The Care and Feeding of The University of Michigan Solar Car Team

United Meat & Deli frequently gets hit on for donations of food. After all, it’s a universal truth that people have to eat. And we try to be a company that gives back to the community when it’s possible and feasible for us to do so.

So when the University of Michigan Solar Car Team asked for help, we were glad to respond.

Eric Hausman (L) and Noah Kaczor, Operations stand next to panel with sponsor names

The U of M Solar Car Team (UMSCT), is an entirely student-run student organization that designs, builds, runs, and races electric solar cars. Each year the team enters a vehicle in the American Solar Challenge. This year, the race starts in Rochester, NY, and runs for over 1650 miles of open road through every single state that borders the Great Lakes. Prior to the official race, the team goes through a qualifying, closed track event called the Formula Sun Grand Prix. This is the first time that the race has run through Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan.

All of the work from these dedicated students requires ingenuity, planning, money, and ┬á. . .food. According to student Eric Hausman, an operations project manager on the UMSCT, a team of 20 students accompanies the car at all times, traveling in a 5 car/1 truck caravan (provided by sponsors). During the time they are not in a campsite or fixed site, they are on the open highway. Because it’s a race, stopping at McDonald’s is just not an option. ­čśë

So it is necessary for crew operations like Eric to plan meals in advance. The team depends heavily on portable food like sandwiches that can be pre-made and stowed in the vehicles for consumption on the road. In prior years, Eric states that the team lived on PB & J sandwiches for lack of a healthier, quicker option.

So when asked for a healthy, tasty deli meat that could be easily stored, sandwiched, and stowed, UMD was there with its Farmer Sy’s All Natural Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast.

UMD was asked to provide enough product for 4 lunches for each team member during the practice race held in early June, and to double it to 8 lunches each for the actual July event. That’s 240 lunches! In all, the UMSCT will consume approximately 65 pounds of turkey and 16 pounds of swiss cheese donated by UMD.

Cereal is usually eaten for breakfast.

Here’s the race route. Join us in support the UMSCT

Check out more pictures from pre-race preparations on our Facebook Page under Photos.

How Do You Store A Salami?

(This post was written by Sy Ginsberg. Yes, THE Sy Ginsberg. The guy who’s name is on the corned beef – and salami – packaging. He insisted on writing it, and who argues with greatness? :-))

So who can tell me what this contraption is?

I’ll bet nobody guessed that it is a salami keeper, probably because you have never heard of or seen one before. So I know you are asking if I am making this up.

No, friends, it really is a salami keeper. This decorative metal cylinder has a removable cover, so a 2 lb. kosher-style salami can be stored in the cylinder. The hook at the top allows the keeper containing the salami to hang freely. It is a lot nicer than having a salami hanging from a kitchen cupboard knob. At least that’s what my wife claims.

In the late 60’s, when I owned my first deli in Detroit, a customer who enjoyed salami came to me with this invention, which he conceived in his metal fabrication shop. I thought it was a great idea, so I bought bunches of them, and sold all of them over the course of a couple of years.

I had not seen one in many years, though, and have no idea what happened to mine. But while chatting with my friend and former bro-in-law Dr. Steve Rope, he mentioned that he and his wife Jeri still had theirs, and use it all the time. The picture, and this blog post, followed.

Let’s face it, salami tastes better at room temperature, and even better with some age on it. It dries a little – or a lot, if you like hard salami – but it needs to hang freely without touching anything, otherwise it might get a little moldy. Regulations require us to say “keep refrigerated”, but I never do in my house.

But my wife sure gets tired of salami hanging from the cupboard door.

What about you? Is there an invention or contraption that never made the mainstream but you still use? Tell us in the comments.

 

The New York City Soda Ban – What Comes Next?

Under the proposed ban, you could buy a small (12 oz.) or medium (16 oz) MDonalds Iced Carament Mocha, but not a large (22 oz).

In case you haven’t read about it yet, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed banning the sale the ban of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York eateries, food carts and stadiums.

Citing the rapid rise of obesity in the city, the proposed ban is only on sweetened options that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces.

We understand the health risks posed by obesity, and we do not maintain that government avoid food industry regulation altogether. After all, our own business is inspected by the federal government daily for food safety.

The problem – and once again, we know there is a problem – is that Americans are not overweight solely because of a reliance on over-sized portions of sugary drinks. The problem is a combination of many different things: dependence on motorized transportation and a sedentary lifestyle, high intake of processed foods, particularly those containing corn and soy additives, government subsidies for that same corn industry, and consumer demand for large portion sizes.

But picking on sweet soft drinks alone doesn’t seem to attack any of these problems. It just gives a small portion of the problem a disproportionately large part of the blame. It’s like banning pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving dinner but allowing people to consume massive quantities of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Our company does not manufacture soft drinks or have a vested interest in selling them, so we are not against this legislation for selfish reasons. But we do think that this ban is a lopsided attempt to deal with the issue, and we are rightly concerned that banning large soda will create a slippery slope that will be hard to get back up.

 

The Molly Goldberg Cookbook – How To Make Kishke

If you are over the age of 65, or are a student of pre-television American radio, you probably know who Molly Goldberg was. But since it is statistically likely that you are neither, allow us to explain.

Molly Goldberg was a fictional character who began her life as the stereotypical Jewish mother on a radio program called The Goldbergs. The show was broadcast from 1928 until 1946, then moved to television and was aired in various versions until 1956.

Even back then, merchandise tie-ins were the norm. And what better way to merchandise a meddlesome Jewish mother than with a cookbook?

Sy Ginsberg is the owner of “The Molly Goldberg Cookbook”, copyright 1955. It was inherited from his mother Faney, who began her working life as a deli waitress and cook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, this book is very well used, because it contains recipes for what is basically the entire traditional Ashkenazi Jewish diet. At one time, most of these dishes were as common at any Jewish deli as corned beef and challa.

Sadly, those Jewish delis that remain today have removed many of their traditional Jewish dishes for a variety of reasons, such as lack of consumer demand, high food costs, and labor intensive preparation.

Because we hate to see these traditional Jewish foods fade into historical oddities, we have decided to post some recipes from The Molly Goldberg Cookbook from time to time, hoping to encourage people to see what they are missing. Here’s the first.

Kishke (Stuffed Derma or Casing)

  • 1 beef casing (12-15 inches long)
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3 Ts matzo meal
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup + 4 Ts melted shortening
  • 2 onions, sliced
Wash the derma thoroughly in cold water, scrape the inside, and then wash again in warm water. Dry. Sew one end of the derma to close.
Mix the flour, matzo meal, salt, pepper, paprika, and grated onion together. Add the 1/2 cup of melted shortening and mix well. Stuff the derma lightly with the mixture and sew the open end.  Place in boiling water for 2 minutes then removed carefully.
Place the 4 tablespoons of shortening and the sliced onions in a baking dish. Place the stuffed derma on top.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours, basting frequently. Remove and slice about 3/4 inch pieces and serve hot with meat or poultry.
Note – many of the terms in the cookbook have been Anglicized for a non-Jewish audience. So no comments about how a real Jewish recipe would call for schmaltz and not “melted shortening”. :-)
Do you know of a deli or other Jewish restaurant that still makes and sells great kishke? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

 

 

 

What Food Holiday Is It Today?

This week on our Facebook Page we are acknowledging a different “National [insert food name] Day” every single day, and imagining how that food would pair with traditional deli.

For example, yesterday was National Buttermilk Biscuit day, which naturally conjurs up visions of a sandwich on a biscuit instead of bread. Of course, that’s been done many times with sausage and eggs, but probably not corned beef or pastrami.

Today is National Chocolate Chip day. Remove your favorite sandwich condiment and insert chocolate chips in its place. If you dare.

Tomorrow is National Coquille St. Jacques Day, so think about how you can incorporate that dish into traditional deli. Go to our Facebook Page, give us a like, and let us know what you came up with. Or tell us here in the comments.

Who decides what food to honor on any given day, anyway? We don’t know if there’s more, but we are using the May list from The Nibble┬áspecialty food magazine.

 

 

Does a Deli Need to Offer Public Wireless to Survive?

Let’s face it. We’ve walked into many a restaurant, deli or otherwise, and brought out our cell phones and tablets looking for a public wireless network to check our email or check into Facebook places. We’re not alone, either. This is a trend anytime the public is going to be sitting in one spot for more than a few minutes.

While most customers are not at the point where they will leave if there is no wireless – will they come back? Will the availability of free wireless be a tipping point for customers in the near future, actively figuring in their dining choices?

Apparently some restaurants and coffee shops think otherwise, claiming that having patrons lingering over their laptops or other electronic devices actually impedes their business by having the customers tie up the tables for too long (it’s called “turning the table” in the industry jargon).

While we know that every deli owner has to decide this issue on an individual basis, taking a lot of different factors into account, we wonder if banning laptops or otherwise trying to turn tables quickly is the right way to go. Can a deli maintain an old-fashioned atmosphere and sensibility while embracing new trends and techniques to attract customers? It’s good advertising for the restaurant to have patrons check into Foursquare or Facebook places, right? Should the restaurant provide them with the wireless means to do so?

What’s your answer?

Deli and the Movies

The movie “The Five Year Engagement” opens in theaters today. We obviously haven’t seen it yet, but we know that it was partially filmed in Ann Arbor and that Zingerman’s Deli has a supporting part.

We are always happy to see deli depicted in the movies, and we are particularly happy to see our friends from Zingerman’s onscreen.

We don’t know yet how funny any scenes at the deli in “The Five Year Engagement” will be, but we are pretty sure of this: they will not be able to top the best movie scene ever to take place in a deli. Yes, we mean the fake orgasm scene from “When Harry Met Sally”, ┬áset in Katz’s Deli in New York City.

But not everyone can be the best, can they? Being the best means that sometimes perfectly good seconds or thirds get shunted aside and forgotten.

We don’t want to forget any good scenes of deli in the movies, so tell us: what’s your second or third or fourth best? All comments made by 5:00 pm EDST on April 30th that list a movie deli scene besides WHMS will be entered to win a $25.00 movie or Amazon.com gift certificate and a UMD T-shirt.

(p.s. Our second favorite is the Carnegie Deli scene of borscht belt comedians in Broadway Danny Rose. Extra prize will go to anyone who lists our third favorite in the comments!)

 

Detroit Tigers Opening Day

If corned beef is Sy Ginsberg’s favorite non-living thing in the world – and we think it might be – then Detroit baseball has to be a really close second. The walls of his cramped office are covered in various forms of Tiger memorabilia, and he claims he has not missed an opening day game in over 40 years. Oh, yes. He has attended the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp in Lakeland, Florida over 10 times. He doesn’t remember the specific number.

So when the Detroit Tigers Fantasy Campers & Friends hold their annual Opening Day fundraiser for┬áJack’s Place For Autism, Sy – and United Meat & Deli – is right there to help. Each year the campers hold a tailgate party on opening day, where the admission price buys hamburgers, hotdogs, beer, and other donated goods. UMD proudly donates all of the meat for this fundraiser.

A sea of Tiger blue

That’s Sy on the left, and Jon Warden, pitcher with the 1968 world champion Tigers!

Jack’s is a local 501(c)(3) charity founded by Jim Price, former Tiger catcher and current color announcer to provide services to families dealing with autism, and to ultimately establish a physical center for long term care.

We Refuse To Call LFTB “Pink [blank]”

Let’s be transparent right up front. We don’t manufacture or process ground beef, so we don’t use or make Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB). We do trim beef briskets for corned beef, and some of those trimmings are sold to a broker for resale to other processors. They do not end up as LFTB, though, due to strict labeling and controls by the USDA. In essence, no one asked us to write this.

But we know that our beef trimmings are no different beef than the original brisket they are taken from. Briskets are trimmed by us because we make a premium product with briskets that are often hand-trimmed to specifications. By selling the trim, we help keep the cost of our product down and reduce waste.

Let’s repeat that: the ability to sell our trimmings helps reduce the cost of our product to the end consumer.

But now the media has jumped on a pejorative, disparaging term for LFTB and needlessly scared the crap out of the average consumer. We are not alone in believing that this is essentially a media tactic intended to boost ratings and readership. One expert calls it “careless and deliberate misinformation“. Another writer claims that the media “cares more about headlines than health.”

Unfortunately, this tactic has had a large negative impact on the entire beef industry, and the loser is the consumer.

The bottom line is that there is not one shred of evidence that LFTB is unhealthy or dangerous. But it is cost-effective, which means that the American consumer is going to be paying more for ALL beef products -including ours – in the future because of the smear against LFTB.

How fair is that?

So Who’s A Deli Maven?

Hopefully you read that title with a Yiddish-type accent, which is how it sounded in our head when we wrote it. ­čśë

That question came to mind while we were perusing a copy of the recently releasedThe Deli Maven’s Cookbook.┬áWe wondered what actually qualified the author, or anyone who might define themselves in this way, to lay claim to the phrase “deli maven”.

 

The word “maven” comes from that peculiar mash of Hebrew with Yiddish that most English-speaking Jews listened to while growing up. ┬áThe word wasn’t popularized until the 1960’s, and even some modern dictionaries do not recognize its validity. Most definitions, though, as well as the authority that is Wikipedia, state that a maven is a “trusted expert.”

But that begs the question, doesn’t it? Because what makes someone a trusted expert about deli?

We looked into The Deli Maven’s Cookbook for answers. Surely if the author is claiming expert status, his expertise is listed somewhere. Sure enough, in his chapter titled “I’m A Deli Maven”, author ┬áDavid W. Cowles lays out his expertise in one sentence: “Years of dining in delis on a regular basis.” The rest of the chapter disintegrates into a discussion of the history of cheesecake, and why LA has better deli than New York City.

Really?

We think it takes a lot more than eating deli regularly to call yourself a deli maven. In fact, we think that the phrase should be reserved only for those whose life was or is immersed in all things deli.

If you ask Sy Ginsberg if he’s a deli maven, his answer is “so I’ve been told.” He started working at Lou’s Deli in Detroit at the age of 15, opened his own deli at the ripe age of 23, and morphed into the wholesale distribution/meat processing side of deli at 35, where he remains to this day, more than 30 years later. That is more than 50 years of direct deli experience.

Sy is a deli maven because he is as close to a “trusted expert” as anyone is going to come. But what do YOU think makes someone a maven? Who do you trust for advice about any and all things deli? We’d love to hear your comments.