Daze of My Life: Now that's what I call "Take Out"
Daze of My Life
Now that's what I call "Take Out"
So far as I know, which isn't that far, we cannot travel back in time, or forward for that matter. So when the occasion presents itself, it's an occasion not to be missed. And for those of you who read this column regularly, the trip to which I refer doesn't involve literature (H.G. Wells) or physics (Albert Einstein), it involves--usually--food, family or sports. This column will be about food, specifically, Chinese food--from Boston!
In late spring, a great Friday, our closest cousins, Rona and Gil, along with their daughter, Jayne, drove down to Maryland from Boston to visit our family and brought with them two, professionally packed, oversized coolers, filled with over $200 of Chinese food, a meal of plenty, to be sure.
Recently, Rona and Gil moved north from Florida to be near their children. While living in Florida, especially during the last two years of my parent's lives there, Rona and Gil, kept my parents alive, practically. (Rona's mother, my Auntie Lee, now deceased, was my mother's older sister, so Rona is a niece to my mother, but in reality, she's so much more.)
And now that Rona and Gil have moved back to Boston (Pembroke, actually), they have access to Boston Chinese food, any time they want it. No greater envy can I have than of a person--or persons--living within pick up and/or delivery of Chinese food from Boston, especially the appetizers; which for me means: egg rolls, pork strips, spare ribs (boneless ones, too) and fried rice.
Now I don't eat much variety so, I'm forced--by my own mental problems--to eat the same foods over and over again, whether it is good, bad or indifferent. I have no choice. It's who I am and it's what I do, and I can live with the consequences--no problem, no complaints. And for those of you who don't know me or have never seen me, don't worry, I'm hardly undernourished despite this adolescent-type pickiness.
And even though the particular Chinese restaurant from where my cousins picked and packed this extraordinary feast was not "China Sales," the Chinese restaurant of my youth/Boston roots (formerly located on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill, Ma., now closed) it was still delicious and extremely memorable. Memorable of my many trips home to visit my parents years ago when they were still living in Massachusetts, when, after flying into Logan Airport in Boston, where my father would be ready and waiting, our 45-minute drive to Framingham detoured from the Mass Pike for a lunch time stop at "China Sales." There my father and I would order two "millionaire specials" as they were known, each including an order of spare ribs, an order of pork strips and an egg roll, all piled high on a mound of fried rice. It didn't get any better than that. And it's been 16 years, ever since before my parents retired to Florida in 1990, that I've tasted Chinese food like that, until April 14th of this year, that is. That evening was for me, like a trip back home, a trip I'll be lucky to ever take again.
The point of this column is not to disparage all local Chinese restaurants, that goes without saying. The point of this column is that regardless of who you are or where you live, there are parent-prepared meals or pizza or cheese steaks or bagels or pastry or deli or bread or hot dogs or hamburgers (I'm from the Northeast, ergo my list) or Chinese or Italian food (the North End in Boston), that you simply cannot get any more or cannot get where you presently live or can only get under very special--and rare--circumstances.
Well, thanks to Rona, Gil and Jayne, my family experienced those special circumstances and did indeed travel back in time, if only for an evening and a meal. We didn't actually go anywhere, but we were transported nonetheless. It was a night--and a meal--I'll never forget. (I only wish my father could remember it as well, but he ate good that night so I guess that will have to suffice.)
Next request: Brigham's ice cream, and the dry ice is on me.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.