Turmeric ain’t vanilla and other thoughts on Brooklyn

I have been to Brooklyn.

I got to travel up there for some training with my day job. Now I’ve been to New York many times, and I love every little bite of the Big Apple I get, but I’d never had the opportunity to venture across the bridge into Brooklyn. On this trip, though, it was all Brooklyn all the time.

Here are some things I learned about New York’s most populous, and seemingly most popular, borough:

  • Brooklyn is lovely. It really is. But I swear on all the corned beef at Katz’s Deli, I was the only person in Brooklyn over 30. I take that back — I did see one really old man creeping down the sidewalk while we were on a break, but I feel pretty confident that either (a) he was lost or (b) he’d been there since Brooklyn was a pup (it was first settled in 1634).
  • You can’t swing a dead cat in Brooklyn without hitting a piece of avocado toast. Brooklyn is very trendy. And very cool. And the very definition of all that is hipster.
  • I’m not cool enough for Brooklyn.
  • If you go to the coffee shop in Brooklyn, don’t ask for a vanilla latte. They will look at you like you ordered a cat turd latte. “We don’t have vanilla,” they will spit at you as they roll their eyes and look disgusted under their floppy beanies. But they will, in an effort to accommodate an apparently lost and un-hip Southerner, offer to put turmeric in your latte.
  • Turmeric ain’t the same as vanilla.
  • But despite the coffee conundrum, the food is good. Real good. From a Turkish lunch catered by Deniz Restaurant to sausages and sauerkraut at Black Forest, duck cassoulet at Bacchus Bistro to chicken liver mousse at Vinegar Hill House, every bite of food I ate was better than the last. That’s why I think that …
  • It must be all the walking that keeps Brooklynites (Brookliners ?) skinny, which is probably why they can be so fashionable all the time, which leads me to the fact that …
  • I packed what I thought were some of my coolest duds in my never-ending crusade to represent the South as evolved and current. My clothes are not Brooklyn cool. If ever there was a time when I felt every bit of my nearly 50 years, felt like a true fashion fiasco, felt like everyone’s Mamaw in a polyester pants suit, it was in Brooklyn.
  • I love walking in a city, even when it is below freezing and I can’t feel my toes inside my coolest booties and my eyes are watering and my nose is running. There’s a certain energy and excitement you feel just by being there that gives you the strength to walk 10 miles in a day when at home you’re loathe to walk two blocks.
  • The nighttime view of Manhattan from across the river is truly breathtaking. Do what your Mama always told you not to and walk down dark allies to stand in a deserted park in the middle of the night. It’s worth it.

Brooklyn, I’ll most definitely be back, even if you do put turmeric in your coffee.

4 thoughts on “Turmeric ain’t vanilla and other thoughts on Brooklyn

  1. I grew up in South Carolina and live in Brooklyn now. If you can’t be in the South, it is a beautiful place, and as you say, so much is going on. It is nice that enjoying those dark places is so safe in one of the our country’s safest cities. I so enjoy not walking around with my hand on my wallet to prevent having it stolen. It took me a couple of months to get over that after I first moved here. I have never lacked offers of help when I have needed it, and I have yet to see a woman alone with her baby have to carry that baby in its carriage up the subway stairs. I’m 78 and find adapting to the youngsters all through at the country a fascinating and wonderful experience. I find out a lot more about them since I have stopped giving out advice. I enjoy your Blog whenever it comes. When are you going to convert the 30 days of “sayings” with the 30 days of recipes into one of the world’s best cookbooks? When you do, please let me know the publication date, and I would like an autographed copy.

    1. Hey Bill! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words! I have thought of turning those pieces into a little book so maybe I will one of these days. Glad to know at least one person would be interested in having it! I didn’t know I had a reader in Brooklyn! How did you find out about my blog? I’m always interested to know.

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