“Herring on a Bialy” by Mark Podwal. Image courtesy of Mark Podwal

(RNS ) — Mark Podwal’s drawing “Herring on a Bialy” portrays the salty fish sandwiched inside the roll invented in Bialystok, Poland, for what it was: shtetl food.

Yet this straightforward acrylic and colored pencil drawing of the humble forage fish has recently hooked Hollywood royalty: American actor, writer, producer, director and comedian Mel Brooks.

A patient of Podwal, who in addition to being an artist is also a dermatologist, Brooks was drawn to the work because his ancestors sold herring in Danzig, Poland.

That a symbol of

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