The Chimerical Beef Salami

Jackie Lilinshtein // New York, NY

Don’t miss Jackie Lilinshtein’s first memoir, Imbibing Pork in Andalucia.

At one time in my life, I did believe that the most delicious kosher beef salami existed.

I was the only one in my family that didn’t eat pork, so my mother used to bring back a special Hungarian Salami from the Russian meat shops in Brighton Beach just for me. The salami was impeccably cured, properly marbled, delicately salted and shaped to fit perfectly on a fresh slice of rye bread. I would eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and even for late night snacks.

One day in my nice Conservative Jewish high school, a friend’s lunch contained a very unappealing slice of salami that came from those red tubes in the deli section known as Hebrew National Soft Beef Salami. Later that day, I told my mother I should bring some of my beef salami to school to introduce my friend to a higher quality product.

“You can’t bring it to school, it’s not kosher,” my mother told me.

“Why don’t they just use kosher beef so more people will eat it?” I innocently replied.

“Well, the pork is what tastes so good, so that would be a bit difficult”.

And suddenly my world shattered. I later learned my mother never told me that I was eating pork because she didn’t have the heart to ruin the food I loved so much. Although I can’t eat it anymore, I still secretly thank my mother for allowing me the short time I had to enjoy it.

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