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The 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook: Recipes and Memories from Abe Lebewohl's Legendary Kitchen Hardcover – October 5, 1999


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The 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook: Recipes and Memories from Abe Lebewohl's Legendary Kitchen + America's Great Delis: Recipes and Traditions from Coast to Coast + Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037550267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375502675
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 7.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The food at The 2nd Ave. Deli is what your grandmother, mother, or a friend's family cooked. (Especially if you are not Jewish but loved being well fed.) From its recipes for Schmalz (the rendered chicken fat indispensable to real, old-fashioned Jewish dishes) and what is arguably the best chopped liver in the world, to Health Salad (a mayonnaise-less, sweet coleslaw), potato kugel (a dense, crisp-crusted pudding), six versions of chicken soup, a Honey Chiffon Cake served for Jewish New Year, and Mandelbrot, an almond-studded Jewish biscotti, this cookbook offers the best of the hefty, soul-satisfying Jewish cooking that is the ultimate comfort food.

Having survived World War II, and, at 19, hungry to succeed, Abe Lebewohl arrived in New York City in 1950, a Jewish immigrant from Russia. His first job was working in a deli on Coney Island. In 1954, he took over the tiny luncheonette near New York's bustling Lower East Side, which he renamed the 2nd Ave. Deli. From that day forward, he looked after his customers (and everyone else he felt needed it) with spontaneous generosity. The stories in this book from his daughter and other people who knew Abe bring to life the passion and love he served along with the best authentic Jewish home cooking--making it clear why he was called the Mayor of Second Avenue. The deli, a magnet for tourists and New York City locals, is now also a memorial to Abe Lebewohl, who was killed in 1996 during a robbery after the restaurant had closed for the night. His daughter wrote this cookbook as a memorial to him, as well as to share the family's recipes for elemental Jewish cooking. Its 166 recipes, black-and-white photographs, and inspiring text make this a joyful celebration by his family and friends. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

This is a cookbook that will bring a tear to readers' eyes, and not just because it will have them chopping four onions for Chopped Liver. In 1996, Abe Lebewohl, owner of New York's famed Second Avenue Deli, was murdered; now Sharon, Lebewohl's daughter and current deli steward, and food writer Bulkin present recipes from the New York establishment as well as touching and funny anecdotes from the many people who adored him. The famous and less-famous contribute recipes along with their stories: food critic Mimi Sheraton recalls hearing Lebewohl explain matzo ball soup to a Japanese journalist (a monologue that included an overview of the Old Testament) and offers her Favorite Matzo Balls. Alfred Portale, chef and owner at the swanky Gotham Bar and Grill, recalls Lebewohl's generous praise and provides a recipe for Whole Roast Red Snapper with Tomatoes, Lemon and Thyme. Lebewohl, who was such a friend to working people that he once provided free lunches to striking NBC workers for 21 weeks, would appreciate the profile of veteran waitress Diane Kassner, famous for her quips (Customer: How is the stuffed breast of veal served? Diane: On a plate). Recipes from the restaurant itself are traditional Eastern European Jewish fareAe.g., Kreplach and Gefilte Fish. There are also a smattering of such Middle Eastern dishes as Falafel and Tabbouleh and a few concessions to today's lighter eating habits (Turkey Meat Loaf and Broiled Fillet of Sole ? la Second Avenue). The latter recipes belie a talk Lebewohl once gave on the topic "Is Deli Dying in New York?" where he quipped: "What am I gonna tell you? My food will kill you." (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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I look forward to trying many of the recipes!
kathi jo wolfe
The recipes are easy to follow and best of all, they are just about fool-proof.
Sharon Stakofsky-Davis
I gave this book as a gift and used it my self as well.
classic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
All those years I naively ate my soup and sandwich at the counter, or got takeout, and I never knew about the famous clientele. This is a magnificent cookbook that combines recipes and stories that prove that one person, even a restauranteur, can make a difference in the big city. The 2nd Avenue Deli makes 1,000 pounds of cole slaw a day. That's alot of cabbage even for the East Village. It serves 400,000 meals per year, and touches the lives of those fressers in a big way. Of the 166 recipes, the following are worth the price of the book alone...the chopped liver, the challah-apple stuffing, Paul Reiser's egg cream, and Morley Safer's memories.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the first cookbook that I found to be a pleasure to read. It was entertaining, touching, and filled with recipes that really work. This book is a wonderfully delicious tribute to a great man and his legacy to Second Avenue.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful cookbook for any kitchen. The recipes are delicious and easy to follow. So far, I've made the macaroni salad, cholent, lemon bars, chicken soup, chicken salad, hummus and the brownies. All these recipes got raves from my family -- especially the brownies (these were the best I've ever tasted). One word of caution - these recipes are made to feed a lot of people (they come from a deli, no wonder) so it's best to make them when you're planning to have at least 8-10 people to feed. Enjoy!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Stakofsky-Davis on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is fabulous. I originally saw it in the library and borrowed it. After borrowing it three times, I decided to buy it. I've made just about everything in the book and many of these foods are the same foods I remember my grandmother making. The gribbinis is one I remember very fondly. I still have memories of my jewish grandmother serving it to my dad at her kitchen table in Brooklyn, New York when I was about 10 years old.
I've introduced my sons who are 15 and 18 to many of these dishes and so far they have loved every single one of them. The recipes are easy to follow and best of all, they are just about fool-proof. I didn't have any problem with any of the recipes. Just when I think one recipe can't be outdone, I try another and it is just as good.
A MUST HAVE for anyone who wants to learn about jewish cooking and for jews who grew up in NYC and had eastern european family. These foods are the type of jewish cooking that can be appreciated by anyone, even if they are not jewish.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deli Food Lover on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I recently bought this book when I found out the deli was closing.I have tried the noodle pudding,potato pancakes,macaroni salad,and matzo balls.All are out of this world!I love this book and plan to make many more of the recipes.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've received this cookbook expecting recipes. What I got was really entertaining stories of a great man and his generousity to his many friends and total strangers. The food recipes are equally wonderful. I've tried the Roast beef and potato latkes fantastic! I live in Iowa and there isn't a deli within 150 miles. Sharon thank you for sharing your dad's story and recipes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "jcramlet" on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you have any interest in comfort food (or just good food, period), this book is a must-have. Every recipe I have tried has gotten rave reviews; try the three-ingredient Pot Roast (you won't believe anything so good can be so ridiculously easy!). In addition to the great recipes, the memories of Abe Lebewohl are very touching.
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40 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Grew up eating at 2nd Ave Deli. Ordered book expecting to see specifics on how to feel the texture of food when ready, how to smell when the meat is done, the taste of the dishes when seasoned correctly, etc. I wanted to read simple recipes as chicken stock or pastrami sandwiches with what bread, which mustard etc. Instead, got some token personal info on owner and family but with significant portion of recipes from entertainment stars, etc. who had dined at the 2nd Ave Deli and had a recipe for some dish. A revised edition would sell extremely well at times when 1st and 2nd generations are trying to collect authentic recipes that survived Ellis Island and the era of New York City when immigrants were their foods and rituals. Diasappointed.
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