Tuesday, March 4, 2014


At least the snow on the terrace has melted. So there's that.

But the pots are still frozen solid. The new soil that I added to the built-in wooden troughs? Frozen solid. The fig is alive, though! And yes, I think the exclamation point is warranted. I gave one of the younger branches a thumbnail-scratch yesterday when I went out to feed the birds, and...green. Amazing.

Indoors, it's cabin feverish. Only that can explain my fascination with iceberg lettuce. Or perhaps I'm saying that because I think I have to. Iceberg is so uncool it's cool again if you're in a hipster diner.

Truth is, it can be really good. Why? - the crunch-factor, of course, the tightly layered leaves nested within one another's curves, the moisture. And also the relief after cosmopolitan years and years of baby arugula, adult arugula, wild arugula (arugula is the new iceberg) and the current avalanche of pea shoots.

For the two of us, I cut half an iceberg into three fat wedges, and then hauled out those newly ubiquitous peas. I'm not tired of them, yet. And you know what's weird? - they cost $2 less at Whole Foods at Columbus Circle than they do at the more humble Fine Fare on Lenox Avenue aka Malcolm X. Except the fact that they are at Fine Fare is cause for celebration in itself.

The dressing was soy, sugar, lime juice. Enough sugar and lime that the soy does not overpower. No oil at all. And into the dressing I tossed a knob of slivered and matchsticked ginger. Vincent has had a serial cold for what seems like our entire residence in Harlem, all almost-five months of it, bar a sunny break in South Africa. And ginger helps.

The salad was good. But he shivered every time he bit the leaves. He says iceberg squeaks.

So I ate the third wedge.

There's another salad next door, at 66 Square Feet (the Food). It's pink and white, and it won't squeak.


  1. Hmm, sure it isn't allergies? Could be something in the building itself, or could be a new thing. This last Christmas I had the first allergy ever to a Christmas tree. It wasn't until after we took it down that I got better. Good luck on that! Amy

    1. Yeah, good theory. I actually wondered about that, early on. I think it could also be stress-aggravated.

  2. Thanks Amy, it's a good suggestion but I don't think it's allergies, symptoms are too flu-like. And it's not really been five months, more like four and a half... ;-)

  3. Don't like the sound of this, Vince.. Seems almost systemic, in an environmentally-induced sort of way. But this admittedly lay observation comes from one who is deeply suspicious that a good deal of what ails us is caused by external factors beyond our control..
    I once lost someone dear who led a perfect life and when it was all over, I asked her principal oncologist how it came to be that lighting stuck one who was the epitome of good health? His reply: "This is only my theory, but at some point in her life she was exposed to something deadly that stayed with her until it finally surfaced and killed her." I responded that as a young girl she had a small Christmas tree operation and spread powder pesticides along the base of the trees. He then sadly looked up at me and said, "Who knows?" (But I could tell what he was thinking.)

    1. Don't scare me, Clark.

      That is a very sad story. Not having answers is awful. I am very sorry.

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  5. I like iceberg lettuce too (nice, fresh and crunchy) I find it makes a nice addition to "field greens". Poor Vince! I feel for him. Sleep, sleep and more sleep is my prescription. It is amazing how sleep can heal what ails us. I also know it's hard to do when you have to go to work every day.

  6. I am exhibiting similar symptoms, perhaps not as severe, more of a common cold... We are in a "new" apartment, in a pre war building and I think my condition has something to do with the heat (which we can't regulate, so only one radiator* on) and the unusual amount of dust it (?) seems to produce.....
    P.S. *We've been told once on do not turn it off.....


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