America's Great Delis: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast

Sellers  2010

The perfume of steaming garlicky meats and chicken soup. The shine on a freshly wiped Formica countertop. A tower of corned beef between slices of rye bread. Close your eyes and you’re there, in your favorite Jewish delicatessen.

To their fans, America’s Jewish delis are as holy as temples, and Mrs. Bellman is clearly a devout attendee. Her passion for the history, culture, and flavors of the Jewish delicatessen, as well as her respect for its owners, waiters, and innumerable characters shape and inform this visual feast. Presented as a hybrid coffee table book and cookbook, Bellman has unearthed stories, factoids, and images that bring these hallowed institutions to schmaltzy life. She captures the essence of great delicatessens like Katz’s, Canter’s, and Attman’s, while preserving the legacy of long-gone stalwarts, such as Detroit’s Darby’s, or New York’s famed Ratner’s. The book is worth it for the imagery alone: an unsurpassed collection of delicatessen ephemera. But it’s the recipes that really make it a must-have for any deli lover. The author has coaxed some closely guarded secrets out of these owners, including the 2nd Ave Deli’s chopped liver recipes, and specific advice from Norm Langer on how to properly trim, steam, and slice pastrami. The recipes not only give readers the chance to experiment at home, they allow these foods to live on past the all too brief life of their creators. Food and Yiddish glossary, index.

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