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Over 60... And Getting Younger: May 29, 2009

A Gastronomic Experience

My father told me many years ago, that if I was hungry “just fill your mouth with something.” A candy bar, a slice of pizza, a hot dog, or anything that was handy.

The other day after a 2:30 p.m. appointment with my dentist, Dr. Stuart Kesner, I was ravenous. I looked everywhere for a hot dog vendor as I drove to Manhattan to visit my two grandsons, Lewis and Alexander. As I passed Queens College I saw an aluminum truck on Kissena Boulevard that usually is a traveling frankfurter salesman. I made a quick U-turn and pulled up next to the wagon. Nothing on the cart mentioned hot dogs. There was lamb and rice, chicken and rice with vegetables and some other Middle Eastern foods that were unfamiliar to me. I shouted, “Hot Dogs?” He shook his head, “No!” All the people on line turned to observe me and they looked at me as if I had two heads. I slinked back and withdrew from the scene as quietly as possible. But I was still famished.

I entered the Long Island Expressway on which there are no hot dog stands. My stomach was rumbling and I felt like a desert wanderer seeking an oasis. Surely Manhattan would have many sidewalk hot dog purveyors.

After getting off the F.D.R. Drive, I found the answer to my quest.

And to my happy surprise, I spied an aluminum cart with a yellow umbrella above. At last my quest was over, or so I imagined. “Hot dogs?” again I shouted to a nice lady. She replied, “No hotdogs, this is a Mexican Taco stand.” Defeated again and still starving I plodded on. Ethnic foods but no hot dogs.

I turned left on 86th Street and there it was. Two hot dogs and a papaya drink (very nourishing) for $4.97. I found an illegal parking spot and rushed into the store. I took my three cents change and ordered – one with sauerkraut - and one with onions. I went back to my car and devoured my treasure along with my papaya drink. It was glorious.

My father was right!