Sunday, April 02, 2006


I went home this weekend, to the house where I grew up. My parents were kind enough to pick me up in the city, making it possible for me to avoid public transportation as well as to make an exchange of all my bags of winter clothing for all my bags of spring wear. Before heading out of the city we decided to get lunch at Junior's Restaurant in Brooklyn. It may be famous for its cheesecake, but Junior's is actually an IMPORTANT restaurant for my family. My parents have been eating there, and taking their children there, for over 30 years. Though I was raised outside the city, my older brothers and I were born in Brooklyn, and Junior's is THE Brooklyn restaurant that my family returns to again and again. And I have always loved going back. I love its old-fashioned ambience and its old-fashioned menu and its inherent BROOKLYN-NESS.

But yesterday was a bust. I wasn't hungry and even Junior's, a restaurant that wins my heart with Something Different (a sandwich composed of thick slices of brisket layered between two fried potato pancakes -- atrocious and amazing), couldn't coax me. It made me sad to say no to the bowls of free condiments (pickled beets, crisp cole slaw, pickles, a generous bread basket with hot seeded rolls and warm buttery corn bread); it made me sad that I didn't even come close to finishing the bowl of matzoh ball soup that I forced myself to order. It made me sad that Junior's, my family's Old Reliable, couldn't rely on me, on my Old Reliable: my appetite.

My parents are feeders. They feed me, and that's how they nurture me. And I went home to be nurtured, but I failed at it this weekend. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't eat. When my mother made homemade waffles this morning and sliced fresh strawberries on top I couldn't drum up any enthusiasm for her offer. I simply wasn't appetized by anything. It made me feel so sad to be home and incapable of accepting the things that make home what it is: a place of nourishment. It's something I've always been good at: Saying yes. Eating. Being fed. I have ALWAYS been the hungry one.

And right now, I just am not.

I want SOMETHING, but I don't know what. I can't place it. Sweet? Savory? I don't know what I'm craving, so nothing seems appetizing. And if I eat the wrong thing, will it really matter? My body will digest what it needs and leave the rest to waste, and whatever I consume will become a part of me, or it won't, so what does it matter? Do I wait for the thing that makes me salivate or do I fill up on junk or should I just be spare and healthy?

I am talking about food.
Of course I am not talking about food.
I went home.
But I am always home.


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