"Sweet" is only part of the story. In the Schwabenland of southwestern Germany, savory kuchen — that is, cakes, tarts, pies, and the like — are also highly esteemed, especially in the cooler months. This sauerkrautkucha, sauerkraut cake impaled with slices of bratwurst, is much more minimal and compact than choucroute garnie, but it expresses kinship with that Alsatian dish through long-simmered flavor and love of sharp mustard. Plus, since it's a kucha, you also get a crust.
Not shown, but equally enjoyed (and likewise compliments of the baker): zwiebelkucha, onion cake with Black Forest speck, and kartoffelkucha, potato cake with Alpine cheese.
If Edna's had seats, people might park themselves here all afternoon. But there's just one windowside ledge, standing room only, looking out on the passing traffic along the border of Bed-Stuy and Brownsville. A more enticing view, with all its attendant aromas, was right up close: rosemary chicken with cabbage and collard greens (small, $5). The cabbage, interspersed with slivers of carrot, was well-dosed with black pepper; the greens, flavored with bits of turkey wing, were not bitter in the least. Nice chicken skin; too bad you can't order extra skin on the side.
Why "jackass"? The label of this two-pack from Jamaican Pride (3 oz., $1.50) — bought at a "West Indian, American, French grocery" that seems to be Korean-run — is unilluminating, except for the absence of "corn." The short list of ingredients comprises only "flour, sugar, coconut, ginger, spices."
Further reading offers two etymologies. Like the jackass, said an informant for Frederic G. Cassidy's 1961 study Jamaica Talk, this "famous hard biscuit" is "faithful, long-serving and tough." Another informant, for Cassidy's later Dictionary of Jamaican English, co-edited with R.B. Le Page, added that it is "very thin and hard and crisp and when being eaten sounds like the eating of corn by a donkey."
Upshot: By one account, the jackass is the biscuit; by the other, the jackass is you.
Chung's Market 1228 Fulton St. (Bedford-Nostrand Aves.), Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn 718-636-6194
There's kurma, and there's kurma. To find the freshly made "soft" style of this Trinidadian confection, often heavy with condensed milk, a dedicated sweets shop would be your best bet. (Perhaps EIT readers can also suggest South Asian analogues.) M&M&M brand kurma (2.5 oz. bag, $1.25) represent the "hard" style; they're made from dough that has been spiced (most notably with ginger, in this case) fried (or twice-fried, some recipes insist), and glazed. Yes, these crunchy strips are commercially bagged, but they also strike a great balance between spicy and sweet. And, in snack foods, portability is a great virtue.