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"Deli Man": History and Culture of the Jewish Delicatessen 

Wednesday, Mar 4 2015
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Conventional wisdom suggests that bacon is the most likely gateway meat to lure vegetarians back to the dark side, but if so, it's only because they've never tried a well-made brisket Reuben. It's just one of the many delectable dishes available at the endangered species known as the Jewish Delicatessen, and Erik Greenberg Anjou's documentary Deli Man traces the rise and fall of this sadly vanishing institution. Doing his best to keep them alive is Ziggy Gruber, American hero and proprietor of Kenny & Ziggy's New York Deli in Houston, Texas, and actual New York delis such as Katz's and the legendary Carnegie Deli are rightfully celebrated. Deli Man also functions as a companion piece to the recent The Search for General Tso. They're both about a particular immigrant experience as viewed through their restaurants, though the statistics go in opposite directions: There are more Chinese restaurants than ever in America — which is a good thing! — but after a peak of thousands of Jewish delis in New York alone in 1931, there are now fewer than 200 left n North America. Sure, it's not exactly at the top of the list of what's wrong with the world, but Deli Man makes a strong case that they're worth preserving. Have a nosh today!

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Sherilyn Connelly

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