As I previously mentioned here, a conference went on this past weekend in which a selection of New York delicatessen experts met at the Museum of the City of New York to discuss the past, present and future of the Jewish delicatessen. While I wasn’t able to attend, I was sent the great summary of the talk done by the New York Times, thanks to my friend and journalist Steve Viuker.
Something to Nosh On: Here’s the Skinny on Jewish Delis
by Sewell Chan
Every aspect of the Jewish delicatessen — from the declining popularity of kishka to the rise of online sales to the gentrification of the Lower East Side — was touched upon at a panel discussion before a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night at the Museum of the City of New York. References to pitcha (calf’s foot jelly, an old delicacy) and the long-gone Garden Cafeteria drew knowing and nostalgic sighs. The owners of three legendary Jewish eateries spoke.
Matthew Goodman, the author of “Jewish Food: The World at Table,” moderated the panel, held in conjunction with the exhibition “The Jewish Daily Forward: Embracing an Immigrant Community,” on view through Nov. 25. Despite talk of a revival, the number of Jewish delis has fallen precipitously in the post-World War II era, a theme that dominated the discussion.
The food historian Joel Denker began his presentation by invoking Richard F. Shepard, a New York Times reporter who has since died and who once said, “I love Jewish food, but when you eat, 72 hours later, you’re hungry again.”