Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The eminently lovable Wiseass Jooette from Brooklyn - my natal turf, Esteemed Readers - sang the praises of a particular Deli Meat Sammitch in a recent post.
...I’d splurge on the soft, warm and succulent goodness of a corned beef, pastrami and turkey triple decker on club, with a side of stuffed derma (kishkes) swimming in brown gravy, two sour pickles, and a Dr. Brown’s Diet (why?) Black Cherry Soda.
Sounds like a near-perfect meal to me.

Of course, I might choose to order my sandwich structured a little differently. I am no great fan of the Triple-Decker, mainly because it has a higher bread-to-meat ratio than is absolutely necessary. I go for the Standard Sandwich Construction - meat between two slices of bread - and, as often as not, I will remove one of those slices and enjoy my sandwich open-faced. Thus do I feed the illusion that I am avoiding unnecessary carbs.

What sort of meat? you ask. To me, the Holy Trinity (you should excuse the expression) of Deli Meats consists of Pastrami, Corned Beef, and Tongue (“The Meat that Tastes You Back!”), and, should these prove insufficient, Chopped Liver may be added. Any single one of these Deli Meats is heavenly; a combination of two or more is profoundly soul-piercing.

Accoutrements: some coarse-grained brown mustard, thinly spread so as to complement, not overwhelm; and perhaps (if the mood so strikes me) some Russian dressing. Mayo? May your tongue - the one that you speak with - cleave to the roof of your mouth for even suggesting such a sacrilege. Bread: Jewish rye, of course, although a fine pumpernickel is a satisfying alternative for variety’s sake. Pickles: While kosher sour pickles have their devotees (Erica among them), I much prefer the crisp, garlicky snap of a bright green Half-Sour. Ba-Tampte produces an excellent example of the genre.

There is no more satisfying beverage with which to wash this whole mess down than with Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda. In my usual desire to save a modest number of calories in one area so that I may consume tenfold more elsewhere, I almost always order the diet version, which approximates the Sacred Original well enough for most purposes.

Erica’s post mentions stuffed derma (kishkes) [sic]. Technically, stuffed derma is known as kishke or kishka; kishkes means “intestines,” as in, “After I ate that triple-decker sandwich, my kishkes were killing me.”

Stuffed derma is a classic Jewish Catered Dinner Side Dish, very popular on the Bar Mitzvah circuit back in the ’60’s. It’s basically a mixture of carrots, celery, onions, suet, and flour (or matzoh meal), flavored with spices. Traditionally, it would be stuffed into a length of Beef Intestine (thus the name), baked, and served with beef gravy; these days it is, like as not, packed into some less scary type of casing.

What you should know about kishka is that it is (1) delicious (although non-Jews rarely understand its appeal), and (2) ferociously calorific. I’m surprised Steve H. Graham hasn’t discovered it yet, since it contains prodigious amounts of white flour and grease. Maybe if you made it with bacon grease...

But what I want to know is, how the hell can you eat a triple-decker Deli meat sandwich with a hunk of kishka on the side? That is truly a prodigious feat...but one I would not put past a Real Brooklynite.

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