Brief: Nostalgia for London’s lost Jewish food scene

Ariella Budick’s article on the death of Jewish deli culture in New York (“A wry look at the American Jewish deli,” Visual Arts, January 18) received wide coverage in London. Where are the salted beef sandwiches, potato latkes, pickles (Haimishe or comfort food) of yesteryear?

I remember Bloom’s in Whitechapel in the 1960s – closed in 2010 but in decline long before that – and even more so the very popular Gaby’s Deli which closed in 2018. Now the closest thing you can get to sandwiches with dried out pastrami seems to be tasteless cheese.

There are the cookbooks: the traditionalist Florence Greenberg and the great Claudia Roden, whose recipe for halibut with egg and lemon sauce is a delight to cook and eat. But the Eastern European Jewish food culture that they came from is almost extinct, at least outside of the domestic kitchen.

We need a Jewish James Joyce to do it justice.

jon star
Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, UK

London Herald