First Snow

Friday, January 19th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

New York City officially recorded its first flurries on January 10, the latest-arriving city snow in 129 years. The flakes blew in on a blustery morning, just days after temperatures hit an absurdly high 72 degrees one sunny Saturday. That first snow came and went, lasting less than 15 minutes, with negligible accumulation. This morning’s dusting lasted just a bit longer, long enough for me to snap these photos in Central Park on the way to work.

Central Park First Snow

Central Park First Snow

By afternoon, the three-tenths of an inch that had managed to accumulate was just a memory.

Later, an orange-themed pot-luck dinner party at the B home. (Can other colors be far behind?) Contributions included RV’s ginger-carrot soup, JS’s vegetarian chili, AC’s corn soufflé, JK’s kimchi pancakes, JL’s clementines, BC’s passion fruit mousse, AH’s carrot cake and HYB’s screwdrivers. After work, I picked up an order of appropriately-hued sweet and sour chicken in Chinatown. Can’t remember the last time I had this quintessential Chinese takeout food.

Sweet and sour meat dishes first became popular in the United States after World War II when Asian cuisines (notably Chinese, Japanese and Polynesian) first piqued the interest of mainstream America. Back then, the dishes — heavily sweetened with the addition of pineapple — were served in the “Polynesian-style” restaurants that were in vogue at the time, think: tiki lounges and pu pu platters. In actuality, such menus were based largely on Cantonese cuisine: egg rolls, chicken wings, beef skewers, fried wontons, spare ribs. From the time when Chinese food was first introduced to the United States in the 19th century (imported by the Chinese immigrants from Canton who began settling in California), Asian dishes intended for American diners were adapted to suit exotic expectations. The emphasis was on basic (often fried) meats and vegetables, with a heavy reliance on standard sauces (soy, sweet and sour). The effect is generally referred to as the “Chop Suey syndrome” — named for the prototypical “Chinese” dish that was entirely invented in America.

Authenticity aside, who doesn’t enjoy a steaming platter of sweet and sour chicken (or pork) every once in a while? Chunks of canned pineapple and battered, deep-fried meat, swimming in thick, gloppy sauce of that day-glo color not found anywhere in nature… Okay, maybe every once in a long  while.

But the true highlight of the evening was the premiere of the B family home movies (circa 1985), recently transferred from Betamax to DVD by JL. Who knew that HYB was such an adorable ham back in the day?

There are 3 Comments ... First Snow

January 30, 2007

I like ham. Maybe I should go to Faicco’s or even Schaller & Weber.

January 30, 2007

Or perhaps you could check out the East Village Meat Market?

One day, I hope to sink my teeth into this outrageous-looking sandwich in La Rambla.

January 31, 2007

Ok, so smoked ham from EV Meat Market, Italian sausages from Faicco’s, and some German wursts from S&W will be on the menu in some form for Super Bowl Sunday.

Go for it ...