Save the Deli

Elegy for Rascal House and some tech notes

Welcome back to Save the Deli. After a Passover hiatus (which I DID NOT BREAK), I am now back in the land of gluten, yeast, leavening, and flour. Delis which took the past week off, have now reopened, prepping for the takeout summer season, and the eventual buildup to the crazy fall. The birds are chirping, the sun is out (or at least was last week in Toronto), and the trees are blooming. There’s even rumors of a new deli opening up here, but you’ll hear more later.

I’ve got a great elegy on the Rascal House a friend sent, but first, I want to make a brief note about the website.
Some of you have rightly complained that your comments are not being posted as soon as you make them. Often, it takes many days, and you want to know why. Well, the answer is SPAM. For every one legitimate comment, there are probably 100 ads for porno, penis enlargement, fake watches, and various other crap. Welcome to the great information superhighway…now sit in traffic. Each day I have to go through the comments, one by one, and dig out the real stuff from the dreck. I usually find them all, though occasionally I miss your words, and I’m always always late in doing so. What can I say? Be patient…I’ll get it eventually.

Also, many of you send me multiple emails via the form on the page. You only need to send once…even if you don’t receive a confirmation notice. Don’t worry, I get them all.

Now, I present today’s poetry “AN ELEGY ON THE CLOSING OF WOLFIE COHEN’S RASCAL HOUSE”

by John Mariani

“For a cast of Rascal House regulars, the end will come Sunday night, when the hallowed deli in Sunny Isles Beach closes its doors for good. Gone will be the red vinyl booths, the fabled corned beef sandwiches and stuffed cabbage, the cartoonish devil smiling impishly above the tattered green awning. “–The Miami Herald, March 29, 2008.

Oy, say it isn’t so that Wolfie’s gone,
The deli on Miami Beach bar none!
And tell me now where will its faithful flock
Now go to get a tasty hot kreplach?

For fifty-four good years it reigned supreme,
With bagels piled with lox and sour cream.
A place you’d go for liver chopped so fine,
And sour kosher pickles leave you cryin’.

To cure a cold the chicken soup will do,
To cure your broken heart some borscht for you!
And regulars will say what’s not to love
About the verdant grass soup that’s called shav?

In memory of the noodle pudding kugel
Blow loud and long and slow the gilded bugle!
No more the storied latkes of potato,
No more the cabbage sauced with lush tomato.

I know no better kishka of stuffed derma
In all of this wide, now sad terra firma.
I’ll dream of all those golden brown knishes,
And suffer pangs of hunger for smoked fishes.

The smell alone of hearty carrot tzimmes
That mingles with chuck steak and gently simmers!
The cholent! Flanken! Whitefish! Fatty brisket!
So many many people sure will miss it.

No blintzes stuffed abundantly with cheese?
Oh, tell me where to find their match now, please.
I may grow schmaltzy praising this and that,
But that’s what true schmaltz is—it’s chicken fat.

So Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House is shuttered,
And no one sliced pastrami as they cut it.
So here’s to fifty-four delicious years,
Ah, what I’d give for just a few more schmears.

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