Every holiday has its traditions. For Thanksgiving, the table always has turkey and cranberry. Christmas bears gingerbread cookies and peppermint. And in the Sherman household in Chicago, Passover meant horseradish. Larry Sherman, financier during the rest of the year, was determined to find a beet horseradish that he deemed worthy of his mother-in-law’s handmade gefilte fish, and when nothing was sufficient, he took to making his own. The kids remember him dedicatedly marching out to the Randolph Street Market, coming home laden with pounds of horseradish and beet roots as well as a bagful of “secret ingredients.” Secret to the point that the kids were never told.
Then, the real work would start. Sherman senior would hand grate the roots, wearing an Israeli gas mask to protect from the gaseous fumes. (Yes, ski goggles were not sufficient.) The kids recall being unable to enter the kitchen due to the difficulty seeing or breathing.
The Sherman horseradish became the stuff of Chicago legend. People vied to get on the “horseradish list,” and it wasn’t long before Larry was making, jarring, labeling and delivering over 200 jars of his handmade condiment. Finally, when the kids were adults and Larry turned a spry 80, they sat down at the behest of daughter Carolyn Sherman Gutierrez and talked about taking the tradition to the next level. Dad didn’t bite, but he gave his blessing to Carolyn start what would become Ish Premium.
With the family legacy and her background in advertising, Carolyn ran with the legendary condiment. Launching at the Brooklyn Smorgasbord and local specialty stores, she introduced three new flavors: citrus, ginger, and garlic. Even under the careful scrutiny of the New York market, she was delighted to hear people exclaim that Ish was the best horseradish they ever tasted. Just as it happened with her dad, word traveled fast, and Carolyn left her advertising job to go “full Ish.” From the looks of it, Ish is set to be a part of many more family traditions.