Monday, March 9, 2015

Deli Man Official Trailer 1 (2015) - Documentary HD

   I saw the movie DELI MAN yesterday. It is a documentary about delis and how they are becoming extinct. What I found extremely interesting is though many people associate delis with Jews , they really weren't created by Jewish people. Delis did not exist in Eastern Europe. There were delis in Germany , but they weren't really a Jewish phenomenon . German delis were highly trief as they had a lot of pork products there. Germans brought the deli to the United States and in the early twentieth century they were the fast food of the time. When Eastern European Jews came to America the young people were enamoured with deli cuisine and many Jewish people opened kosher delis , and added some Eastern European dishes to the menu. A kosher or Jewish deli was a way for immigrant Jews to assimilate into American culture and eventually delis became associated with Jewish culture. Jewish food really is the food of  the countries we live in . The United States is no different.
           The film interviews several deli owners from around the United States and Canada. This is where things got very interesting. They featured a Houston based deli , a Toronto based deli , a California based deli as well as a few in New York.
            The golden age of the deli was the 1930's and 1940's. This explains a lot. I never really thought of delis as being Jewish or as having Jewish food . The golden age of the deli was way before my time. It was more of my grandparents' era.  My parents were very heath conscious . Though we never had white bread, we rarely ate cold cuts.
             The movie is more like an ode to the deli rather than a celebration . Many of the old  Yiddish speaking immigrants have passed on . The younger generation that is not so observant is not so into deli food. Religious Jews aren't necessarily into deli food. The few deli's that exist are of a dying breed. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Aside from being kosher or matzoh or challah, Jewish food is not really a specific cuisine, its more dependent on what country that  Jews live in.
            Ziggy Gruber has a deli in Houston where one would not think of as being a great place to open a Jewish deli, but he is successful because he has become somewhat of a Jewish celebrity there and his restaurant has become a place where Jewish people connect to their Judaism.
          DELI MAN does not really specify whether most of the delis in the film are kosher . It mostly explores a deli as being part of 'Jewish culture', Katz's , Carnegie deli and Stage door are mentioned as being specifically not kosher but of the deli men featured in the film the kashrus of their institutions are not really explored.
         DELI MAN does not make me want to eat a corned beef sandwich,. It does not really make me wish that I lived in the golden age of the New York deli. It is however a nice epilogue to the golden age of the deli and to the 'gastro Jew' . Feivish Finkel, Freddy Roman and Jerry Stiller are featured as New York Jews reminiscing about delis.  I am not sure that the goal of the film was comedy, but I did find the film to be quite comedic.
         Judaism really is about religion. Kashrus separates us from the rest of the world, but the genre of our kosher food is not what keeps us around. Thank goodness. It really does not matter whether or not Delis exist twenty years from now. Judaism will be making Jews Jewish as it always has been.


CJS said...

my FIL just told me to see it. I look forward. Gotta go to theatres or is it online? CJS

frum single female said...

Its in the theatres now. Its cute