by Leslie Uhl, CCP
Is there such a thing as gourmet lunch meat?
Good question, self. Let’s explore the idea…
First let’s talk about the word “gourmet”. Literally. It’s a noun AND an adjective, the Webster’s definition is “a person who enjoys and knows a lot about good food and wine”. It starts with a “g”, and it has seven letters. Boom. Done.
Now let’s talk meat. Whether you call them lunch meats, cold cuts, deli meats, or otherwise, we can essentially break down the category into three parts: Whole meats, formed meats, and processed meats.
WHOLE MEATS are just like they sound—a whole section of a singular protein, unaltered in shape and cooked in a single unit. Think roast beef.
FORMED MEATS take portions of a single protein and bind them together to make a sort of “loaf” that might resemble a whole meat. Think deli-sliced chicken breast—if a single chicken actually made that giant chunk of all-white-breast-meat, I’d be terrified if it crossed the road at me. I don’t even need to know his purpose in crossing, I’d just get the heck out of there.
PROCESSED MEATS are essentially sausages, with portions of meat ground, chopped, pureed, etc. and combined in a uniform casing or size. Think bologna or hot dogs, soppressata or genoa salami.
Here’s the magical part—if we combine the two terms, we get the Di Bruno’s Certified Definition of Gourmet Lunch Meat:
(noun): a whole, formed, or processed meat who enjoys and knows a lot about good food and wine
End of post.
Or not! The thing about words is that sometimes smashing them all together ends up muting the beauty of the idea behind the words, which is exactly what our Philadelphia neighbors, Dietz & Watson, thought when they started the arduous and love-filled task of creating a top-shelf line of antibiotic-free and nitrate-free meats. Words like “artisan” or “gourmet”, to the savvy consumer of today, no longer ring any bells because anyone and everyone can use those words to describe a product. So when the now-fourth-generation owner/operators sat down to create a better-for-you option in their nationally-renowned deli line, they started by scrapping all the “fluff” words and getting down to the nitty-gritty:
- • No antibiotics ever
• No Nitrates or Nitrates added
- • Hormone Free
- • Preservative Free
- • 100% Vegetarian Grain Fed
- • Humanely Raised on Family Farms
- • Gestation Crate Free
- • rBST Free Cheese
Not to mention the handful of Certified Organic selections that round out their new line of products, known as Dietz & Watson Originals. They’re making meats the way their founder, Gottlieb Dietz, was doing it back in 1939. (Sound familiar? That’s the same year we opened in the Italian Market!) When we started carrying their line, we needed to celebrate the awesomeness with some DB-worthy recipes for bites and sandwiches that are meant to convey what the word “gourmet” just can’t.
In conclusion, and to those who might ask why we, Di Bruno Bros. and our history of Culinary Pioneering, would take the time to focus on deli meats when we’re better known for house-cured salumi and cheeses from far and wide, I reply with this:
If our commitment to culinary excellence and our offering of the highest quality foods and ingredients doesn’t include our everyday items like salt, butter, chips, bottled water, or deli meat, then how can we truly be sure we’re feeding our families the best of the best? We’re proud to offer our beloved shoppers the finest everything, and we refuse to draw a line. Especially when it comes to our sandwiches—we looooove our sandwiches!