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Travelling mouth and stomach first
Lisa is visiting from Tel Aviv. So funny how we go about missing and fetishizing things from places we visit. For my family, it is always food - we consume places mouth and stomach first, like some literal traveller's sacrament.

Lisa has just come to town and the first dinner she wanted was Indian vegetarian at Udupi on Gerrard street. Later this trip we will have good chinese food. It is the way she wants to taste the city, and I like her taste.

For me, when I dream of Israel, it is often the food- the giant lafas stuffed with felafel and salad. Turkish coffee. Kubeh soup on Agripas street. Fat sunflower seeds. Rugalech from marzipan. Humous from pinati.

She came laden with gifts: Some Etgar Keret books in English with the Hebrew versions (he writes in a very simple Hebrew I can sorta understand).

She also brought a bunch of cd's, among them, the Yemenite-Israeli singer Boaz Sharabi. I pop in the cd, and suddenly I remember 12 years ago in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, standing outside a packed bar, watching this wee, passionate man perform some songs that trod the fine line between soulful and schlock. "Ani Ohev Otach, Leah..." He sang. (I love you, Lea). People watched him with the reverence that hipsters here would reserve for the timeless camp of Neil Diamond.

And I knew all the words, because I worked in a Yeminite restaurant that had several apropos cd's on constant, nauseating rotation. I remember at a certain point in the night, my ego bruised by bad customers, this song would come back into rotation "etzli ha kol beseder..." (everything's fine with me).

All these memories of being a bad waitress in a language I was only beginning to speak are back. And with those memories, a craving for Yeminite food: What I would give for a melawach with reseg agvaniot and chili paste. To eat my way back in time.

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11.1.2006
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post #1235
bio: adina
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11/1/2006
23:16

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