Catering for the Jewish Community


Did Filson’s cater your bar mitzvah or wedding?  I was thinking about this yesterday during a reminiscence training day organised by Age Exchange UK for staff and volunteers of Manchester Jewish Museum and The Fed.

MJM in partnership with The Fed have created themed reminiscence boxes using objects and photos from the museum’s collections for the “Sharing Stories” project. Now  staff and volunteers are being trained to take them out and run reminiscence sessions in care homes and day centres. 

At the workshop we were encouraged to do a bit of reminiscing ourselves.  When I started to tell a story connected with my grandparents who ran Filson’s Catering there were murmurs of recognition around the room.  One volunteer remembered that my grandparents had catered her wedding.

The session made me remember a funny incident at my grandparents’ home.  They lived and ran the business from a big old house in Broughton Park.  The living quarters were in a flat on the first floor. On the ground floor was the ballroom and in the cellars they had huge kitchens where food for simchas was prepared. I went to primary school in the building next door which meant that some days I could go straight there after school.  

On one particular day I ran out of school as the bell rang, raced over to their house, through the back door which was always open and dived down the stairs to the cellar/kitchens where I knew my grandma, grandpa and uncle would be busy preparing for the next “do”. Before I reached the bottom step I stopped dead at the sight of two large cows tongues waiting to be pickled. I was horrified and disgusted. I spun round and flew back up the stairs.  It was only then that I realised that the delicacy that I had regularly enjoyed known as “tongue” was actually made from real cow tongue and not just something with a similar sounding name.

After that I refused to touch tongue and would only go down to the cellars when they were baking cakes and desserts!


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