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A World of Menus and Recipes

What sounds more old-fashioned than "aspic"? I'll bet that lots of people have never tasted one. But I assure you that there is nothing more refreshing than the julienned beet aspic toward which this entry is pointed. Like all cold dishes, it's made well in advance, so that preparation of the dish is completely uncoupled from the inevitable fuss of entertaining.

We have a good friend who won't eat beets. To her, they taste like dirt. I was astounded when I heard this, but over time I've come to see what she means - and I also see why certain remote and disadvantaged people eat dirt. (Or so they say.) Beets are undeniably earthy. But what this means is not that they taste vague and indistinct, but rather sharp and even a bit metallic. That's what makes them so refreshing. Like lemons, they announce themselves with vigor and a total lack of ambiguity.

Culinarion>Savories>A World of Menus and Recipes

¶ Last night, to get to Lincoln Center, I boarded a crosstown bus that, when I walked out of the building, was standing in front of our driveway, waiting for the light to change. Walking vigorously, I caught up with it on the other side of Second Avenue - sometimes it's a blessing that buses take forever to board. I don't know when the girl in the green top got on the bus, but she got off just ahead of me at Broadway.

She wasn't a girl really. In her mid-thirties. An independent person, I should say, if only because she was out by herself on a Saturday night. Neither tall nor short, large nor small, plain nor beautiful, she was just a girl in a bright green top, a grey skirt, and - I think - deep red pumps. I took in this information when I followed her out of the 66th Street station. So, we're both going to Mostly Mozart, I thought. Not that I saw her go into Avery Fisher Hall. I was too busy promenading the Josie Robertson Plaza - isn't that what it's improbably called? - making phone calls. It was, after all, only 7:30. I forgot all about the girl in the green top.

Until she was the first person in the seats behind the Mostly Mozart Orchestra to stand up and applaud when the performance of the Jupiter Symphony was over. When two Manhattanites who know each other run into each other, they're quick to say that New York is a small town. This was different: this was something that proved how very much New York is not a small town. This was holding on, for more than two seconds, to one of the hundreds - sometimes thousands - of total strangers that one encounters in the course of doing almost anything exterior in Manhattan.


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