My day began with breakfast at the kitchen table with my boyfriend. We had hard boiled eggs, which he hates; and coffee, which I hate. I smeared a slice of bread with butter; my boyfriend paused, looked at me and said: “Is that butter kosher?”
I sighed. “I don’t…it’s fine…arrrgh, let me check.”
I grabbed the Breakstone’s box out of the fridge. We had spent a better part of the previous evening in the grocery store, having to scrutinize every box for the Kosher symbol. Breakstone’s made my day:
I left my boyfriend with a list of what to eat and headed into work. At lunch, I dazzled my coworkers with my multiple Tupperwares, my bialy from Kossar’s and my bag of pickled vegetables from The Pickles Guys: cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and celery. The Pickle Guys are the last pickle purveyors on the Lower East Side, a community that long ago had a barrel of pickles for sale on every street corner. The day I went, I saw another ghost from the past: a horseradish grinder, filling orders for the upcoming Passover holiday. I had heard a story (from Jane Ziegelman) that the horseradish grinders of the last century were easily recognizable even after their daily toil was done: the fumes from the pungent root would cause their eyes to inflame and water all day. This modern-day grinder donned a gas mask to avoid that unpleasant side affect.
The potato soup was perfect, the sweet-and-sour goulash was delicious. Lunch was filling and satisfying.
Dinner was late: at the end of the long day, I sat at the kitchen table again. I split a buttered bialy with my man and we cracked open a take-out container from Russ & Daughters, one of those unstoppable Lower East Side institutions that started as a pushcart a century ago. The first store to use “& Daughters,” it’s motto is “Appetizing since 1914.”
When I stopped in the other day, their candy counter was stocked with tempting towers of nuts and macaroons for Passover. I needed pickled herring for dinner and I choose one with a modern twist: a herring done up in a delicious curry sauce, topped off with a stack of pickled onions.
Neither my boyfriend or I eat much fish, but we both agreed that this herring was probably really good herring. Mostly, we piled our bread high with onions and delicious curry sauce. We finished with a few pieces of fresh fruit and cups of hot, black tea.