Westfield, New Jersey
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Delicatessens: A Dissection of Definitions
The management of a delicatessen means more than the preparation of sandwiches for sale to the general market. To successfully run an eatery without running it into the ground, a savvy owner should comprehend the finer aspects of deli supervision. Below are 10 terms which you should be familiar with concerning the functioning of a gourmet delicatessen.
Kosher - This refers to a set of dietary laws in Jewish tradition which prohibits the consumption of certain entrees, especially pork. Those that cater to a Jewish market must take into account these restrictions.
Salami - A class of air-dried sausage which can be cut into thin slices for sandwiches. These come in many different versions, but the most famous include the Italian Sopressata and Pepperoni, which are usually made of pork. Kosher salami is also available, and these are made of beef instead. It is possible to eat these cold, as they are preserved by the salt and spices incorporated in their construction.
Bratwurst - A cover-all name for many different but related German sausages, these tend to be cooked and then eaten whole, although some may be consumed held in a bread roll. Fine bratwursts are also enjoyed as gourmet cuisine and should be cared for accordingly.
Sausage Stuffer - A machine which can create sausages by pushing ground meat into a casing. This can be used for both Italian and German sausages, as well as other varieties of sausage. Great care must be taken when using a sausage stuffer, as improper use may lead to serious injury.
Curing - In deli terms, curing is the use of salt to preserve foodstuffs. Many items, such as fish and sausages, are cured to slow decomposition as well as to add flavor.
Deli restaurants specialize in healthier sandwich options to avoid the higher calorie intake that comes with eating fast food. Deli food is synonymous with gourmet. The markets and shops will have higher quality meats and a wider selection to choose from. Some common European options are German or Italian. A German deli would include several kinds of bratwurst, liverwurst, and pate. Italian markets specialize in sausages and pastas.
Kosher food abides by Jewish dietary laws and may not be processed or cooked with non-kosher food including anything deriving from pork or shellfish. A local grocer may offer a wide selection of breads and bagels for sandwiches. If throwing a party, there are catering menu options that can be delivered. Vegetable trays, cheese spreads and salads are also complimentary for that type of meal. Some restaurants are set up as a café style that allow customers to eat at the bar or take-out.
Some markets will include their own bakery and have a selection of baked goods. Customers can choose their favorite slices of meats, breads and cheeses for a lunch time meal or to make deli-style meals from home. Deli markets are known for their gourmet selection as well as having healthy options. An important consideration is to know that not all foods in a deli are necessarily healthy food choices. Ask around and investigate to determine if your favorite deli foods are the most health conscious decisions. Any food that is considered gourmet will include a heftier price tag, but the benefits are clear in selection and taste.