Friends, behold the glorious photograph above (credit to Landon Nordeman, a king amongst princes). These badass gents are kosher butchers in Budapest, about to turn beef into salamis, sausages, and other tasty treats. It opens my feature in the December issue of Saveur magazine called The Roots of Deli.
This past July, I traveled for eight days in Bucharest, Romania and Budapest, Hungary with photographer Landon Nordeman, searching for the culinary roots of the Jewish delicatessen. We ate in Jewish community centres, old aged homes, butcher shops, kosher restaurants, and private houses, tasting the schmaltzy essence (goose schmaltzy) at the heart of deli’s taste. Highlights included incredible challah, Romanian cabbage rolls, goose liver cooked in goose fat, goose fat matzo balls, and even more goose. We topped it off with the Hungarian poppy seed cake, flodni.
The article focuses on the forces that not only created these foods, but sustain them in Eastern Europe’s dwindling Jewish communities. Consider it an extra chapter to Save the Deli…one that never quite made it into the book. You can’t see it online (Saveur is old school that way), but it’s worth picking up a copy wherever finer magazines are sold. For the goose fat soaked recipes alone! Not to mention Landon’s amazing photographs.