I’m currently blogging from a cafe in Berkeley where there is a poetry wall and a man with hair like Tiny Tim (the singer), who is laughing hysterically in periodic spurts at his library book. Blogging in Berkeley is one of those things everyone should do at some point, unless they actually have a job or family to support. I’m on vacation so I have an excuse. Oops I just scared the laughing man away. I kept trying to read the title of his book but all I could see was that it was from The San Diego Public Library which isn’t very close to here at all. I lived in Berkeley for about 10 years, before there were laptops in coffee shops, before there was a Buddhist bookstore across the street in the old car dealership but not before it became a mecca for the food obsessed.
Now that I live in Anchorage Alaska I am startlingly aware of how sad we must look when God is hungry. Alaska is a destination for giant vegetables but what are giant vegetables in comparison to a gigantic variety of wonderful tasting locally grown organics. It’s kind of like comparing a giant dictionary to a book of sonnets. Let me begin with my visit to The Berkeley Bowl which is the place to go to be overwhelmed with the organicity of things and the parking. I would guess you can get every ingredient in the world if not the universe here and it is all labeled with point of origin info. My friend Dove and I counted 10 types of mangos. We bought the tiny baby ones for the teens she has a home. I don’t have teens but I noticed it’s a bit like feeding fish, they will continue to eat as long as they are not sleeping. These particular teens also consumed potstickers, cut up oranges and candy bars for a snack, (the candy bars were my idea). This is before dinner. They are also extraordinarily healthy looking just in case you are wondering. They appeared to have grown a few inches taller just between the oranges and the potstickers. I could not help taking photos at The Bowl. Below find the shrine to the miniature tomato. There was another entire aisle of large tomatoes.
If you have been to The Bowl you will remember that the parking is quite restricted, it’s a former Safeway marketplace but now a one of a kind destination, like Disneyland. I agree with Dove that it is unthinkable to even enter the parking lot unless you are handicapped. The checkout lines are also a bit long but not because they are few but because they are so friendly. Yes, the most friendly checkers in the world work here. We even met a friendly petitioner on the way in who got Dove to sign 4 petitions. She refused to sign the last one which addressed genetically engineered foods. He was incredulous as he was standing in the sacred mouth of The Bowl. “She’s an engineer,” I explained. We both agreed that vegetables and fruit have been genetically engineered since farming began. At least since that guy who grew the peas.
Is this what I’ve been eating so much of? It looks a little like maggots. This reminded me a bit of how my friend Fred reacted to me picking and serving fiddlehead greens in Alaska. “Your’e not supposed to eat food that comes from the ground”, he growled. Fred is from Canarsie.
Later on we saw this truck while walking. I want one or at least I want a snow cone from this truck. I think we need one in Anchorage. How could it not make money, just sugar syrup and water. It’s all in the presentation. I will pay for nostalgia, for a childhood I can’t buy back.
It’s about time for me to sign off on my free internet at The Sonoma coffee shop on the corner of Durant and Fulton but I have many more Berkeley stories for you which will just have to wait until the next post. Until then -Eat well and prosper!