Friday, March 15, 2013

What do Mollie Karbovsky and Peter Noznick Have in Common?

Mollie Karbovsky and Peter Noznick are connected because they both suffered from the Flu Pandemic of 1918. 

Past epidemics are  ancient and forgotten history for most people today. The Influenza pandemic of 1918 affected 25% of all Americans, killing more people worldwide that World War I.  It is estimated that over 20-40 million people died from the Pandemic of 1918 worldwide.  It was the most devastating Pandemic in world history.
 It reached its height in October of 1918, just before the end of World War I.  The War, with its concentration of troops probably helped its spread and made it a pandemic.  It was deadly, killed quickly, sometimes within hours.  Schools, theaters and other public places in the United States were closed to keep the flu from spreading.  Deaths were so numerous, that funeral homes and cemeteries couldn't handle the numbers.  Quarantine was the only preventative measure available in those days.  We know today, that the Spanish Flu was a form of the bird flu (H1N1)


Peter Noznick about 3 years old
So, how did The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 affect my family?  I will start with my Father, Peter Paul Noznick. He was born August, 1915 in New York City, the son of Maria Klak Nyznyk and John Nyznyk. and was 3 years old in 1918. The Flu was an epidemic in New York City by the end of September, 1918.  Peter came down with the flu, and contracted a secondary ear infection, which spread to his mastoid bone (the part of the skull behind the ear.)  In those days, there were no antibiotics, so bacterial infections, such as ear infections, often were killers.  Peter survived the flu, but had the effects of chronic infection in his mastoid.  When he was 14, he had surgery to remove the infected  bone at Bellvue Hospital in New York City.  His family had moved to Windham Center, Connecticut in 1930, so he traveled to New York by train by himself for the surgery and stayed with relatives. He was in the hospital for several weeks, waiting for the only surgeon  who performed this type of surgery to be available.  He said that the men in the beds (no private rooms in those days) next to him died from the procedure that he was about to undergo.  He survived, but lost the hearing in one ear for the rest of his life.
Later in life he suffered from Parkinson's disease, which may be related Flu Pandemic of 1918.


Mollie and William
The Flu Pandemic of 1918 brought tragedy to the Karbovsky family.  Mollie's parents, Avrom Karbovsky and Rose Monkovsky Karbovsky, moved from Chicago to Peoria to open The Chicago Bakery. ( the Karbovsky name was shorted and Americanized to Krause in the 1930's.) At the time, Rose and Avrom had four children, all born in Chicago: Mollie, born in  November, 1904, William, born in 1906,  Paul, born in 1909, and Florence, born in 1913. 
The flu was reported as an epidemic in Peoria on October 11, 1918. Rose was was pregnant and the baby was due in October.   Tragedy struck and Molly, who was 13, died of the Spanish Flu on October 15, 1918.  She is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Peoria.  Lillian Karbovsky, my Mother-in-law, was born  on October 25, 1918, only 10 days after Mollie's death. 
Mollie's name lives on--in Jewish tradition, people often name children after family member who have passed away, using the first initial of the person's name.  William Krause named his daughter Marsha, and Lillian Krause Gerstein gave her daughter, Sheila, the middle name of Malka, Mollie's name in Hebrew.
For more about the Flu Pandemic of 1918, click on the link from The Centers for Disease Control.
More about the Flu Pandemic of 1918 


This week's recipe is for cookies!  Good for Passover too!

I have made these cookies many times and have given out the recipe to friends.  The cookies are not very sweet, but have a wonderful chocolate flavor, crisp on the outside and soft inside.  They contain no flour, so they make a good Passover dessert.

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Chewy Chocolate Almond Meringue Cookies



Heat oven to 350.

You will need 6 oz bittersweet chocolate for this recipe

Makes about 25 cookies



½ cup toasted almonds chopped

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped

3 large eggs at room temp.

½ tsp cream of tartar

½ cup granulated  sugar

½ tsp vanilla

3 oz bittersweet chocolate melted



1.     combine the almonds , cocoa powder and chopped chocolate in a small bowl

2.    combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. increase speed to medium. Whip egg whites until foam turns white and begins to hold its shape.

3.    Add sugar about 1 tbsp at a time beating until mixture is glossy and thick

4.    Beat in the vanilla

5.    Fold in the almond mixture gently with a spatula

6.    Add the melted chocolate until just incorporated and no streaks remain.  Do not over mix and deflate the mixture.

7.    Cover baking sheets with parchment paper

8.    Drop the batter by heaping tbspful on baking sheet about one inch apart.

9.    Bake cookies until just firm when gently pressed on top, but still soft inside, about 7-8 minutes.  Do not over bake.

10.  Remove pan from oven and let cookies stand on the pan 1-2 minutes.  Slide the paper from the pans onto a flat surface, let the cookies cool completely before removing with a spatula

Nutrition info:  65 calories/cookie.

4 gm fat

8 gm carb.

1 gm protein

1 gm fiber.