May 2002

Another Sign

Last night after dinner at The Anchor, my visiting German friend Chris and I took a slow stroll on Castro up to 17th Street and back to my parking place near The Anchor.

During the trip we encountered four San Francisco police officers, and I couldn’t at first put my finger on what it was, but somehow something was different. It was only when we passed the last of them as he stood talking to a couple of locals that I realized what was so striking. He looked like a high school student to me, and what had struck me earlier was that they all had looked like students.

Then I realized that here was another sign of aging: the cops start looking young.
And it was only after I made this observation to some friends that it struck me that yet another sign of aging is describing a walk up one side of a block and down the other as a “trip.”

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Ferry Plaza Haul

I’m plotting…lunch. I made such a haul on Saturday at the Ferry Plaza even though I confined myself to soft foods owing to a recent dental nightmare.
Yesterday, I breakfasted on fresh anchovies, which I’d never cooked and only rarely even seen. The night before, I consulted Peterson’sFish and ShellfishJoy of Cooking of seafood cookbooks) and Cronin, Harlow, and Johnson’s California Seafood Cookbook, both of which said first choice was to grill them. Oh puhleez. Both grudgingly admitted that they could be floured and sautéed.

Unfortunately, they were “round,” which may be my favorite euphemism. So the pleasure of eating them was preceded by the tedium of cleaning many small disgusting things. However, with practice, I found that if I just ripped the head off, most of the innards were pulled out with it, especially if I pre-slit the belly. I got a skillet hot with a little oil in it, shook the anchovies with flour and salt and pepper, and dumped ’em in. Then just turned them over a couple of times, pitched them out onto a plate, and ate. They were very good. Then I was stuck with this skillet with a little anchovy flavored oil in it, so I sliced up this real tired potato and sautéed it, a treat I haven’t had in ages.

For a breakfast dessert I had strawberries. On Saturday I had happened to glance at some strawberries at a vendor I don’t normally use whose name I can’t remember and thought, “Migod! Those look like they might be Chandlers.” So I asked. They were. And even though I’d already bought a basket of the currently popular mutants from Sr. Yerena, I also bought a basket of the Chandlers. After I had eaten the potatoes, I sampled one. Then I ate the entire box without stopping. I had forgot how good they are. If you don’t know Chandlers, they look more “pointy” because the ratio of length to diameter is greater than the ones more commonly grown now. More importantly, they’re a lot smaller. Watch for them.

For lunch/dinner I had a chowder made with fresh scallops that was mostly scallops, potatoes (the rest of the tired ones), and cream sauce. Oh, that’s such a fine dish.

Tomorrow, continuing to eat in order of imminent spoilage, I will have for brunch a medley of pheasant sausage, avocado, and hothouse Early Girls that are so close to real summer tomatoes that you can hardly tell the difference…especially if you haven’t had a real summer tomato since last fall.
For supper, there will be a dish I concocted last week in the full throes of dental pain: “Petits Pois ®Frito.” Take a bag of what we used to call “English peas” that the Mouas have shelled out for you, cook with onion to the overdone and mushy stage, pour a piping hot cup or two into a bowl containing a handful of Original Fritos. Let set for a moment, and gum it all down. You need none of your dental prostheses for this dish, and yet it’s a rich combination of deliciousness and balanced proteins.

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