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Wow, this is great! How many more installments are there going to be?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Wow, this is great! How many more installments are there going to be?

Well, I know Dave and Maggie have at least two more pieces I've written in the can.

I take that back - all my writing is fresh, sustainable, organic prose, none of that canned stuff.

One piece is about a long dining excursion I had in Vietnam in 1967-68. I did a couple of other things besides eat on that trip.

The other is about day to day life at The Ordinary. It wasn't, believe me, ordinary, that is.

My agent sent out the book proposal this week to a couple of interested publishers. so I don't know where we'll go after that.


Edited by ChefCarey (log)

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Joesph, What an incredible pleasure it is to read this. 30 years ago it was I asking you these same questions and probably a few 100 more. I have over the years answered the same questions with my great mentors answers."We're a medieval cult we are". What great times those were! Merely exquisite. James

James, my man! Welcome aboard this train with no tracks!

(Folks, this is one of those who was in the trenches with me. He was one of the "relishers." And has gone on to be a terrific and accomplished chef.)

Back then American chefs were viewed with great suspicion. But, our ancient cult seems to be getting more attention than ever nowadays. :wink:

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You're groovin' right along, Chef.  Glad we didn't miss that last bit.

gwcafe ---welcome to the family.

edited for OOOOPS!

I can't take any credit for adding it. My editors (Maggie and Dave) wisely deleted it from my piece because it broke up the logical flow. They were right.

It was Dave the Cook's idea to insert it.

My train of thought is so apt to jump the track between stations, because I usually write with a kind of stream-of-consciousness, that I would be lost without good editors. Editors don't get enough credit in this scribbling business. Thanks Maggie and Dave!

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I didn't mean to imply that I'm going away! I like it here. :biggrin:

Wow, this is great! How many more installments are there going to be?

Well, I know Dave and Maggie have at least two more pieces I've written in the can.

I take that back - all my writing is fresh, sustainable, organic prose, none of that canned stuff.

One piece is about a long dining excursion I had in Vietnam in 1967-68. I did a couple of other things besides eat on that trip.

The other is about day to day life at The Ordinary. It wasn't, believe me, ordinary, that is.

My agent sent out the book proposal this week to a couple of interested publishers. so I don't know where we'll go after that.

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Wow, this is great! How many more installments are there going to be?

Here's another little piece from the book - a flashback. I call them pounds of flesh.

It's not slated for publication here. It is the beginning of my life in food, with a few side dishes, and also details how I got from New Orleans to Indiana.

Another Intermezzo: The Flashback, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Evansville

I think some exposition on my youth, a little prep work, if you will, would be an aid in understanding what follows here.

I was born in the Hotel Dieu in New Orleans. It was a hospital. Don’t remember a hell of a lot about those first few years. I just have this vague uneasy fugue state (yes, again) about that period. I sensed my parents were not fond of each other. I suspect they were getting drunk and kicking the shit out of each other and I have repressed all that. I liked them both.

Remember when I told you about going to the zoo? If my approach to existence seems a little odd to you at times, bear in mind I am at the zoo. My mother never lied to me about anything that mattered.

Over the course of the next few years the animosity between my mother and father cooled to the point where my father was allowed a visit or two – we went to the Mesker Park Zoo -to Evansville and then later I began a series of hegiras to my hometown. This was really when my culinary education began.

My father and my Aunt Maye took me dining around town. They usually let me out of school during Mardi Gras and I would spend a week in New Orleans every year. And then I started spending much of my summer there, too. I liked it a lot better than Evansville. But, the food education began before I hit New Orleans. On the train. The aforementioned Hummingbird. I absolutely loved it. Especially the dining and club cars.

The dining car ambiance was sheer elegance to me. The china, silverplate and stemware. The civil waiters. Made the food taste stupendous.

And I never had any trouble getting served alcohol in the club car from the time I was 15 on. (Same was true in New Orleans as a matter of fact.)

I spent a lot more time in bars than restaurants when I was with my father. But, he did introduce me to Tujagues, the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Very basic menu here, good food, moderate prices. Shrimp Remoulade and Beef Brisket were staples. With a daily changing menu of a few main courses. He would also pick up, on his way home from work, stuffed artichokes from Manale’s. Or po’ boys.

Antoine’s, the oldest restaurant in New Orleans, was more my Aunt Maye’s bailiwick. Menu entirely in French. Though, I think they have added English subheadings to the modern menu. Antoine’s is the ultimate French Creole restaurant. Aunt Maye had her waiter there and we could bypass the tourists and enter through the side door. I spent my 16th birthday there and she ordered Cherries Jubilee for me for dessert. My first flambé.

She also took me to Arnaud’s, Corinne Dunbar’s, Galatoire’s Masson’s, and Delmonico’s. I don’t think I ever had a truly bad meal.

My Aunt Maye was way too generous with me. She gave me money every day. Naturally, I had to figure out a way to spend it. Not very hard, I was in New Orleans. On nights when we didn’t go out to dinner, she would drop me at a movie theater. I would pay for the ticket and go in. As soon as she pulled away I was out on the street looking for a cab. I was 15 when I got taken to the cleaners by my first “B(ar)” girl. She fondled me under the table with one hand and beckoned a steady succession of drinks with the other. Then my money was gone.

My daddy had lots of musician friends. And jockey and trainer friends. And boxers and wrestlers. Lots of these folks hung at a place called Harry’s Parkview Inn. They all played knock rum in the back room.

My godfather was an Italian gentleman who was the maitre’d at The Blue Room in the Hotel Roosevelt. So, I guess that makes him my first connection to the food business. My daddy was a pharmacist. And a gambler. A lot of that went on at Harry’s. I remember big fat, jovial female bookmaker friend of my daddy. And a couple of wrestlers – The Great Petrov, an ostensible Russian and Al Smith. Oh, yeah, and a thoroughbred trainer named Milton. Ran into Milton later at Ellis Park, just south of Evansville. I would sometimes take my Friday night monies earned working in my stepfather’s bakery and head out to Ellis Park to squander them on thoroughbreds. One season Milton was there. I saw him in the paddock. He gave me a longshot; it won.

My daddy had married a tiny, tough little bleached blonde broad from Mississippi named Jimmy. She was all right. When I made my first trip back to New Orleans as a teenager they were living just a few blocks from Harry’s. The night I arrived my daddy asked me what I drank. Hell, I didn’t know what to say so I said vodka. The next morning I got up to breakfast. Still kinda woozy when I sat down at the kitchen table. It was a spread like I’d never seen in Evansville. Eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, grits, toast, biscuits, pancakes, coffee and juice. My Aunt Maye and Jimmy were doing the cooking.

Also, by my daddy’s plate was a quart of Canadian Club. By mine, a quart of Smirnoff vodka. We started early. And didn’t end until that night.

We ended up at Prima’s Fountain Lounge, owned by Louis Prima’s brother Leon, a bud of my father. My daddy’s friend Roy Zimmerman was playing with his trio. His principal gig was as pianist for The Basin Street Six, a group also featuring Pete Fountain and George Girard. I think I lasted about an hour before I passed out and fell off the stool. I vaguely remember being carried into the house some hours later.

The last time I saw Roy one-on-one, so to speak, was in his room at the McCurdy Hotel in Evansville, Indiana. He was in town with The Basin Street Six doing a gig at the hotel. He called me and invited me down to see him. I arrived about an hour early and knocked on his door, which was slightly ajar. A voice said to come on in and I opened the door and went in. Never have I had less fun following the bouncing ball. I stood face to…well…ass, with a huge pale ass in motion. Now, Roy was not a small man. Kinda roundish and the hooker’s legs couldn’t reach all the way around him. Lots of white flesh flashed before my eyes. He kept bouncing until she cleared her throat, tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to me. I bet you’ve never seen a fat man get dressed that fast. All the while mumbling something about how he thought I was the drummer, his roommate, returning from getting some ice. He prolifically apologized and begged me not to mention this to Doc, which was what everyone called my daddy. . I never did. Roy was married. The drummer came in with the ice. Roy gave me a bunch of tickets to the show that night and told me to bring all my friends. He was a damn good piano player.

I only remember five restaurants well in Evansville and calling three of them restaurants is stretching it since my only memories of them all are burger-ridden. There was a downtown steakhouse, I think it was called Jon’s. It was never anything special to me, because the steaks were tough and I didn’t like cutting them. I would have preferred a burger. Mostly my mother and I, when we ate out, ate at a cafeteria whose name is long gone from my disorganized warehouse of a brain. I even drove my cerebral forklift down the long, dark axonic back alleys of that storage facility to no avail.

We ate most of our holiday meals at the funeral home. My Aunt Martha made terrific mashed potatoes. And my Aunt Dora, my mother’s aunt, really my Great Aunt made a wonderful German potato salad.

The other three were Green’s, The Coral, and The Farmer’s Daughter. Green’s was my first burger joint. It was just a couple of blocks from my house. Stupendous greaseburgers, cooked on a griddle, naturally and garnished with The One True burger garnish – pickle, onion and mustard. A storefront with Formica counter and tables, and vinyl booths with entertainment – a pinball machine. The Coral, a pink stucco rectangle, was the high school hangout. Each high school, or region, had its own joint. Just like American Graffiti except there were no speaker stands here, just gravel parking lot.

The Farmer’s Daughter on Highway 41 South had speaker stands and a paved parking area. But, it was a long haul from our cozy east side enclave. And while I never had anything but a burger, fries and a Coke at the Coral, I had my first experience with an exotic food here. They had something called “pizza.” This was my first and very nearly my last, because it was awful. I did get the biggest hickey of my life here, though, from a girl who was the niece of one of Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen.

Apparently this was my girls-related-to-football-players-somehow era. Just before I left LSU I got my ass kicked by a red-shirt defensive lineman on the LSU football team. I hit him once and realized I had broken my hand. Told him to go ahead and pound on me until he got tired. He did. The last words I remember are “Get ‘im, Bull.” I woke up on the dining table in the Sigma Nu fraternity, where I lived with all my Cajun fraternity brothers, wondering what the hell had happened. All my previous experience with this table involved gumbo, jambalaya and tons of rice. They took me to the infirmary.

I had a date the next day with a sweet little girl named Gay Glaudi. Her daddy, Hap, was the head of sports for WWL radio and television in New Orleans. Hap was a good friend of Paul Dietzel, the LSU football coach. I had met the Glaudis in Evansville where they lived for while when Hap was sports editor for The Evansville Courier. (I became buddies with Tom Fox, a sports reporter who came to Evansville with Hap. He was responsible for the popularization of Minnesota Fats. He wrote articles about him and a book with him.) They were now back home in Louisiana. I looked like shit. My face was all bruised, my nose and right hand were broken and my left eye was swollen shut. She was very gracious about my appearance. I suspect only because she knew I looked like before my thrashing.

It was a double date. Bill Carville was driving. Our destination? The Carville Leprosarium – (officially, the Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease Center). In many ways this was the most unique date I ever experienced. Now, you may wonder why a guy would take a gal on a date to a facility for those suffering from Hansen’s disease. I’ll tell you.

Well, obviously the leprosarium and town were named after Bill and James’ grandfather, so Bill had a connection. As it turned out the facility’s director of recreation was the father of a friend of mine from high school and he asked me to say hi to him. Carville is only about 20 miles from Baton Rouge. Picked up the girls and we were off.

The place was nothing like what I expected.

I suppose in my head I’d had visions of a Molokai-like austerity and isolation, thatched huts and all.

We got the grand tour. It was a modern facility with a canteen, a ballroom, billiards room, library, post office, television rooms, baseball field and a golf course. Some of the patients had arrived late in the disease’s progress and looked pitiful. Many looked perfectly normal, though. The only sticky moment that day was when we were in the television room and Gay happened to be standing in front of one of the more unfortunate patients who had been watching a show. I happened to look over my shoulder; he was in a wheelchair and gesticulating wildly for her to move. I tugged on her sleeve with my good hand and we moved.

Another girl I dated at LSU was Joan Carville, Bill’s cousin. We went to the LSU-Tulane football game in New Orleans together. Got drunk and left at halftime. Back in Baton Rouge we had a furious drunken makeout session on Huey Long’s grave. Well, not exactly on, off to the side a little since right on top of him is his monument - a statue to rival any of Rameses erections. Lit from the bottom it is an impressive thing at night. It sits directly across from the State Capitol Building, the tallest state capitol in the country. Built by Huey.

I bivouacked briefly in Evansville after leaving LSU, before I headed to Richmond. I went out with a sweet, pretty little Catholic girl whose brother was a starting linebacker for the Saint Louis Cardinals. And last, but most certainly not least – for it came back to haunt me – got to all the bases except home one night with a girl whose brother was a running back for Indiana University. I had to hide out from him for a while.

Just across the highway and up a few yards from The Farmer’s Daughter was a new walk-up place. It was called MacDonald’s. Burgers were 15 cents. Cheeseburgers 19 cents. I was not impressed. Didn’t seem like it would be very popular. Seemed to me odd that a person would want both ketchup and mustard on a burger. But, it was cheap if one couldn’t afford the other places.

Across the street from my home on Washington Avenue was a drugstore and soda fountain called Nesbit’s. While in grammar school I virtually lived in this place drinking flavored Cokes – cherry, chocolate, lemon, and vanilla – and cherry phosphates. No burgers here. “Salad” sandwiches were the staples. Egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad.

About once a month on Saturday morning the Duncan yo-yo man would hold a contest on the corner in front of Nesbit’s. I usually entered but didn’t fare that well. I really wanted the prize, too. First prize was a “jeweled” wooden yo-yo. They had introduced some “new” plastic yo-yos. I hated them.

I had mastered the easier tricks – walk-the-dog, round-the-world, loop-the-loop, and rock-the-baby, but I had trouble with some of the harder tricks like shoot-the-moon. I only won once. It was raining and the contestant turnout was smaller than usual. I got my jeweled yo-yo that day and immediately set about trashing it by walking-the-dog on the concrete sidewalk. These battle scars were the mark of a true yo-yoer. I hopped on my Schwinn Red Phantom, this was the Buick to the Black Phantom, the Cadillac, of boy’s bikes, and headed to Green’s for a celebratory burger or two. And a half-hour of pinball.

My jaw literally dropped the other day when I saw a Red Phantom for sale on the Internet. The price? $2500.00. I don’t know what mine cost since it was a present, but I know the Black Phantom originally sold for $86.95. So, my guess would be somewhere around $70.00.

Red Phantom

America is a poorer place for the loss of soda fountains and the Duncan yo-yo man. And a bike under a hundred bucks.

The fact that she always worked is one of the reasons my mother never became much of a cook. And for a couple of years when we lived on Washington Avenue, she had a business in our home. A charm school for young ladies. As you may imagine, I was exposed to lots of nubility here. This was around the time I met Thumblina and her four friends.

There were about 20, hell, I guess you’d call them “make up tables.” They were a pastel green and had hinged lids with a storage compartment beneath and a mirror on the inside of the lid. The girls sat at these tables and looked at themselves while they learned to put on make up. There was just a curtain dividing our living quarters from the public area. I spent a lot of time peeking through it. I actually did my first cooking during this period.

Fudge. My nemesis. I must have tried 2 dozen times. I read about the “soft ball” shit in water. I was too impatient. Of course I didn’t have a thermometer. I made lots and lots of fudge sauce. Never did get it to set up.


Edited by ChefCarey (log)

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Lovely, Chef. From childhood, I've wanted the adventure of riding a train, just to experience the romantic ambience of the dining car. I used to go climb a tree at the end of the block every night about six, as the passenger train stopped to get water at our little whistle-stop. From my height almost level with the windows, it was like a peculiarly-colorful movie, with the ladies in hats, and the silent passages of white coats as the waiters wielded the silver coffeepots and set down the dinners. They HAD to be ambrosial, served in such a perfect site, though I could see nothing below the diners' shoulder level; they were like beautifully sculptured, colorful busts floating in the window, just for my viewing pleasure and envy.

And when our Caro was EIGHT, a smiling waitress in a New Orleans restaurant scribbled her way around the tableful of us, taking beverage orders. Caro was a tall child, and had her hair up for the special evening, but offering her a cocktail!!! That was par for New Orleans, I guess, and a family joke still today.

And your ability to Kiss-and-Nearly-Tell is astounding---I thought for a moment there that we'd have to repo your G.R.I.T.S. credentials. Thin Ice, Kiddo.

Thanks for another chapter. War and Peace, remember?

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Lovely, Chef.  From childhood, I've wanted the adventure of riding a train, just to experience the romantic ambience of the dining car.  I used to go climb a tree at the end of the block every night about six, as the passenger train stopped to get water at our little whistle-stop.  From my height almost level with the windows, it was like a peculiarly-colorful movie, with the ladies in hats, and the silent passages of white coats as the waiters wielded the silver coffeepots and set down the dinners.  They HAD to be ambrosial, served in such a perfect site, though I could see nothing below the diners' shoulder level; they were like beautifully sculptured, colorful busts floating in the window, just for my viewing pleasure and envy.

And when our Caro was EIGHT, a smiling waitress in a New Orleans restaurant scribbled her way around the tableful of us, taking beverage orders.  Caro was a tall child, and had her hair up for the special evening, but offering her a cocktail!!!  That was par for New Orleans, I guess, and a family joke still today.

And your ability to Kiss-and-Nearly-Tell is astounding---I thought for a moment there that we'd have to repo your G.R.I.T.S. credentials.  Thin Ice, Kiddo.

Thanks for another chapter.  War and Peace, remember?

Thank you, Rachel, for your nice comments.

I absolutely loved riding the Hummingbird to New Orleans. It really did have a feeling of elegance in what I perceived as an otherwise inelegant world. I met interesting folk on there, too.

Yes, War and Peace. Did one and seek the other.

As to the smooching and blabbling - well, the only person I ever betray is myself. :wink: And, anyway, I wouldn't want to get in a pickle with you. Or maybe I would. :wink:

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.

You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have had a few events in my life.

I notice from your profile that you flute and that you live in the East Village.

Several of those events in my life occurred when I lived on East 10th Street, 4th floor walk-up, just across Avenue A, right up the street from the Peace Eye Bookstore.

In that incarnation I worked answering letters for The American Bible Society.

Once gave first aid to a guy who had been stabbed in Tompkins Square Park.

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Weirdity:

Perhaps it was reading all those adventures at bedtime, or maybe hearing all the places you've been. Perhaps it's your unashamedly-chronicled slightly-checkered past---or some strange amalgam of Kerouac-ian thoughts comparing the colors and characters you two seem to have in common. I must have been dreaming of this thread, because my instant waking thought this morning was, "Notes from the Rogue"---THAT'S the name of his book!

I know it isn't, but it seemed to fit right at that moment. But then, I hadn't had my four espressos yet. :raz:

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Weirdity:

Perhaps it was reading all those adventures at bedtime, or maybe hearing all the places you've been.  Perhaps it's your unashamedly-chronicled slightly-checkered past---or some strange amalgam of Kerouac-ian thoughts comparing the colors and characters you two seem to have in common.    I must have been dreaming of this thread, because my instant waking thought this morning was, "Notes from the Rogue"---THAT'S the name of his book!   

I know it isn't, but it seemed to fit right at that moment.  But then, I hadn't had my four espressos yet.    :raz:

Talk about a coincidence! I got an email from my agent this morning asking me what title I want to use. Maybe there's a fortuitous confluence in the universe today. I wonder, would anybody else who's read my offerings here like to offer up a prospective title?

Hey, I ain't no rogue! I would describe my career more as "chessed" than "checkered." Lots of nuances and feints, attacks and defenses. And I've never yet made it to the back of the board to get "kinged."

Thanks, again, Rachel.

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.

You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have had a few events in my life.

I notice from your profile that you flute and that you live in the East Village.

Several of those events in my life occurred when I lived on East 10th Street, 4th floor walk-up, just across Avenue A, right up the street from the Peace Eye Bookstore.

In that incarnation I worked answering letters for The American Bible Society.

Once gave first aid to a guy who had been stabbed in Tompkins Square Park.

This neighborhood has changed radically in the last 10+ years (and in some ways which many of us in the neighborhood are happy about) and is in the process of changing even more radically (mostly in ways which many of us, and especially the longtimers, are very disturbed about). My brother used to live here in the mid 80s, when the neighborhood was really grungy and downright dangerous, especially in Alphabet City. But you sure could get cheap, good pierogies at Leshko's Coffee Shop on 7th and A!

When's the last time you were back in the neighborhood?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.

You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have had a few events in my life.

I notice from your profile that you flute and that you live in the East Village.

Several of those events in my life occurred when I lived on East 10th Street, 4th floor walk-up, just across Avenue A, right up the street from the Peace Eye Bookstore.

In that incarnation I worked answering letters for The American Bible Society.

Once gave first aid to a guy who had been stabbed in Tompkins Square Park.

This neighborhood has changed radically in the last 10+ years (and in some ways which many of us in the neighborhood are happy about) and is in the process of changing even more radically (mostly in ways which many of us, and especially the longtimers, are very disturbed about). My brother used to live here in the mid 80s, when the neighborhood was really grungy and downright dangerous, especially in Alphabet City. But you sure could get cheap, good pierogies at Leshko's Coffee Shop on 7th and A!

When's the last time you were back in the neighborhood?

When I *lived* there the East Village (as it was coming to be known,) specifically Alphabet City, was an exclave for those of us who really wanted to live in *the* Village, but couldn't afford it. This was the 60's. The area was just beginning to be hip.

There were remnants of the Ukranian culture you mention, mom and pop joints, but the neighborhood, particularly towards the east, had a definite Latino tinge to it. As long as we stayed near Avenue A - and did all our shopping in that area- we felt safe on foot.

But, I liked it. Ready access to the Village. And a few joints were in place in our area. Frequented Gerde's Folk City, saw the Fugs at their midnight show at The Bridge on St. Mark's Place. Drank and ate at The Ninth Circle (which later became a gay bar I understand.) The Five Spot was still there for jazz.

On Avenue A were a bunch of open produce stands and there were a couple of butchers within blocks. And a fish market. And a cheese shop right on the corner. There were bodegas on Avenue A, too.

Haven't even visited the area in over 20 years. But, already then I could see the good and bad that come with gentrification. I couldn't afford to live there without rent control, I'm sure.

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.

You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have had a few events in my life.

I notice from your profile that you flute and that you live in the East Village.

Several of those events in my life occurred when I lived on East 10th Street, 4th floor walk-up, just across Avenue A, right up the street from the Peace Eye Bookstore.

In that incarnation I worked answering letters for The American Bible Society.

Once gave first aid to a guy who had been stabbed in Tompkins Square Park.

This neighborhood has changed radically in the last 10+ years (and in some ways which many of us in the neighborhood are happy about) and is in the process of changing even more radically (mostly in ways which many of us, and especially the longtimers, are very disturbed about). My brother used to live here in the mid 80s, when the neighborhood was really grungy and downright dangerous, especially in Alphabet City. But you sure could get cheap, good pierogies at Leshko's Coffee Shop on 7th and A!

When's the last time you were back in the neighborhood?

When I *lived* there the East Village (as it was coming to be known,) specifically Alphabet City, was an exclave for those of us who really wanted to live in *the* Village, but couldn't afford it. This was the 60's. The area was just beginning to be hip.

There were remnants of the Ukranian culture you mention, mom and pop joints, but the neighborhood, particularly towards the east, had a definite Latino tinge to it. As long as we stayed near Avenue A - and did all our shopping in that area- we felt safe on foot.

But, I liked it. Ready access to the Village. And a few joints were in place in our area. Frequented Gerde's Folk City, saw the Fugs at their midnight show at The Bridge on St. Mark's Place. Drank and ate at The Ninth Circle (which later became a gay bar I understand.) The Five Spot was still there for jazz.

On Avenue A were a bunch of open produce stands and there were a couple of butchers within blocks. And a fish market. And a cheese shop right on the corner. There were bodegas on Avenue A, too.

Haven't even visited the area in over 20 years. But, already then I could see the good and bad that come with gentrification. I couldn't afford to live there without rent control, I'm sure.

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Thanks for the bonus excerpt, ChefCarey. I loved it! You've had an eventful life and have a wonderful gift for storytelling.

You're welcome and thanks for the kind words.

Yes, I have had a few events in my life.

I notice from your profile that you flute and that you live in the East Village.

Several of those events in my life occurred when I lived on East 10th Street, 4th floor walk-up, just across Avenue A, right up the street from the Peace Eye Bookstore.

In that incarnation I worked answering letters for The American Bible Society.

Once gave first aid to a guy who had been stabbed in Tompkins Square Park.

This neighborhood has changed radically in the last 10+ years (and in some ways which many of us in the neighborhood are happy about) and is in the process of changing even more radically (mostly in ways which many of us, and especially the longtimers, are very disturbed about). My brother used to live here in the mid 80s, when the neighborhood was really grungy and downright dangerous, especially in Alphabet City. But you sure could get cheap, good pierogies at Leshko's Coffee Shop on 7th and A!

When's the last time you were back in the neighborhood?

When I *lived* there the East Village (as it was coming to be known,) specifically Alphabet City, was an exclave for those of us who really wanted to live in *the* Village, but couldn't afford it. This was the 60's. The area was just beginning to be hip.

There were remnants of the Ukranian culture you mention, mom and pop joints, but the neighborhood, particularly towards the east, had a definite Latino tinge to it. As long as we stayed near Avenue A - and did all our shopping in that area- we felt safe on foot.

But, I liked it. Ready access to the Village. And a few joints were in place in our area. Frequented Gerde's Folk City, saw the Fugs at their midnight show at The Bridge on St. Mark's Place. Drank and ate at The Ninth Circle (which later became a gay bar I understand.) The Five Spot was still there for jazz.

On Avenue A were a bunch of open produce stands and there were a couple of butchers within blocks. And a fish market. And a cheese shop right on the corner. There were bodegas on Avenue A, too.

Haven't even visited the area in over 20 years. But, already then I could see the good and bad that come with gentrification. I couldn't afford to live there without rent control, I'm sure.

Easy for you to say. :biggrin:

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Weirdity:

Perhaps it was reading all those adventures at bedtime, or maybe hearing all the places you've been.  Perhaps it's your unashamedly-chronicled slightly-checkered past---or some strange amalgam of Kerouac-ian thoughts comparing the colors and characters you two seem to have in common.    I must have been dreaming of this thread, because my instant waking thought this morning was, "Notes from the Rogue"---THAT'S the name of his book!   

I know it isn't, but it seemed to fit right at that moment.  But then, I hadn't had my four espressos yet.    :raz:

Despite my previous disclaimer, we did end up going with a variant of Rachel's suggestion.

Out of the Ordinary: Notes from a Rogue Chef.

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Wow, this is great! How many more installments are there going to be?

If you *really* need a fix you can check out my poultry prose. :biggrin:

Cluck!

I just LOVE that story! :wub:


Iris

GROWWWWWLLLLL!!

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