Those of you who are tuned in to my Fbook page know that I was in Macy’s at Herald Square, where I did not buy a KitchenAid mixmaster. I did purchase a set of KitchenAid pots and pans and saved $62.50 in the process, because, unbeknownst to me, the coupon gods bestowed upon me several valuable coupons, an event I was thrilled and delighted to discover. Several coupons still await my shopping pleasure, so I might spring for new boxer shorts, which was the primary reason I went to Macy’s, who have every line of boxer shorts known to man. More details follow, so kindly continue to read. I’m trying hard to keep this interesting.
I donated my old pots and pans to Housing Works, a hip thrift shop that fights AIDS and homelessness. HW even reached across the water to help Haiti in their time of need. They’re near my place, so I walked there with my heavy load of cookware.
This morning I cooked my breakfast in one of the new pots, a stewed apple spiced with whole clove. Yesterday I took lunch and supper out, so that clean and simple breakfast is how I atone for two hits of real restaurant food. I had lunch at Indikitch on west 23rd street,
not far from the Flatiron Building.
Indikitch is a superbly organized, fast Indian place. It’s extremely noisy, as are most high-speed Manhattan joints. It’s good if you need some spicy Indian to rev up your innards and shock them into the reality that you have eaten. I had an additional reason for spicy food: I picked up a parasite in India, which I hope to blast out of me one way or another, while I wait for some herbs to arrive from the Vaidya in California, which he said will frighten the amoeba, or whatever it is, to death, so I can hang around by myself for a good while longer. I like having company but one has to be careful these days. Some have bad politics; they’re not your friends.
After the Indian food kick, I traveled on to Macy’s with the simple intention of buying new boxer shorts and a new rubber spatula. The spatula search was how I got into the kitchen department, ‘way up on the ninth floor. But before I got up there, I got sidetracked on the ground floor. Flowers in the most elaborate arrangements were everywhere, and people were squinting while they pointed cameras at the arrangements. It was sheer pandemonium, but then Macy’s is always pandemonium.
Unfortunately, none of the rubber spatulas was Up to Specs. But those shiny new pots and pans…well, their lovely glass lids and their graceful handles captured me. I was spellbound, so I began to research cookware on my phone using Consumer Reports. My stuff at home did not have glass lids, and I thought the time had come for them. I cook every day, and it’s more fun if I can check on the veggies quickly and easily, without lifting lids. Consumer Reports did not test the ones I wanted. To hell with them. I stopped needing their approval years ago. I’m a grown man now.
I schlepped all the way home on the train, from Herald Square to the Village. A guy on the train noticed the box of pots and pans, and we started talking. “How do you cook your food?” he asked. “In ghee,” I said. And I told him a bit about ghee, and how I made it myself, and that ghee was one of the best foods anyone could eat. It’s always a winner when I get to extol the virtues of ghee—and now, someone who might never have discovered ghee knows a little about it.
After unpacking the new cookware and sorting all the packaging materials so NYC recycling would happily accept them, I languished for a couple of hours, accomplishing nothing but exchanging gases with the environment; you know, the ol’ oxygen and carbon dioxide thing. Then came the hour to meditate, and after that, my favorite treat: going to Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center to hear the New York Philharmonic play.
And since the night was such a special treat, I decided to augment it with supper at Lincoln Kitchen. They make a very fine roast chicken with mashed potatoes. That’s what I had, except the mashed potatoes that night were polenta; I was almost convinced. It was still a creamy and satisfying dish. Chicken is my lone exception: I eat no other meat and no fish or any seafood. After a couple of shrimp nearly killed me a few years back, I stay as far away as I can from seafood of all types.
The Philharmonic was dynamic and stirring and powerful on Beethoven’s Seventh symphony, so much so that a small gang in the audience began to applaud right after the first movement. The music got them all worked up and excited, and they had to let the energy out. I think they were tourists who had never heard live classical music. But anything is possible in New York City: maybe they were rebels trying to start a new trend. And then, just after the more thoughtful, brooding, and quiet second movement, there was one guy who clapped alone and very loudly for a brief moment. I would have been mortified had I done that. Today decorum is sometimes annoyingly absent. It’s a tad sad.
I don’t really like applause, which has become a rather mechanical obligatory thing people do. I prefer that it be held until the very end of any concert, so the flow of sound remains uninterrupted, and there’s more silence in the performance. But whenever the orchestra stops between sections, all the coughers let loose all the coughs they’ve been holding while the music plays. That happens every single concert.
The other thing is these LOUD clappers, people who clap very slowly and LOUDLY. I hate that. When they bring their hands together, they make a loud “POP” that’s extremely irritating, especially to someone with a hearing loss such as I have. Believe you me, take care of your ears. Dealing with a hearing loss ain’t much fun.
So today, I’m gonna make lunch at home, because what I cook is delicious, and it contains more veggies than I can find anywhere in this vast city. Everything is organic and fresh, even the chicken which I allow myself, and even the applesauce, which comes in a glass jar from the big bad grocery store around the corner. But it’s still delicious, the perfect accompaniment to my stir fry, which has been photographed and documented on earlier pages. Here it is again, just for your edification. If you want the recipe, let me know. It’s very simple.
The other thing I have to do is make an appearance at the post office on Canal Street to pick up a package. A few days ago, I got one of those cryptic, pale orange slips
from the US Post Office which notified me that—SURPRISE!—they tried to deliver something. The slip says absolutely nothing else, except that I can pick up the package after a couple of days at a certain post office. They never specify any reason why they didn’t leave the package, or whether they need my signature, and what my package will be doing during those couple of days before I can retrieve it.
I try to like the post office, really I do, because it’s such an egalitarian, public-oriented enterprise, the sole remnant of the original goodness of this nation, and about the only decent thing the federal government does, if indeed they still do the PO. The USPS is almost as ancient as the United States Constitution, that high-falutin’ document which hardly matters at all these days but is used by many flavors of groups to justify anything the lastest nutjob wants to do.
Post offices in Manhattan are dirty or creepy and usually both, especially the one on 3rd Ave near me, but I go there anyway. The door is perennially broken, there’s always something inside that’s out of commission, and there isn’t a working pen inside the whole place, just the remains of the chains that once kept them safely bound to their stations. But the people who man and woman the place are nice and helpful, and you can joke with them. That’s a real plus. In NYC, humor is essential. You could perish from the seriousness, which is why beer and alcohol are so popular.
And guess what? The man at the Canal Street PO (a street I have renamed “Cannibal” Street; I have nicknames for other NY streets, like Dis-Astor Place and Bleaker and FilthyRich Ave) couldn’t find my package, which came all the way from the great Indian subcontinent. At first, he couldn’t find it. I watched him scurry back and forth from shelf to shelf. But then he did; it was on a shelf right in front of the window where I stood. When I saw it—a small, very carefully wrapped box—I understood even less why our postman didn’t just leave it instead of that silly slip. It’s a mysterious business, delivering mail. One postman does this, the other does that, and everybody just gets confused, which is why FedEx and UPS exist. They lay the law down. You don’t mess with them, ‘cause they’ll run right over you with their trucks.
And then it was time to ride the train home. Chinatown is too crazy busy for me.