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Jewish Journal

Redefining Deli at Saul’s

by Rob Eshman

January 27, 2010 | 8:32 pm

Pickle a la Pollan: Local organic pickles from Saul's Deli in Berkeley

Here’s an event worth attending—hopefully we’ll be able to get a reporter to cover it.

On Feb. 9, a group of leading food writers and activists will convene at Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, CA to discuss the future of the Jewish deli in light of growing consciousness about the sources of our food. 

The questions before them, according to a press release, are:

What does sustainability mean for the future of Deli cuisine and culture?


Local, organic VS. industrial systems, externalized costs of cheap food and . . . collective memory and food traditions?


Even “authentic” cuisine can obstruct progress towards more just, sustainable food. How does a business committed to being part of the solution persuade traditionalist customers of the importance of change?


For example, towering pastrami sandwiches once signified success, security and abundance, an immigrant’s celebration of the American Dream. But given the realities of meat production in America today – 99% is factory farmed – how can we continue to stand by this as an icon? What taste memories and flavors of The Deli have been provided by an industrial food system?


How can we look at our nostalgia critically? How might we evolve a shared cuisine together and how can we bring our people along with us - away from grieving the disappearing deli, into the conversation and into the future?

The panelists are Michael Pollan, Journalist, Author, modern day foodie Moses (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food), Gil Friend, CEO of Natural Logic, Author: The Truth About Green Business, Willow Rosenthal, Founder, City Slicker Farms, Karen Adelman and Peter Levitt, Co-Owners, Saul’s Restaurant and Deli. 

It will be moderated by LA’s own Evan Kleiman, Host of KCRW’s Good Food, whose restaurant Angeli Caffe used to make the best carciofi alla giudia in town (Attention Mark Peel: the ones you make at your new The Tar Pit don’t cut it… heavy and greasy, an Iowa state fair version of a Jewish Italian classic.  You’re supposed to separate the leaves.  Call Evan. Call Joan Nathan. Go back to La Taverna del Ghetto and learn at the feet of the masters).

If any readers plan on being there, please let me know.

Here’s the particulars:

Feb 9, 6:00 PM
Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door
Proceeds benefit The Center for Ecoliteracy

**Kitchen will be closed, regular menu not available from 4 pm on**

At Saul’s Restaurant and Deli
1475 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709

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