table. He was on his "tselularer telefon" (cell phone) telling his daughter that he had just purchased theatre tickets to two new shows: Judy Gold in "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother" and Steve Solomon in "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, I'm in Therapy!"

The waitress arrives and presents me with TWO--NOT THREE--cheese blintzes. So I said, "Antshuldik mir" (Excuse me), where is the third blintz? Her reply, "Freg mir nit keyn kashes. (Don't ask me any questions.) Go hire Peter Falk--Columbo. He'll find the missing blintz."

A "komiker" (comic) from the Catskills era!

Yes, Falk with his rumpled raincoat, stubby " tsigar" (cigar), tousled hair and possibly "tsemisht" (confused) attitude, could solve the Case of the Missing Blintz. As Columbo rambles around in his "alt" (old) Peugeot, let's not perceive him as a slow-witted, shabby Lieutenant!

The criminals on his 1971-78 NBC TV show were so confident that Columbo would never catch them. His trademark was to tell them that he's done with his "oysforshung" (investigation), turn toward the door to leave, turn back and say, "Oh, just one last question." In one moment, they go from being sure they'll get away with their " farbrekht" (crime) to knowing they've been caught.

So, after I begrudgingly pay the bill, I contact 79-year-old Falk. A week later we meet at Barney's Beanery, where he ordered chili with ketchup and a handful of crackers. ("Y'see, it's the crackers that make the dish.") We discuss the case.

Columbo: " Hello, Marge. You know I was born in New York. (Falk peppers his conversation with home-spun comments about his wife, her proverbs for any occasion, his dog, and family.)

Listen, I'm from the old-school pre-CSI style of TV detective work. I have no cellphone, fax, computer, or "vebzaytl" (website). I don't even know how to collect DNA. I work the old fashioned way by studying people and their reactions, alibis, and motives. I gather my evidence, always looking for inconsistencies, and focus on one-on-one conversations with suspects. I can solve the "misterye" (mystery) of The Missing Blintz...and at a moderate cost."

Marjorie: " Wonderful! By the way, are you aware that there are about 400,000 people who frequent kosher restaurants in NYC? One restaurant is so exclusive that it has an unlisted phone number for preferred customers. (They have to plunk down a $500 deposit.)"

Columbo: " Really. Marge, please tell me, what's a blintz?"

Marjorie: " Well, according to the book, "Jewtopia" " the goyishe name for a blintz is 'Hebrew hot pocket.' And the authors say that " blintzes taste even better at 3 A.M. after a night of drinking! When served in a French restaurant, they're called crepes, and when served in a Chinese restaurant, they're called moo shu. Cheese bintzes are very popular on Shavout because, like all Jewish holidays that mix joy with suffering, Shavout celebrates the new harvest while reminding Jews about lactose intolerance."

Columbo: " Oh, the only blintzes I've ever eaten were from Trader Joe's. They're Tofutti Milk Free Mintz's Blintzes (Dairy-Free, Cholesterol-Free, Lactose-Free).

By the way, who's the present Mayor of NYC?"

Marjorie: Michael Bloomberg.

Columbo: " The last NYC mayor I knew was Ed Koch. I liked him!

I remember when he went to a Senior Citizen center in the Bronx. He was quickly asked about crime and what we were going to do about it. Koch said to the elderly people, 'You know, ladies and gentlemen, crime is terrible. A judge that I know was mugged this week and do you know what he did? He called a press conference and said that mugging would in no way affect his judicial decisions in matters of that kind.' And an elderly lady stood up in the back of the room and said, 'Then mug him again!'"

I'll go talk to Bloomberg and get back to you, Marjorie."

Marjorie: " Thanks so much, Columbo."


Columbo met with Mayor Mike Bloomberg after his weekly WABC radio show. They discussed the fact that Mike's Lexus was recently stolen and his Mayoral aide assaulted.

They spoke about the many new regulations/proposals for NYC restaurants and bars.

Columbo took notes on 3" x 5" index cards. (His handwriting is known to be so bad that he confesses he should have been a "doktor.") They discuss the Proper Mastication Initiative (P.M.I.). It was recommended that NYC diners be required to chew their food for at least 12 seconds before swallowing. As part of the proposal, " der kelner" (the waiter) would be ordered to pay special attention to how customers cut their food.

Customers would also be required, before they are served, to study the Heimlich Maneuver posters on the wall.

Some Asian restaurants may be required to provide customers with goggles to prevent one customer from poking another customer's eyes out with his chopsticks. (Bloomberg tries not to stare at Falk's ocular prosthetic ("glass eye").

And, finally, Columbo, folding his hand under his chin, says to Bloomberg, "Oh, there's just one more thing...what's with the new rules in dairy restaurants?"

Bloomberg laughs and says, "Oh, because so many New Yorkers are obese, we want to limit customers to TWO BLINTZES per order, instead of the THREE that are now usually served in many dairy restaurants."

Case of The Missing Blintz solved! 

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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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