Monday, March 05, 2007

Visiting Hannah in Manhattan, part three.

Saturday Hannah and I downloaded a recipe for hamantashen and then packed cookie tins, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, a big tupperware container to use as a bowl, and flour into my backpack and we got on the subway downtown.

It was a gorgeous, warm day so the Union Square Farmers Market was hopping. There was some very handsome bread but it was $10 a loaf. There was goat cheese and booths where you could buy every part of a sheep from wool to hide to yogurt to bloody hunks of its meat.

There were several tables of Native Americans selling t-shirts implying: if Homeland Security had been on the ball in 1492, Columbus would have been blown up before he reached shore.

We bought a few free-range eggs (these chickens, by the price of their eggs, probably lived in condos near Central Park) and met the Urban Caballero by the door of Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods at Union Square: obscenely crowded, obscenely expensive. Luckily I had a gift card in my bag (Bob and I play at Whole Foods Durham every month and get paid with gift cards) so we gathered two scanty hand-baskets of food and stood in a line that reminded me of old pictures of Ellis Island. Traffic co-ordinators at the front of the store directed patient customers to the next available cashier. Our tiny collection of yuppie foodstuffs cost $70. We felt very grateful when we were finally out the door.

We lunched on a bench in Union Square Park. The Urban Caballero felt a bit guilty flinging his olive pits - he thought pigeons might not be astute enough to notice these were pits, not popcorn, and might choke. I'm glad to note he has a tender heart for animals.

We went to his apartment where he put Percy Grainger on the stereo and I lay on the couch and watched my daughter teach him how to make cookies. This was the first time his oven had been used in the two years he'd lived there.

The most spectacular failure of the day was mine. Hannah had put poppy seeds (special Whole Foods poppyseeds, about $1.50 per tablespoon) in the cart for the traditional filling. However, we hadn't bought all the traditional ingredients, and the Urban Caballero did not have, for instance, any milk. I put poppy seeds, raisins, orange juice, and expensive full-strength cranberry juice in a coffee mug and boiled said dubious mixture in the microwave for a few minutes. We'll say no more about it.

The cookies were a success (though the recipe was not as good as mine, which I'll post soon).

We then went out foraging but had no luck trying to replace Hannah's lost cellphone (UC's rant on the abysmal condition of Verizon customer service was most entertaining). She later bought one on eBay.

We got back to her apartment and all the moving was finished. The departing roommate was a messy guy and the incoming roommate was a tidy girl so there was already a decided improvement. Roommate #3 did the Manhattan hunter-gatherer thing and called for takeout. We had a communal meal, new-style, hunched over our plastic containers of excellent salad around the coffee-table while "Slums of Beverly Hills" played silently on the tv right behind us.

Sunday morning at 8 am, while Hannah slept, I decided to join Facebook and sent friend requests to my children. At 8:28 Hannah emerged from her room with a groggy look on her face; I waved silently, she muttered she would sleep a bit more and went back in her room and shut the door. One minute later I got an email notification: my request had been accepted, my daughter had "friended" me ("to friend" is now a verb). I called out "Thanks!" and she laughed behind her closed door.

She got up not much later, saying she was amused to have her mom on facebook, and instructed me in subtle formalities and etiquettes of its culture.

Then we planned our August trip to Bulgaria and bought non-refundable tickets, and then we had a parallel play session. Roommate #3 had been eyeing my book Celtic Art Construction with interest - open it anywhere and you see crazy patterns of dots and swirls, with minimal order imposed on them via numbers and arrows - and so while Hannah and I painted, he hunkered down over graph paper and produced an excellent Celtic weave. It went straight onto his wall, I believe. Well done, John! (He tells me his father reads this blog so it behooves me to report that John is an entertaining, kindly young man of the highest caliber.)

Then it was time to leave; Judy picked me up and we gabbed our way back south missing a few critical turns but managing to get home nevertheless.



At 7:31 PM, Anonymous sylvia said...

How wonderful and wise you are to spend this sort of time with your daughter. I really enjoyed your trip, especially your kitchen event about which we will say no more, and your visit to the thrift store. Thanks for sharing!! What is the focus of your trip to Bulgaria in August?

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roommate #3's parents appreciate your comment.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger NinaK said...

Loved hearing about your trip to NYC. You must have gone to the Salvation Army on 46th Street. By coincidence, the other Salvation Army store is right on my block--96th Street.

Please post your hamantaschen recipe. I could use a good one, and your rugelach recipe was good, so I have faith. Do you have a dairy recipe? The one you linked to is pareve. I would prefer a dairy recipe. I have a great recipe for prune lekvar. It's from a Jewish cookbook that unfortunately I have in a storage unit since I moved.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger NinaK said...

What an amazing serendipitous meeting you had with the musicians. You are tempting me to go there and hear that choir. It sounds fascinating.


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