The word pastrami evolved from the Romanian pastrama, which likely originated from the Romanian phrase a pastra, meaning to keep or to preserve. Then why do Americans know pastrami as a brined, spice-crusted, smoked, and finally steamed deli meat? Because that kind of pastrami is worthy of joyful expletive-spouting. And joyful expletive-spouting is memorable. And it's the smoky spice crust that's the truly memorable part, because it has found its way onto bacon, salmon, tuna, and turkey, thus rendering the originsof the word pastrami...history. Multumesc, Romania.