Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Is The Blog I Wasn't Going To Write Today

Well, I actually didn't feel like blogging - only then I did. Feel like it, I mean. This is perhaps because I made Joshua go and buy me a large can of beer, and I have to do something while I drink it. Somehow writing seems a great more more grown-up (yeah, than playing solitaire or watching the Muppets on Youtube. (There was a brief pause there while it occurred to me to actually go to Youtube to see if anyone was around with a camera while I was doing that nutty Pillsbury promotion, but evidently not. Oh, well.)

My political campaign seems to have dispensed with my services, as has everyone else. This is just as well, because when I got out there I discovered how much I really, REALLY hated accosting perfect strangers on the street. Not to mention that standing up for four hours at a stretch is not noticeably good for my feet, legs or back. Not to mention that the lower East Side, while a perfectly lovely place for cheap restaurants and interesting boutiques, also has quite a sprinkling of people you don't want near you - I'm thinking here of the drunk/stoned weird looking character who actually tried to grab my tit until I strategically went into McDonald's. Ugh. I think I'm basically way too polite to bother people when they're obviously doing something else. Oh, well. If I'm going to lose a job, I'd much rather it be one I hate.

So I spent my day doing nothing much of the paper, for one thing. I love, love, love the Thursday New York Times. It's got the Home Section, and the mid-week Styles section, and I think it's terrific. Of course, I'm very loyal to Wednesday's Food section, but Thursday doesn't make me feel guilty for not scouring all of New York for that brand-new kind of fish that can only be found in one tiny store somewhere...if they're not out of it, that is. And which costs $36 a pound.

Then, since I hope to God someone will call me for a job first thing in the morning, and since I know perfectly well that I'm damned if I'm going anywhere over the weekend - if you haven't been keeping track of the weather, we're going to have a massive heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90's, at which point I turn on the air conditioning and stay in - anyway (wherever I was in that sentence), I decided to walk over to the Meatmarket. No, I wasn't shopping at Jeffrey - aside from their prices, I don't think they have clothes above size 2 - I went to Chelsea Market.

I love Chelsea Market. There's that great store with all the imported Italian stuff, and the fish market, and that completely amazing vegetable place which, unbelievably (since Chelsea Market is only the yuppiest market on earth) has absolutely wonderful prices for absolutely wonderful produce. They had some gorgeous endive there today, and I truly wished I had money because I was thinking of my nice endive au gratin recipe...actually, it's even better if you do a regular endive gratin but wrap thin slices of ham around it first. A really nice light supper dish - a little salad, a little bread, some fruit...

And my favorite place...the Bowery Kitchen Supply company way in the back. (I think that's it's name.) This place is HUGE, and I can spend hours and hours in there, dreaming away about exactly what I'm going to buy as soon as I win the lottery. There are the great saute pans, which are non-non-stick (no, that's not a typo - I mean they're not non-stick). All my stuff is heavy, gorgeous Calphalon, but it is non-stick, which means that when I do a chicken saute and go to make the pan sauce, there's not enough fond to suit me, really. (FYI to non-cooks - the fond is the little scrubbly bits left at the bottom of the pan when you saute chicken, and when you add the broth and wine and shallots or scallions to make your sauce, you scrape them up with your wooden spoon and they enrich the sauce. Aren't you glad you know that now?) And OMG, the gadgets. You have no idea who many gadgets there are. Walls of them...aisles of them. And the baking equipment. God knows I'm no baker (ask Sarah about some of her lopsided birthday cakes, which were even worse when I tried to decorate them), but oh, the bundt pans, and the charlotte molds, and those French bread pans, and the...and the...

Please, someone - keep me OUT of that place. In its own way, it's as bad for me as the Strand Bookstore. I have for years fantasized about a 12 step group called Strand Anonymous, where whenever you feel like going to the Strand, you call your sponsor and he or she comes over and gets drunk with you. Which I assure you is a LOT cheaper than letting me loose in the Strand. Or, now that I think of it, any bookstore. There is a place in London under one of the bridges (Westminster Bridge, maybe - I usually find it by taking the Tube to Embankment and just walking along until I see it, which works fine on account of what's better than a nice walk along the Thames) - anyway it is rows and rows and rows and rows of books, and more specialized bookstalls around the bank of the river. One of the reasons I like going to London alone is that nobody yanks me away from there or Charing Cross Road with nonsense about eating, or sleeping, or meeting someone at the pub, or all that completely unnecessary nonsense. Actually, if one is going to have a favorite thing to do in London, second-hand book hunting is by far the cheapest one I can think of. One of my other cheap games in London is to get a sandwich at a Pret or somewhere and take it to the Embankment to just watch the passing parade on the river.

By the by, when I was out campaigning the other day (and beginning to ache all over toward the end of the day), I noticed something about NY as opposed to London. Has anyone who knows both London and New York ever noticed that London is built for people who walk and would occasionally like somewhere to A. sit down for a minute, and B. pee? You can't go anywhere in London without finding a convenient bench, either in a little vest pocket park or along the side of a building, and you can always find a nice clean bathroom (Trafalgar Square is particularly spotless, I've found). The excuse I've always heard in New York is the homeless, but London has just as many homeless, for heaven's sake - it just seems to be kinder to them, perhaps? And the other (rather more recent) story you get in New York is terrorists. Well, London has had terrorists a LOT longer than NY...and it still manages to let people sit down, for God's sake.

In re London terrorists, I saw the most amazing and reassuring thing the last time I was in London. I was on the South Bank at the Lord Mayor's Fair, which was quite good fun. I was sitting having a cigarette on one of those lovely benches, and I suddenly saw the police clearing an area, roping it off, and searching it. This was, mind you, in the middle of an enormous street fair. Evidently someone had reported a suspicious package. Well, the police did all this - clear area, rope off, search, pronounce the place clear, unrope - and the fair went on. This took a ripe old ten minutes. Same thing some years earlier - Sarah and I were in London at Covent Garden with a friend. Covent Garden evacuated, we went across the street for a drink, and just as we finished our drink - all clear.

Shall we contrast that with New York? One paper bag with somebody's leftover sandwich, and the whole area goes berserk, the trains don't run, and traffic is stopped for 87 miles in every direction...and the whole megillah takes a full day. Couldn't we please take lessons from our efficient cousins across the pond?

I'm sticking in an extra paragraph to illustrate yet another instance of awful SpellCheck. Up there somewhere I spelled interesting "intresting", and when I went to correct it, SpellCheck offered me "int resting" as a replacement. What on earth is "int resting"? Is an int some sort of animal/bird/fish/whatever I don't know about that periodically needs a rest? Honestly.

Love, Wendy (who has now finished her beer, thank you)

1 comment:

SaintTigerlily said...

Ooh golly, so many thoughts.

1. Fond. HA. The Boss and I now call any form of scrubblies "Pannies" as in, that crunchy stuff in the pan/on the baking sheet/on the broiler pan. We then fight over who gets to eat said pannies while the uninitiated dinner guest likely looks on thinking (horrified) "PANTIES??"
2. The convenience of bathrooms in London is directly relative to the lack of garbage cans. At least we still have garbage cans here.
3. You will never get an argument from me that London isn't a better place to be all around.
4. Spell check corrects the big boss' initials to "Jerk".