Friday, February 22, 2008

A Seder Plate Box

As it relates to this blog, this week was a whirlwind of food in combination with family. Disaster brought me home. As I met with my grieving relatives and sympathetic friends, I was treated to a brief gastronomic tour of my childhood. It did what Comfort Food does best, providing a distractingly familiar sensation in the hind brain, capable of calming the rush of thought threatening to overwhelm the frontal lobe.

At the Shiva (the traditional gathering of a Jewish family after a death), the coconut bars made of chocolate, not yellow cake, found their way into my mouth as dessert and out of my mouth as conversation. The astoundingly fresh Raspberry Russian Tea Biscuits were both a sweet to savor and a souvenir to keep me reminiscing on better days. Whether from Pincus or Davis Bakery, the trays of cookies and pastries overflowed with sugar, butter, and kinship.

After visiting the cemetery, my husband and I took a trip to Ho Wah so I could share with him the pu pu platter with it's incredible beef teriyaki and barbecued spare ribs. I showed him the purity of a won ton soup unencumbered by wor bar embellishments rather simply accompanied by shrimp chips. My children loved the shrimp chips.

I went to Corky and Lenny's to meet with a cousin and got chopped liver and corned beef extra lean, the way our family always ordered it. And if you are a hard core Family of Food reader, you may wonder is the ceiling still covered in a mural of trees? Check the comments. Well, it's not. Although the decor has been modernized, the food is still great.

After eating and eating on this tour, I was too full to want more, so I met a friend at Tommy's on Coventry, just to have a place to gather. Thinking of how my waist was growing I resisted ordering the banana milkshake that is my favorite from this old haunt. Husband of Food ordered one of those legendary shakes with whole fresh bananas and my husband promised me two gulps and a sip to satiate my desire to taste. An extra shake came anyway. Somehow, that banana milkshake needed to be in my ever expanding belly. So in it went.

This constant tide of food kept me from facing the sad reality that one of the people I loved most on this Earth was truly gone. It was not until I was home when exhaustion and hunger finally broke the dam holding back emotion. As I unwrapped a small keepsake given to me, one that will remind me of so many gatherings at the table of my Aunt, I faced the truth.

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