Well, I think her customers would love it! It reminded me immediately of the chopped fresh cucumber/onion/tomato/minced hot pepper relish that my mother would always serve with family dinners during the summertime when I was growing up. (You will understand that family dinners in those days meant Sundays or holidays and always at noon.)
On Sunday at Ruan Thai in Greensboro I had the lunch special, yellow curry with chicken and fresh vegetables. It was delicious, as is everything on their menu and every special. The chef, who seems to like my interest in trying as many new things as possible and my being adventurous with seasonings, as usual came out to check on how I liked it. I assured her that it was great. She asked if I would like to try a special cucumber relish usually served with yellow curries in Thailand. Of course! She reported that she didn’t usually serve it to our local customers because she wasn’t sure they would like it.
[Restaurant Row: West 46th Street]
Recently I posted a piece on my favorite (so far) restaurant of all time: the old Fuji Restaurant in New York. But there are others I remember as well.
Tom’s and my favorite French restaurant, Crepes Suzette, was on Restaurant Row, West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It was run by two French women of mature years, the more managerial of the two named Madeleine. We must have been predictable, for on one occasional when we entered we heard Madeleine mention to her companion, “Here come the two Rob Roy boys!” While the food was not the best French cooking you could get in New York at the time, it was good, reliable, and not too pricy and we could always count on a table if we dropped by. I recall most fondly the boeuf Bourguignon, the beef Wellington, the broiled scallops, and most especially their Dover sole.
Madeleine had a nephew who waited tables and who could also tend bar and greet customers if Madeleine was away. Jean-Claude was young, slim, attractive, and full of himself. He never actually flirted (especially when Madeleine was there), but he somehow let it be known that he was not averse to being admired. Once a man sitting by himself at a table next to Tom’s and mine ordered the Dover sole. When it came out it looked beautiful. The nephew set it down across from the man and did a perfect job fileting the fish and removing the bone and reassembling the fish for presentation, and I am convinced that part of his presentation was himself to us. And then he picked up the plate to present to the customer, and as he was doing so he tipped the plate just that tiny little centimeter too far and the fish slid gradually right off the plate into the man’s lap. Talk about one crestfallen waiter and one angry Madeleine! Tom and I were graceful enough not to laugh. At least not then.
[With parents and sister, 1948]
Recently I donated to the archive at the University of South Alabama my 450+ page unpublished memoir "Story-Telling," to be made publicly available after my death. I had selected that archive because it alreay houses a major collection of invaluablel material dealing with Unbria Plantation and the Pickens family of Sawyerville and my memoir also features Umbria and that family prominently as well as a great deal of material about Sawyerville at the time and over the years. I subsequently discovered that my memoir was valuable to them for other reasons asa well. Along with the memoir I included a weatlh of photos of Umbria, including the old HABS photographs, a large number of color photos taken in the spring of 1971 before the house burned the following December, and photos I had made of the ruins in 1999. In addition I included my files of photos that illustrate Sawyerville over the years and files with photos of my paternal and maternal relatives. And then I thought: If I were reading this memoir in the future I would wish to know what the author himself looked lilke. Hence this file, which I will share withj you.
Occasionally one takes a pen in hand to try to clarify one’s own thoughts by writing them down. Of course, the danger is that one will become so enchanted with one’s own prose that one will start to believe what one writes instead of writing what one believes.
I could have gotten rid of some of those “ones” in that opening paragraph simply by the judicious substitution of “he.” That choice of pronoun could be the old-fashioned “he” that referred to anyone of either (or any) sex or it could be my choice because I am male and so identify.