‘Twas the night before …
…Parents Weekend at my daughter’s college. I’m getting everything ready to throw in the car so that we can get an early start tomorrow. Since she left in August we have sent her two packages. Since package #2 left New Jersey a few weeks ago I’ve been compiling a list of the things that we need to bring with us this weekend. It’s not a short list.
Mostly, what we’re talking about here is foul weather gear and heavy clothing. It has gotten significantly chillier up in the northern portion of Vermont since August. Significantly. Chillier.
Outside of these types of things, necessary things, what my daughter wants more than anything is a taste of home. Tastes, plural, really. Literally.
She wants bagels. She wants pizza. She wants fresh mozzarella — the kind that you can get in the supermarket here, the kind they don’t sell anywhere in Vermont, a State that is, basically, KNOWN for its cheese. Not fresh mozzarella, though. Nope. Not THAT cheese. Not mozzarella of the caliber that she is used to eating. Not the GOOD kind. Not the stuff that we (almost) ALWAYS have a braid of in our fridge. Because, you know, this is Jersey. It goes good with the tomatoes. On a nice semolina bread.
Don’t even get me started on bread. There’s no good bread outside of this area. None. End of story. And bagels? Fuggedaboudit.
I don’t know what it is about bagels. I cannot understand why no one outside of the New York-Metropolitan area can figure out how to make a decent bagel. It’s dough boiled in water for crying out loud! How hard can that be? Apparently it isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible. Because nobody makes them like we do. Nobody.
I’ve heard it’s something about our water supply. Okay. So, if you want to make an authentic bagel, ship our water to wherever it is you are. Expensive? Sure. Impossible? Surely not. Still, I’ve never heard of anyone doing it. You’d have to figure if they’d do it anywhere, they’d do it in Vegas. Maybe they do and I just don’t know about it. I don’t think so, though. If it concerned bagels, I’m sure I’d know about it.
I know next to nothing about what’s going on in the world. That guy with Ebola who died? I didn’t even know there WAS a guy with Ebola in this country. I thought people were making it up. If he’d perished as a result of getting ahold of a bad bagel, though, that I would’ve known about. Oh, yes. I would have. Because that would interest me. And it would concern me. Eating a bagel can kill me? Oh. My. God.
I’d have to think long and hard about whether or not life in a world without bagels — a bagelless future — would be worth living. I would. I really would. I’m not entirely sure I would choose to go on. Honestly. I’m not even slightly kidding. I do not joke about bagels. Bagels are sacred.
As is pizza. Well, REAL pizza anyway. I’m not talking about that pastry dough or buttery crust concoction they try to peddle as pizza up in Chicagoland. I’m talking about the stuff we make here in Jersey. Real pizza. The kind made of dough that’s stretched and shaped by a human fist, as God intended pizza to be made. Not by a rolling pin, which may, in point of fact, be the work of the devil — or his handmaids. Real pizza. With the tomato sauce kissing the dough, not hanging out on top of the cheese like an afterthought. Real pizza. Jersey pizza.
Vermont has changed her some. I won’t lie. She has made some recent requests for flannel shirts. The kid with the subscription to “Teen Vogue” asking for PLAID FLANNEL shirts had me a little worried. I was concerned that she was eschewing her roots, perhaps throwing in with the cheddar cheese and maple syrup crowd until, that is, she asked for the foods that she was raised on, the foods of her people,
It turns out that I needn’t have worried. It looks like I raised a Jersey girl after all. How about that.