Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Catcher in the Pumpernickel

I like bread. I like sandwiches. But, there are a lot of fakers out there. And, there are people who are innocent of the intricacies and nuances of the delicatessen. Being very familiar with what makes a good sandwich, I want to prevent the fakers from deceiving the innocents. I want the innocents to know of the goodness of the sandwich without having to ruin their unsoiled palate on garbage. I am therefore, the Catcher in the Pumpernickel.Holden Caufield wanted to protect innocence. As do I. But his was more broad. Mine is more bread. Pumpernickel is a derivative of rye and rye berries from Germany. Rye is therefore the larger issue of innocence, and pumpernickel then stands to represent the smaller (albeit critical) issue of delicatessen innocence.Subway, Quizno's, and D'Angelo's are trying to rape your palate (Please excuse my overly zealous metaphor, I'm making a point). They are homogenized and run by only moderately qualified people who are just trying to make a buck. They may have good sandwiches, but they are not delis.Delis came to being in this country in the Jewish boroughs of New York City. It is there that rye bread, pastrami, sauerkraut, sausage, cheddar, and everything good about sandwiches came to be. The reason that these particular ingredients were used is due to the often indigent circumstances of European Jews prior to their sustained immigration from the turn of the century leading up until after WWII. But they brought these great tastes, and fabulous culture with them. They are the root of good American sandwiches.
So, before you deliver your soul to the corporate franchises, get back to the root. Make a trip to NYC, or find a Mom and Pop store near you, where they have chutzpah, flavor, and a love of life and sandwiches. Don't settle for mundane homogenization. Go to where it's real, it's passionate, it's pumpernickel.


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Anonymous said...

Actually, Jewish cuisine a la Katz's deli came well before WWII -- more like 1890-1920.


Also, screw Quiznos et al., they hold nothing to an actual big-city Jewish delicatessen.

squirrelyearl said...

I can't stand most of these sandwich chains and I haven't had the blessed experience of going to a real deli either, I'm sure I'd love it.

Michael Powers said...

Specifically Katz's opened in 1888, however, another famous Jewish deli in New York is called Second Avenue Deli, founded in 1954 by a holocaust survivor. Another is Carnegie Deli, which opened in 1937, just prior to WWII.