OP: The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home
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Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013. Hardcover. Fine. No jacket, as issued. Signed first printing.
The Jewish deli is an emblem of New York city dining, one that has gone through waves of evolution, decline, renaissance, and reinvention. Of course they exist elsewhere in the country too, but we New Yorkers take particular pride in the city’s deli culture. It is, then, with a grain of humility that we concede that this essential Jewish cookbook was written by two Oregonians: Portland’s Nick Zukin—owner of Kenny and Zuke’s—and food writer Michael Zusman.
Zukin and Zusman prove to be most adept at conveying the intricacies of making craveable Jewish deli staples from scratch. You’ll find it all here. Schmaltz and dill pickles to kreplachs, kugels, and varnishkes; matzo brei and matzo ball soup; several borschts, potato salads, and egg salads; corned beef tongue, pastrami, and brisket; bagels and bialys; rye bread, challah, and pretzels; celery soda and egg creams.
Such classics are punctuated by modern takes like Kenny and Zuke’s pastrami cheese fries—kosher they’re not—and a chocolate babka French toast.
We are proud to say Kitchen Arts and Letters founder Nach Waxman penned the book’s foreword and is included as one of the interviewees in the book’s many historical interludes. It’s a shame that it only got one printing because it really does belong on everyone’s shelf. As Nach says, “These foods are a source of comfort, pleasure, and well-being—as well as a source of being overweight and having high blood pressure. Happily, medical wisdom and gustatory enthusiasm have now reached a pretty sound balance.”Now very hard to come by, ours is an unused Fine copy of the 2013 first and only printing, signed by both authors.