National hot pastrami sandwich day
January 14th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Meg Ryan was onto something - January 14 is National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.

Like most good life inventions, pastrami was created out of necessity. The preparation, which includes curing the meat, was ideal for saving valuable protein back when refrigeration didn't exist. The Romanian word for preserve - a păstra - is considered the root word of "pastrami."

Pastrami came to the U.S. via the Romanian Jews who settled in New York. Sussman Volk, a butcher, claimed to have introduced the hot pastrami sandwich in 1887 at his Delancey Street deli. As the story goes, in return for letting an acquaintance store some luggage at his shop, Volk got the man’s pastrami recipe.

At first, Sussman sold the meat in chunks, but then started slicing it thickly and putting it on bread with some mustard. He started selling out of the meat almost immediately and soon turned his butcher shop into a restaurant.

Traditional pastrami sandwiches are served on rye bread with brown mustard. Pastrami is most often made from the brisket cut of an animal. The meat is cured with a salty paste of spices like coriander, mustard seeds and black peppercorns, then smoked. Before being served, the meat is reheated.

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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News


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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Jimmy

    Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken."

    She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed. My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favorite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.

    January 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  2. Henry Lipshitz

    Richard Schwartz, did you just wake up from the 60's? Meat is an essential nutrient, especially if cooked properly. No ill feelings, you are probably healthier than most of us. My daughters are all vegetarians and my son and I make up for it. Sorry.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  3. Richard Schwartz

    Please forgive me, but as President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I feel it important to point out that for these few bites of Pastrami, multiplied by the many people eating them and other animal products, many animals are cruelly treated on factory farms, many people's health is impaired, and there are major contributions to climate change, water shortages, soil erosion, deforestation, rapid species loss, and other environmental problems. A major shift to plant-based diets is essential in order to shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

    January 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • VladT

      I'll switch to plant based diets when all other primates do

      January 19, 2013 at 9:36 am | Reply
  4. adam

    corned beef is pictured, not pastrami. come on, try harder.

    January 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  5. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Pastrami looks and smells like something between Lindsey Lohan's lower extremities.

    January 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • RichardHead@Jdizz

      Dan Pastrami–one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of ALL time. Without the bread.

      January 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply
      • RC@RichardHead

        Heh, heh, heh!

        January 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  6. Stephen Allard

    only if it looks and taste like the picture.....

    January 14, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply

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