As a journalist and life-long deli obsessive, David Sax was understandably alarmed by the state of Jewish delicatessen–a cuisine that once sat at the very center of Jewish life had become endangered by assimilation, homogenization, and health food trends. He watched one beloved deli after another shut down, one institution after another shutter only to be reopened as some bland chain-restaurant laying claim to the very culture it just paved over. And so David set out on a journey across the United States and around the world in search of authentic delicatessen. Was it still possible to Save the Deli?
In this Journey, we join David as he investigates everything deli–its history, its diaspora, its next generation. He tells us about the food itself–how it’s made, who makes it best, and where to go for particular dishes. And, ultimately, there there is for hope–David finds deli newly and lovingly made in places like Boulder, traditions maintained in Montreal, and iconic institutions like the 2nd Avenue Deli resurrected in New York.
It’s a great topic and he does a wonderful job - a cultural history of Jewish food, a vibrant travelogue, and a rallying cry for a new generation of food lovers.