Oh Canada, our home and native land…
Sorry folks, all caught up in pre-olympic fever, but don’t worry, I’m not going to draw some convoluted line to the Vancouver Olympics and deli. Though if you ARE in VanCity for the next two weeks, consider checking out the local delis; Kaplan’s Star Deli (pictured above) and Omnitsky’s Kosher Deli for your fix.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Tuesday night saw the much anticipated Berkeley sustainable deli panel conversation take place, without any major fireworks, or mustardworks. Thought provoking. Check it out below.
Next, check out the essay on the book Save the Deli in the latest issue of Commentary by noted writer and essayist Joseph Epstein. He really gets the topic, and approaches it from a place of love in “Nostalgie a la Boeuf”. Here’s a preview below, though you need to be a subscriber to see the whole thing online.
Every Jew of a certain age has his own Jewish-waiter story. When I was 6, I was taken by my parents to a Romanian Jewish restaurant in Chicago called Joe Stein’s. After my mother had ordered for our family, I piped up to ask our waiter, an older man with a strong Eastern European accent, if he had any soda pop. “Ve got pop,” he said, mild contempt in his voice. “What kinds?” I asked. What sort of a world is it, his doleful look suggested, in which a serious man has to answer the trivial questions of an ignorant and impertinent child. “Ve got red,” he said, his pencil poised over his order pad while looking away, “and ve got brown.” The delicatessen for many years functioned as the tavern of the American Jew. Among Jews, food, not booze, stimulated schmooze. Every Jewish neighborhood had a deli, a place to go to talk and relax in an atmosphere of familiarity centered on Jewish food, some many more than one. In the neighborhoods in which I grew up, the deli was, quite as much as the synagogue, a social center. People didn’t eat in restaurants as much then as now, but when one did, one sought not exotic but familiar food, which the deli provided. Chicken, mushroom-barley, cabbage, the same soups one’s mother and grandmother made were on offer there; beef brisket—spiced, pickled, and brined into corned beef and pastrami and served on rye or onion rolls—was the main attraction; chopped liver, pickles, and pickled tomatoes were also available. So-called healthy eating had not yet been invented. Cholesterol had not entered the English lexicon. Snakes had not yet inhabited the Garden of Gastronomic Eden.
Finally, a reminder that delis should keep doing their part to help out in Haiti. Max’s Delicatessen in Birmingham, Alabama has been selling $25 gift cards for $20, and donating the proceeds to relief efforts in Haiti. So far they’ve raised close to $2000, with a goal of $2500. If they reach that, there’s the chance they’ll go for $5000. So help them out Alabama deli lovers.