My favorite – the classic lox and cream cheese on a bagel.
Murray’s Sturgeon Shop
I consider myself lucky to live just around the corner from Murray’s. I don’t even have to cross a street to get there. Murray’s Sturgeon Shop has been located at 2429 Broadway since 1946 and although the shop is small and unassuming, it’s famous throughout the City. They deal in specialty foods from egg salad & spinach sandwiches to Bulgerian Osetra caviar ($189.00 per ounce).
Pollice Verso (With a Turned Thumb) by Jean Leon Gerome, 1872
I guess everyone has heard of the Paleo Diet – that’s what people ate 10,000 years ago. It’s basically meat, nuts, fruit and vegetables. There’s something a little more current, well, from about 2,000 years ago, the Gladiator Diet. It’s what Roman gladiators ate to stay in fighting condition. And surprisingly, it was almost a completely vegetarian diet.
Oat and Seed Cakes
No meat and potatoes for these guys. They ate mostly barley, beans and some pasta too, often flavored with fish sauce, trying to put on enough weight to cushion those sword and spear wounds in the arena. That wasn’t enough to strengthen their bones so they drank a sort of “sports drink,” a mix of wood and bone ash to build up calcium. They also drank goats milk and water but no wine. This combination of food and drink made them fit and tough.
String Beans a la Gladiator (based on what we know they ate and what was commonly available in Rome back then)
Boil the string beans for 5 minutes. In another pot sauté the onion in oil until soft, translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the drained, cooked string beans to the onions, add the colatura di alici and about 1/2 cup of the water you boiled the string beans in. Taste for seasoning. Colatura di Alici can be very salty and you may not need any more salt. Simmer for a few minutes and serve.
String Beans a la Gladiator
Some more information on the Gladiator Diet here –
I’ve heard it’s North African, or Middle-Eastern and it’s definitely very popular in Israel. Whatever it is, it’s a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner. The first time I had shakshuska was in an Israeli run diner in Rockaway. I asked the waitress what it was and the way she described it sold me. It was served in a small cast iron pan right from the stove. You can’t get just anywhere so I started making it myself. This is similar to Eggs in Purgatory.
Start by frying the onion, red pepper, and chili in olive oil. Cook until edges start to turn brown. Pay attention and don’t let it burn.
Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Mix in the paprika and cumin and add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, check for seasoning and add the parsley.
The sauce should be thick enough to make five indentations in it using a spoon. Break an egg into each one. Cover and reduce the heat and cook it until egg are done.
If you cook, you know how important sharp knives are. They just seem to glide through whatever you’re cutting and make everything easier. You can sharpen them yourself using different types of sharpening stones or you can have them done professionally. I’m lucky enough to be within walking distance of Del Re’s Grinding – at least every Saturday from 2 to 6 pm. That’s when he parks his van in front of Zabar’s, an Upper West Side specialty food store on Broadway near 80th Street. There’s usually a line and no matter how long the line is, Mr. Del Re doesn’t rush. He’s a true craftsman and he does a thorough job.
The images on his truck show all of the things he can sharpen although I don’t think many people in Manhattan have lawn mowers and hedge shears.
He parks along side of restaurants and rings the bell above his windshield to let them know he’s there.
. . . a true craftsman and he does a thorough job . . .
Everybody does it. Some out in the open and others in private. It may seem a little sloppy but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.
I was with a friend and his 7 year old daughter. She asked us what our favorite things to dunk were. Her father liked Oreos and milk and my favorite was donuts and coffee. Hers was pretzel sticks and Pepsi. An interesting variety and all valid dunking combinations.
And it doesn’t end there. British people like to dunk biscuits (that’s what they call cookies) in tea.
Lots of people who wouldn’t dream of dunking anything in tea or coffee think nothing of dunking bread in soup.
And it’s considered pretty classy in some restaurants to dip (they don’t call it dunk) biscotti in Vin Santo for dessert.
There was recently an article in the Sunday Times Magazine that dealt with this issue. It featured bread in wine and cake in orange soda –
One last combination – Reginas dunked in espresso, a perfect Italian breakfast.
We take them for granted. Sometimes paper, sometimes cloth, we use them and forget about them. But like many other thing we take for granted, they have a history, and they weren’t always paper and cloth.
There’re lot’s of different ways to fold them. I’ll leave it to Martha Stewart.
I never thought that a napkin ring could be much of a problem. It was solved by Popular Mechanics.
I never gave much thought to the cheeseburger’s history. I always assumed that they’d been around forever. But they haven’t.
Here’s a New York Times article from 1947 when cheeseburgers were considered something new and exotic. The author says the beef and cheese combination “may seem bizarre.” I wonder what she would have thought of bacon. She includes a recipe too, for some very small burgers.
In Spanish, bodega can mean food warehouse, wine cellar or grocery store. In New York City, a bodega is a Latino run grocery/convenience store/neighborhood meeting place. (Maybe not exclusively Latino run anymore, sometimes Middle-Eastern now.) Even Taylor Swift weighed in on them – see below.
Beyond those red on yellow signs, besides groceries, you can get cigarettes, coffee, beer, sandwiches, local news, productos tropicales, and sometimes, nutcracker and a loose joint.
Lately, The New York City Bodega has become news. Some West Coast techies think they have a better idea. There was a recent NY Daily News article by the president of the Bodega Assn, of the United States dealing with them:
As New York’s Welcome Ambassador (?), Taylor Swift told the world about our bodegas.