What does sustainability mean for the future of Deli cuisine and culture? Local, organic versus industrial systems, externalized costs of cheap food and...collective memory and food traditions.
"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 percent 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?
Karen Adelman and Chez Panisse alum Peter Levitt strive to steward a Jewish cuisine reflecting season, time and place, reconnecting with traditional culinary practices.
In the States, Karen Adelman, the California native born of New Yorkers, enjoyed a Jewish education developed mainly via palate. Twice annually her family made pilgrimages to New York eateries in the city and the boroughs. In this way she came to know "what was what."
Meanwhile Karen studied Sociology and Mass Communications at UC Berkeley. She waited tables at Saul's after her publishing office was crushed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Eventually Karen came to manage Saul's. Karen called Peter out of teaching to help her purchase and run Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen with her. They never stop talking with other deli colleagues. They eat widely and argue passionately.
Gil Friend is President and CEO, Natural Logic Inc.
He was a founding board member of internet pioneer Institute for Global Communications, and played key or founding roles in such seminal environmental enterprises as EcoNet, GreenLine, the California Office of Appropriate Technology, and Buckminster Fuller's "World Game." He was co-founder and Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, one of the nation's leading urban ecology and economic development think-tanks.
Mr. Friend has written extensively and lectures widely on sustainability issues. He holds an MS in Systems Ecology from Antioch University, a black belt in Aikido, and is a seasoned presenter of "The Natural Step" environmental management system.
Evan Kleiman is the renowned owner and executive chef of one of LA's favorite restaurants, Angeli Caffe, and best-selling author of numerous cookbooks, including Cucina Fresca and Pasta Fresca.
Kleiman brings to Good Food a rich and varied background -- as scholar of Italian cooking and culture, entrepreneur and trend-setter for the popular trattoria concept, avid gardener, and admired teacher and chef -- which has won her the esteem of her culinary colleagues both here and abroad.
Karen Adelman and Chez Panisse alum Peter Levitt strive to steward a Jewish cuisine reflecting season, time and place, reconnecting with traditional culinary practices. Peter Levitt's family in South Africa was on the reform side of Jewish identity but he personally chose to pursue his religion seriously in his early life. Peter spent many hours praying and studying. Fortunately his mother's kitchen also figured prominently in his childhood. Many, many hours reading the torah were complimented by a sumptuous variety of many Ashkenazi comfort foods. Eventually Peter found himself in California.
After studying Mathematics and Chinese Language at UC Berkeley, Peter decided to cook. Naturally. He worked in Oliveto's kitchen for four years and Chez Panisse for two. Then it followed as a matter of course, he became a math teacher at MLK Middle School. Karen called Peter out of teaching to help her purchase and run Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen with her.
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a New York Times bestseller.
His previous books include The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001); A Place of My Own (1997); and Second Nature (1991). A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism.
Pollan served for many years as executive editor of Harper's Magazine and is now the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley. His articles have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing 2004, Best American Essays 2003, and the Norton Book of Nature Writing.
Willow Rosenthal is the founder of City Slicker Farms, a non-profit urban agriculture organization in West Oakland.
Food Rules author Michael Pollan argues that sustainability in the traditional Jewish deli is achievable. He says that industrial agriculture has changed what once was considered deli food, and favors a return to older methods.