Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Forgotten Movies: DELIMAN
This documentary focuses on Ziggy Gruber, who co-owns a large deli in Houston and is also the grandson of the original owner of the Rialto Deli, the first Kosher deli to open on Broadway in New York City in the 1920s. The deli is the main love in this man's life. While the film also covers other famous Jewish delis in Manhattan, Queens, Los Angeles and San Francisco and their histories, the emphasis is on the cultural aspects of the food and how the culture and the desire for this food is disappearing. There were once thousands of these delis and now there's fewer than 150 left in the entire U.S. Such luminaries as Larry King, Jerry Stiller, Fyvush Finkel, Freddie Roman and Alan Dershowitz as well as various deli owners express their love for the culture and the food.
This is the description on IMDB and I would add that it sort of spells a death knell for the deli except as a cultural artifact. The food isn't healthy and younger people have not acquired the taste for it that their parents had. Ziggy is a great character and along with the deli, the love of his life is his grandfather who gave him his first apron at eight.
However nothing beats (for me) a corned beef sandwich on rye with coleslaw, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. I grew up in a neighborhood where this was as common as a hamburger. How about you? When was the last time you had lunch in a deli? I bet unless you live in an urban area, it was quite a while ago.