Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Katz’s: Autobiography of a Delicatessen Jake Dell; Baldomero Fernandez, photographer; Adam Richman, fwd Bauer and Dean 2013 384 Pages $39.95 ISBN: 978-0983863267 (IBRCookBooks)

Meet Katz’s, the oldest delicatessen in the U.S., celebrating its 125th birthday with a book as thick and as juicy as a Katz’s pastrami sandwich.

Katz’s will tell you all you want to know about this New York landmark, which has passed from family to family over the years, maintaining its reputation as one of the city’s premier destinations for the fressers of the world. A brief affectionate history by Jake Dell, one of the current owners, opens the book, and then Dell takes us inside the restaurant, starting with the floor plan and closing, an inch and a half of photos later, with pictures of every staff member from the co-owners to delivery men, even the security guards, who don’t work for the restaurant “but [are] still part of the family.”

This fat family photo album—in full color—cap­tures every operation, every nook and cranny, every detail, of the restaurant, and by the time you’ve leafed through its more 300 pages and 600+ pictures, you’ve seen it all—the stockroom, the kitchen, the directions to the restrooms, the making of a sandwich slice of pastrami by slice, the tables waiting to be cleared of leftover french fries—and you’re ready to eat.

If Katz’s is your deli, this is your book. It tells you everything you want to know, down to the difference between pastrami and corned beef and sour and half sour pickles. Autobiography and love story.

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