Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

October 3, 2011
Irene Saiger


Ktzizot (Hamburgers)

In Aaron Lansky‘s book, Outwitting History,  he relates that in the Conservative synagogue he attended as a young boy, the front rows of the shul were filled with ” American-born professionals” who created an atmosphere that become more decorous each year.  On the other hand, the back of the shul was filled with Eastern European immigrants who spoke Yiddish and almost never stopped talking.  He tells us that by the age of 7 he already preferred” the heymish, home-grown, back of the shul to the highbrow front.”

When I read that passage, I smiled because this past week my friend Fredda and I spent some time standing at the back of the shul, talking and enjoying the casual “heymish” atmosphere.  It was liberating, no shushing and no rules.  I am also a ‘back of the shul” kind of cook.  That was the food I grew up on, simple, unpretentious, nourishing food that would fill your stomach and feed your soul.  My mother used to make pan-fried hamburgers that I thought were too basic and too simple.  Now I know that’s exactly what made them so good.  G’mar Hatimah Tovah.


1 pound ground turkey, chicken or beef

1 small onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2-3 Tbsp. bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup Vegetable oil

 Place ground meat in a large bowl and add chopped onion, garlic and parsley.  Beat eggs and combine with meat along with bread crumbs, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Form into oval or round patties.  In a cast iron skillet, heat about 1/3 cup oil till hot.  Fry Ktzizot for several minutes on each side.  Serves 4

8 thoughts on “Ktzizot (Hamburgers)

  1. Hi, Irene.

    I finally had a chance to read the blog today about the “ktzizot.” We finally also have the same mother and memories of “Kockletten.” They were big, fat and juicy. In the earlier years, she did not trust the butcher to chop the meat and so she bought a good piece of beef ( I don’t know what cut because I was too young and did not care at that age) and she put it through her meat grinder from France. Then she added all the other ingredients into her big wooden chopping bowl and chopped away. They were delicious. I remember eating at least two if not three for dinner. She always made her deliciously simple salad and, if memory serves me, mashed potatoes. Maybe the beef had more taste then because I have never had as good “kockletten” ever again. That is why I make meat balls now.

    As always, thanks for the memories.

    Love, Anita

    • Hi Anita,

      I didn’t remember that she chopped by hand till you mentioned it. You are right and I have that grinder! I also remember her cooking egg noodles and then frying them in the pan after she had finished the hamburgers. That was delicious!

      Can’t wait to see you!

  2. i mother makes this every holiday and i love them, it is really tasty. hatima tova to the wonderful family

  3. Steve is always wanting to make burgers and I am always overruling him because his fall apart and have big hunks of raw onion falling out of them. I can never persuade him to add eggs — maybe coming from you, he’ll try it!

  4. great and basic is the best and yummy and brings happiness to our tummies!!!!!!!!

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