Sitting here in my long underwear it is hard to imagine that just a mere month ago I was sticking to the asphalt and sweating in my cold shower. Dogs panted in the shade and people were very very quiet on the subway. (One only need spend one summer in NYC to understand why the homicide rate skyrockets when summer arrives.)
So to celebrate the Bay Area's version of summer, which we expect in October, I give you this chilly tease. Close your eyes. Open your mouth. Frozen flakes of sweet sticky syrup of flavours blue and red, milky white fatty coconut and chartreuse lime. You can barely catch the ice before it melts, melding with sugar and you lick your fingers and it spills down your shirt but now you're laughing because you're not sure if wearing this old fashioned concoction-elixir of street urchins, Puerto Rican ladies and children soaked from the fire hydrant sprinkler, is what you meant to do when you asked in broken Spanish for the $1 icy treat.
The leather looking man flashed a sharp metal hand held tool and pushed into the dense rock. Swoop! Into the cup and then a quick reach for the syrup. Pours it over the mound of shaved ice but doesn't stop in time. Street food that makes you stop and drink it all up, now. You fumble trying to keep it in the cup so that the cold liquid can get to your desperate mouth.
My mother and I used to walk these Lower East Side streets when they weren't cute and in fashion. We bought bread pudding from the bodegas on letter street corners and lived on coco helado in the summer. I learned how to pair guava paste with cream cheese and what the whistles from rooftops meant.
Go on, have a little taste.
~~~food as memory ~