Congratulate me and my co-author Geri Clauston on our cookbook, Eat, Read and Dream, winning First Place in the Instructional & Insight Non-Fiction Chanticleer International CIBA Awards. Purchase details at bottom of page.

Pastrami on Rye

Pastrami Sandwiches (8).jpeg

As a Deli man's daughter, I couldn't resist matching a Pastrami on Rye sandwich with this month's Foodie Lit choice, much of which takes place in a Deli.  My Dad,always made the sandwich on Rye with Russian Dressing. While some have the coleslaw on the side, in true Jewish Deli fashion, my coleslaw was placed on the sandwich, dripping a little as I ate.  

When I entered my Dad's Deli, my mouth used to water upon seeing the barrel of sour pickles. I would put my hand into the barrel and oh! the puckering of the mouth and the ecstasy of the sourness.


While there are few pickle barrels today, the sour pickles I eat from a jar are almost as good as I remember. I’m including my Dad’s Cole Slaw recipe and Russian Dressing recipe below.

Foodie Lit


Reading Boychik by Laurie Boris took me back to the tastes and smells of my Dad’s deli—the sour pickles, the pastrami sandwiches, the lox and the deli salads. Set for much of the novel is set in Brooklyn in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, both neighborhoods with which I am very familiar.

Like main characters, cousins Eli and Artie Abramowitz, my dad was born in Williamsburg and was only 2 years younger than Eli. His dream was to own a deli, which he did many years later.

In Brooklyn Heights, a wealthy neighborhood then and now, another main character grows up, Evelyn Rosenstein, daughter of Murder Incorporated mobster. What happens when these characters meet is an absorbing story, filled with romance, crime, and dreams, where Hollywood and life intertwine.

Dad’s Cole Slaw


Serves 8


Measurements in parentheses are for 1/2 the recipe, serving 4.



2 cups (1) sugar

1 cup (1/2) cup water

4 (2) tablespoons kosher salt

¼ cup (2 tablespoons) apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon (1/2 ) pepper

2 teaspoons (1) celery salt

2 (1) cloves garlic, minced

2 cups (1) cup mayonnaise


¼ cup (2 tablespoons) onions, minced

1 (1/2) medium cabbage, cored and chopped

2 (1) green pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced

2 (1) carrot, grated


  1. Heat water to near boiling.

  2. Mix sugar and hot water together in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Add salt, vinegar, pepper, celery salt and garlic. Stir. Add mayonnaise. Mix together until lumpy. (My Dad called the liquid the "soup."

  4. Add onions, cabbage, peppers and carrots. Stir to have “soup” cover vegetables.

  5. Let stand for 3 hours or overnight in refrigerator before serving.



  1. Spread Russian Dressing on both slices of rye bread.

  2. Place pastrami in aluminum foil and heat in oven or toaster oven on 350F for 8-10 minutes or until meat is warm. You can also heat the pastrami on a plate in the microwave, wrapped in parchment paper. Heat for 2-3 minutes on a medium level or until warm. Drain any liquid.

  3. Place several slices of pastrami on one slice of bread. Drain the Cole Slaw before putting it on the sandwich.

  4. Slice the sandwich in half and place a sour pickle on the plate. If it were for me, I would place several pickles.

Russian Dressing


3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon white horseradish, optional


Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until using and after using.


Expandthetable suggestions


Meat: You can use corned beef instead of pastrami or a combination of the two. The combo is my husband's favorite. 

Cole Slaw

Allium free: Substitute 2 tablespoons radishes, finely chopped for onions and garlic. Diabetic: Substitute stevia for sugar, following package instructions for conversion measurements

Red Bell Pepper: Add 1/2 red bell pepper for color.

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