Sunday, June 8, 2014

A detailed list of all the unforgettable crap I’ll never eat again.

I think I need to expand on a statement from my last post that all of my favorite childhood memories involved FOOD. This is absolutely true, by the way. I grew up on the north side of Chicago and suburban Skokie, went to college in Evanston and then lived in all the same neighborhoods — either alone or with my first husband — until I was into my late 30s. The map below indicates: A) where I was born in the East Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago; B) where I grew up in Skokie; and C) where I went to college.
Okay, now it’s time to tackle the subject at hand, because all of a sudden tonight I’m feeling extremely nostalgic about the unforgettable crap I’ll never eat again — for a variety of reasons — for the rest of my life, since most of these restaurants no longer exist. Shout out if you remember any of them, okay? The list includes: Fluky’s Hot Dogs on Western Avenue in Chicago; Wesley’s broasted chicken on Dempster in Skokie (even though I always preferred their barbecue beef sandwiches); Puff Fluff Donuts; Pan-Dee’s in downtown Skokie for olive burgers with Heinz mustard; Desiree Restaurant for sundaes after a movie; Hot Dog Island at Gross Point Road and Central; Kaufman’s Bagel Bakery; Captain Nemo’s subs on Clark Street; Alberti’s Pizza with genuine Italians throwing dough in the window; the chocolate-covered halvah from Ashkenaz Deli on Morse Avenue; The Como Inn; Fanny’s in Evanston; Walker Brothers Pancake House; Paulson’s on Wabash in downtown Chicago for grilled hot dogs and a Green River soda (I was three years old); Harv’s on Church Street for mish-mash soup and free half-sour pickles; Barnaby’s; chili burgers at The Huddle; Mister Ricky’s; The Pickle Barrel; The Golden Pheasant on Broadway in Chicago where dad taught me how to order fried rice — i.e., “flied lice” — with a Chinese accent when I was 18 months old; Homer’s ice cream on Green Bay Road; Nankin; The Gold Coin; Good Humor trucks; and the penny candy from Key Pharmacy when I was in grammar school.
I think it’s safe to say that my food-centered childhood made me what I am today: an overweight diabetic with no teeth and very happy memories.

In case you’re interested I found a recent photo of the two-flat house on Newgard Avenue in Chicago where I spent the first five years of my life (1951–56). The house was built in 1909 and it’s just a couple of blocks from the beach. Looks like somebody with dough completely gentrified the place. Not bad for a 105-year-old building!
It’s 2:05 Sunday morning and Sam is here in the study with me. We’re not at all ready to go to bed, however, having just slept through Mister Roberts (1955) starring James Cagney, Henry Fonda and William Powell. We only sleep through the best.

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