Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 - 8:27 a.m.
Made falafel for dinner last night. My first attempt. Falafel is one of those things...well, growing up in Daytona, I never encountered it. Then in my early 20s I came across references to it in cooking magazines (chickpeas themselves were foreign to me at that time) and it sounded impossibly exotic (it didn't help that in my house we never had newfangled technologies like 'food processors', so that alone made it seem inaccessible). I don't remember when I finally got to have it-- well into adulthood, certainly. And now I have made it. It was actually ridiculously easy. I've really come a long way, is all. Little things sometimes remind me of that. And I have to say, best falafel I've ever had. Seriously. It was really good.
Where I went to elementary school for 4-6th grades was one of the oldest buildings in town-- built in 1916. In Florida especially, that's really old. The paint was all peeling, and there was no air conditioning*, and the glass of the windows was thick toward the bottom and thin at the top because it was so old. The principal had a large display cabinet in the hallway of dead things pickled in jars. Do schools have those anymore? Probably not. The school was right on the riverfront (mangrove estuary, really), and only about 1/4 mile from the marina where I lived, so I walked to and from. Usually I crossed the street and walked along the seawall. There was a tree growing out over the water, right across from the school-- me and my best friend would go there and play after school, before going home. This was the early 80s when Prince was getting a lot of airplay, so we called the tree "Crazy" so we could say to each other, "Let's go Crazy" and it was sort of like code. When it was high tide, we'd play with the water lapping beneath us; when the tide was low, it was that thick estuary muck. Sometimes when I was alone and the tide was low, I'd walk along the seawall in the muck of the river, looking at all the stuff there. Oysters, horsehoe crabs, whatever. It was sort of an exploratory adventure. My shoes would sink into the muck an inch or two, but my feet woulnd't get wet inside. Sometimes I'd slip in it, but I never did fall. That would've been really gross.
In the early 90s, they tore down the school and built townhouses for snowbirds and retirees. Hey, prime riverfront real estate. That's Florida for you. I think Crazy is still there, though.
*Upon reflection,I realize this is not true. There was one ineffectual window unit per room. I recall this because one time, when we were running laps around the playground, my friend Andrea didn't look where she was going and she ran smack into one and passed out cold with a big gash in her forehead.
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