Corned beef piled high on rye — that’s the signature sandwich of Jewish-American delicatessen cuisine. But the significance of the Jewish deli goes deeper: According to an article in the New York Post, writer Ted Merwin explains that delicatessens originally helped to delineate Jewish neighborhoods, served as impromptu offices and gathering spots, and became venues in which to hone one’s Jewish humor. For second-generation Jews, in particular, the eateries functioned as a cultural bridge between the Yiddish world of their parents and their own increasing integration into mainstream American culture.
Ted Merwin is the author of the book Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli, which is available on Amazon.com.
Read Ted Merwin’s New York Post article about Jewish delis in America. >>
Photo: A.M. New York