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Bite into the history of the Jewish deli

Pastrami at Manny's (Photo ©2012 by Leah A. Zeldes).

Pastrami on rye at Manny's (Photo ©2012 by Leah A. Zeldes).

Jewish delicatessens such as Manny’s in the South Loop and Steve’s in River North are rare these days and getting more rare. That wasn’t always the case. Once, delicatessens were nearly as central to the Jewish-American experience as synagogues.

Ted Merwin, associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn., a writer on Jewish culture, will talk about “Pastrami on Rye: The Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli” at 10 a.m. Saturday at Kendall College on Goose Island. He’ll also detail how the deli became an icon of film, TV, music and comedy.

The event will also feature home-smoked pastrami made by Roundtable organizer Catherine Lambrecht.

The program is sponsored by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. Admission is $3. Reserve at ChicagoFoodwaysRoundtable@gmail.com with your name, telephone number and how many people in your group.