The Borscht Belt Tattler

Jen Stewart

The Jewish Alps. The Sour Cream Sierra’s. Disneyland with knishes. Welcome to the podcast that celebrates the iconic vacationland that touched the lives of so many people. We may not see these once famous resorts and bungalow colonies again, but you can be sure we're going to kvetch (and kvell) about it here.

read less

Our Editor's Take

The Borscht Belt Tattler is a podcast that honors New York's Catskills mountains. Jen Stewart interviews people who live, work, or play in this famous Jewish vacation area. It was called the "borscht belt" because borscht was a popular food in the Jewish community. The host brings honest and vulnerable conversations about this distinctive cultural phenomenon. Her guests share their fondest childhood memories, funny anecdotes, and odd encounters. They talk about the celebrities, the performances, the families, the sports, and more. With her podcast, Stewart celebrates the rich legacy of the Catskills. She also explores the new generation of tourism and culture of the area.

Stewart is a Canadian making a podcast about an American cultural institution. The reason for her choosing this topic is personal nostalgia. As a child, spending summers on the Borscht Belt brought Stewart joy. It was also where she discovered her passion for food, comedy, and being outdoors. Most of all, what made the Catskills so special for her were the people.

At the height of its popularity, the Catskills had over 500 resort hotels and 50,000 bungalows. An average of 150,000 guests a year came there to find refuge from the city heat. American Jewish families saw it as a place to find safety, community, and a sense of belonging. The podcast host was one of those hopeful people.

On The Borscht Belt Tattler, the host talks to a variety of people, from historians and authors to frequent visitors of the vacation spot. They talk about summer romances, forged work papers, and the TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. They tell stories of swim instructors becoming Hollywood stars and beach chairs politics. There are even discussions about Judaism and the importance of the Catskills for Holocaust survivors.

The Borscht Belt Tattler is a podcast for anyone who wishes to relive their experiences in the area. It's also for those who missed out on this place and experience and want to learn more about it.

read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture