Gotta love the UK. Not only is the salt beef, fried gefilte fish, hand sliced tongue, and chopped liver the tastiest, but there’s a core of solid deli lovers there. And though the book doesn’t have a UK publisher yet, there’s been a decent amount of press over there.
Today, Claire Prentice of The Independent examines the threat to the health of the deli, behind a corned beef sandwich at Katz’s.
Is this the end for the deli?
New York’s historic Jewish cafés are under threat from gentrification – and the health food movement.
By Claire Prentice
….The Jewish deli is as iconic a part of the New York landscape as the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. But though in a handful of establishments you can still find enough knishes, kishkes and kreplach to keep the New York winter chill at bay, these culinary institutions are under threat. In 1931 there were 1,550 Jewish delis in New York City; today just two dozen remain. They are the victim of spiralling rents, the dispersal of Jewish communities, a decline in people keeping kosher and the rise of healthy eating. With a menu heavy on red meat, fat, salt and carbs, Jewish food is nothing if not artery-clogging. Gribenes – chicken skins fried in chicken fat – is a sumptuous mouth sensation, though less kind to the waistline.
“It’s hard work, the deli business. You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty,” says Katz’s co-owner Alan Dell. “A lot of people who ran mom-and-pop delis wanted their children to have a better life so they sent them to college and the family tradition died out.”
Once upon a time, you couldn’t walk a block in the Lower East Side without being hit by the meaty aroma wafting through the doors of one deli or another. “You had this concentration of Jewish workers who needed kosher food and these pickled and preserved foods were cheap, filling sustenance,” says David Sax, a lifelong deli lover and author of Save the Deli. Today there is only Katz’s left in what was once a thriving immigrant community. The delis, Jewish tailors and other immigrant businesses have been swept away by gentrification to make way for an influx of trendy bars and designer boutiques…. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE
And now for something completely different. Well, kinda.
Anthony Silverbrow is a deli lover in London. He has a passion for pastrami, and he’s not been afraid to share it at his blog Silverbrow on Food. We spoke yesterday over Skype about the deli, its future, and the difference between North America’s deli future and the UK’s. HERE’S THE LINK TO THE PAGE
Hopefully this’ll generate enough interest in the UK to get distribution for the book there.