The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘food

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It’s National Crunchy Taco Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has two surviving memories from early childhood. The first involves being imprisoned in a playpen while my mother vacuumed the garishly colored (typical of the early 1970’s) carpet of my parent’s bedroom, and I must have been two or three years old. The other is sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the conclusion of a family dinner during the Nixon administration, an era when the family meal typically concluded with coffee and cake. I remember Grandpa grabbing my little kid hand, which was grasping a cookie, and then helping me dip it into his black coffee.

To this day, I’m still a black coffee guy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The aforementioned cookie wasn’t oatmeal raisin, instead it was something which members of my family refer to as an “Ida Cookie.” My Dad’s oldest sister, and the de facto matriarch of clan Waxman, was named Ida and she was a well practiced baker. Aunt Ida would routinely show up at everyone’s house with pounds and pounds of baked goods. Nearly everything she baked was designed to be quaffed with hot caffeinated beverages, and for one reason or another, if she had overlooked something to the point of it nearly becoming charcoal, we would all fight over possession of that particular cookie. “Char” was big with the family.

Ida also made amazing apple cakes, pies, and especially variants on the cookies. The most highly prized item she offered was something called a “raisin rock,” which was often shattered by knives rather than sliced.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle has been sharpening her baking skills in recent years. It started out when one of her advertising clients, a nationally known brand, required the production of example foodstuffs for marketing purposes but had no budget for doing it “the right way,” which in advertising speak means hiring a chef and a food stylist. Accordingly, Our Lady built up her skill set and began manufacturing items such as the spread seen above. I’d occasionally wave the camera around at her creations, although she did most of the photography, and we puchased a few low end umbrella lights to augment the process.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 21, 2017 at 11:00 am

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A continuing series of colorful images, combatting the SAD reality of January.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a reason that your summer clothes are always tight when you put them on in June, and it has nothing to do with them getting shrunk by careless laundromat employees. During the cold months, there’s few options open for Queensicans other than to hunker down in their domiciles and blankly stare at a television screen while stuffing food into their mastication orifice. Personally, I’m a big fan of Citrus during the interminable winter months – high in fiber, hydrating, and it delivers a much needed blast of vitamin C.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Thing is, living in Queens, one has a lot of options which – while not the smartest choice from a dietary point of view – taste real good. A humble narrator is prejudiced towards the selection of an oatmeal raisin cookie while browsing the bakery case, using the rationalization that since its oatmeal – it’s a better choice to make. One entirely omits the fact that these things are full of the “devil’s grease,” which is better known as butter.

Either way, I’m not even thinking about the sugar.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Speaking of sugar, the shop keeps here in Astoria constantly up their cake game. Often, I wonder if they have struck some sort of deal with Satan itself, committing to slowly murdering as many of us as is possible with baked goods such as the chocolate heart cakes seen above. A true devil’s bargain, and shaped like that which they’re aimed at, these are.

Short term gain indeed, in return for an artery choking case of sclerosis which would send one plummeting to the fiery pit and into the company of the beast.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

There are those who work for us, instead, it should be mentioned. Agricultural bounty is available wherever you choose to seek it out. My team of doctors have passed on a simple coda for interpreting foodstuffs of the vegetative variety – bright greens and dark greens are packed with iron and simple sugars, and red things are anti inflammatory powerhouses. Yellow things are also a good choice, but one should generally avoid white and brown things like potatoes due to the carbohydrate load indicated by their coloration.

They are ambivalent about orange things, my docs, which is good as I’m a carrot guy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The coda falls apart when witnessing so called “heirloom” cultivars, of course. There’s a lot of these sorts of vegetable and fruit on the market these days, which are sold with the legend “organic.” Of course, being “Captain Vocabulary” and all – the term has always bothered me as it betrays a lack of knowledge about what words actually mean. My response to the word “organic” is always “oh good, there’s no silicon in this tomato.”

I avoid the purchase of said heirlooms, or hipster fruit as I sometimes call it. If a “regular” tomato was good enough for Harry Truman, it’s good enough for me.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wildly verdant, despite the environmental horror of it all, these “sewer berries” can be observed growing in Greenpoint. I would recommend against their consumption, of course.

Legend has it that quaffing a handful of Greenpoint’s sewer berries will lead to bodily transformations and psychological changes. Vampirism might be rampant on the Queens side of Newtown Creek, but apocryphal tales from hoary Greenpoint involving lycanthropy all seem to tie back to some punter tossing back a few feral berries. At least that’s what’s supposed to have happened to McGuniness.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

January 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Only 13 days left until the 13th b’ak’tun ends, initiating the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st. With time running out, it’s probably wise to try and keep your strength up. if you’re on the south side of Astoria, specifically 34th avenue and Steinway, you could do worse than visiting the food cart we locals call “Shwarma Joe”. They do a chicken sandwich here that can’t be beat, which incorporates eggplant, french fried potatoes, and white yogurt sauce along with fiery red sauce for around five bucks. Yum. I avoid Gyro’s like the plague, so can’t recommend that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Oddly, another of my little quirks is that I like to pick a particularly cold day and go to the local fruit seller for tropical or out of season varieties. This is one of the great luxuries of living in New York, the overwhelming availability of fresh citrus in December, or the sheer caprice of buying a mango during a blizzard. Such carbon churning and earth destructive market availability is a rare historical anomaly. After the Mayan Apocalypse, we will be fighting each other over rat meat, so enjoy it while you can.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 8, 2012 at 12:15 am

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