Monday, May 30, 2011
Mila, our machatayneste, lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania, northeast of Philadelphia. That places it only slightly off the direct route from Wilmington to New York, a direct route that might have been jammed with people returning from their long holiday weekend at Delaware and New Jersey beaches. So, it was easy to arrange to visit her on our trip home, without any mind to Mila’s proclivity to put out enormous spreads of excellent food for any and all guests on short notice. However, as fate would have it, she pulled out some leftovers for us and four other people who happened to be within 172 miles of her kitchen. I don’t know where to start in reciting the menu, baked chicken and chicken croquettes, brown rice with mushrooms, potatoes with onions, broccoli, humus, ratatouille (or something similar), herring, red stuff to scoop up with pita. As we say at Passover, Da’yaynu (enough), but, just as the Haggadah teaches us, there is more. In this case, Mila’s homemade dark chocolate, multi-layered wafer cake. Avoiding the Jersey Turnpike, we got home in less than 2 hours via Washington’s Crossing to Flemington to Newark. Even the Lincoln Tunnel was not crowded. All thanks to Mila.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Grandpa Alan’s Economic Forecast
I want to reassure those of you who are concerned about the state of the American economy. A significant revival is already under way and will restore our financial health to a sound basis. In fact, the secret is no secret, but apparent all around you. You and your family may already be leading the way in effecting the turnaround which should produce the growth in jobs and earnings the nation has been anticipating.
As you know, the decline in housing has been the source of our economic woes. People stopped moving; they did not see the need for more space; construction of housing fell dramatically. While shady lending and investment practices contributed to this reversal of American fortunes, a critical element was ignored and no measures taken to curb its effect. The proximate cause of the decline in American residential construction was cargo pants. Men, women and children were buying and wearing cargo pants, then cargo shorts. Pockets appeared where pockets never were before. People had room to carry items that normally resided in desk drawers, on closet shelves, on tabletops. All this severely curbed the need for interior space. Folks felt comfortable in their living quarters, with room to move around, although slowed down some by the extra weight they were carrying. This situation was exacerbated by the massive backpacks carried by schoolchildren, which, even while opening up living space back home, made subway cars into a near-impenetrable sea of canvas.
Now, without government regulation, the market has, as the blessed market so often does, found a natural cure for the housing crisis caused by the cargo pants onslaught. Skinny jeans. The Wall Street Journal saw this coming two years ago. "Tight Squeeze: Making Room For a New Men’s Fashion," by Ray A. Smith, July 6, 2009: "Skinny jeans, with tapered legs and narrow-peg ankles, seemed like a flash in the pan when they appeared in stores a few years ago. They seemed more suited to women. Today, though, sales of men’s skinny jeans are going strong, and mass brands Gap and Levi’s are getting in on the action." Not only are zippers needed to get the bottoms past your feet, pockets are mere decoration, affording no room to carry anything in dramatic contrast to capacious cargo pants. Those drawers and shelves and tabletops are again accumulating everything that can’t get into your skinny jeans. It’s only a matter of time before the revived clutter and feeling of confinement will drive people into ReMax offices and searching multiple listings to find comfortable living quarters, to coexist with their belongings that now stay at home instead of riding around with them just above knee level.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
With hot and humid summer weather upon us, I was not inclined to wander around in search of a new restaurant, so I headed downstairs to Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, always a reliable alternative for, what Mother Ruth Gotthelf calls, "real Chinese food." However, a sign on the wall led me away from the traditional favorites, and I ordered (2) soft shell crabs, salt & pepper ($11.95). This proved an excellent choice. The crabs were fully digestible, no shells stuck between my teeth or embedded in my palate. They were cooked with scallions, red and green peppers, and garlic. An excellent lunch.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Happy Birthday to Allison.
Michael Ratner, friend and gentleman, came downtown to join me for lunch. He rated Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway, still a favorite in spite of their noodle lapse last week. We had the assorted platter, 2 orders of duck dumplings, crab dumplings, shu mai, rice roll with beef, and steamed roast pork buns (miniature sticky buns). It cost, with tip, about $21 each, and we were happy.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Tops Food Co., 141 East Broadway, is immediately next door to the Miriam Zuckerberg Yeshiva, but I have been unable to find any evidence of interaction between the two institutions. Tops is very small, with seating for 8 or so. A woman standing in the front portions out three items over fried rice for $4. The curry chicken was good and I would enjoy a full plate of it. The soy chicken (there is some thematic consistency here) was also tasty, but fatty. The sweet and sour pork was hardly sweet, sour or pork.
Since I did not linger in the small space, I went next door to the Yeshiva for a quick sidewalk Torah lesson if available. Unfortunately, the windows overlooking East Broadway were closed, although that may have signified a modern miracle, unknown to those of us who spent 40 years trekking across Sinai – air conditioning. It may be just as well that lunchtime remained prayer-free, since I am going to the Mets game tonight and will no doubt implore Divine Intervention to get me through the evening.