Seinfeld as a secular Jewish icon

I taught a class on Seinfeld at the University for a Day program at the New School on March 12. We discussed the theme of etiquette in Seinfeld and watched the “Chinese Restaurant” episode in which the characters (except Kramer) wait on line for a table and never get seated. We also had a lively discussion about whether or not the characters on the show are supposed to be Jewish, even though most of them do not have Jewish names.

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Kosher Food and Wine Experience in NYC

I was privileged to attend this year’s Kosher Food and Wine Experience on February 22 at Chelsea Piers in New York. Dozens of kosher restaurants and vineyards were represented. I was struck by the slogan on the T-shirts for Pomegranate, a kosher supermarket in Flatbush: “Absolutely, without a doubt, the No. 1 Deli in the world.” Is the best Jewish deli now part of a grocery store? If so, this would actually be a return to the deli’s roots as a take-out gourmet store. And truly, the sausages and honey mustard corned beef were to die for, along with Shabbos specialties like cholen, kishke, and chopped liver.

At other booths, I sampled chicken livers cooked in duck fat (Glatt a la Carte in Borough Park), Texas cholent made with smoked BBQ ribs, brisket and sausage (got cholent? Inc. in Westchester), slow braised short rib ragout with Burgundy wine sauce (Abigael’s in Manhattan), hanger steak salad (Le Marais in Manhattan) and many other fleishig delights.

It was also good to catch up with some of the cookbook authors who were there, including Susie Fishbein and Gil Marks, as well as some of the chefs I know, such as Jeff Nathan from Abigael’s.

The setting was beautiful, with the sunset over the Hudson River. I’m looking forward to going back next year!

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preview of my lecture on the history of the Jewish deli

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