This Monday was Labor Day, the federal holiday to celebrate the nation’s workers, written into law after a particularly contentious labor strike in 1894, and a day in which Americans (in the U.S.) mark the end of the unofficial end summer with barbeques, picnics, parties, games, and other opportunities to enjoy the last vestiges of sunshine outdoors. And to mark the start of football season, which I personally have never done. It’s all about the food for me.
In addition to the national news (that mostly only circulated in farming and food circles) about farmworkers rights, I had my own experience with manual labor and the food production/service industries as a volunteer at the Church of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. Lest you all think I have a heart of gold, no, this morning of service was accidental and a part of my professional pursuits. I was there to get an interview for a story about one of the many social programs the soup kitchen holds for both its homeless and not-so-homeless guests, but got roped into the day’s meal distribution as a pre-requisite.
It was fun, though. I’ve volunteered at soup kitchens since ninth grade, so thought that i knew all there was to expect, like ladling, chatting, cleaning, and sometimes measuring clothing donations. But lo, different soup kitchens handle distribution in different ways! Holy Apostles has a larger communal dining space than Bowery Mission Soup Kitchen, down in the Lower East Side, does, and as it was a national holiday (Labor Day), had more people coming for meals, thus needing more volunteers to help out. I was placed on the Floor as a water- and milk-pitcher refresher and table cleaner. This opened me up to interaction with guests by way of requests for more salt, plastic spoons, and more ice cream (the special treat for the holiday).
These cereal bowls have been filed away in my mind’s eye for at least a month now and I finally stopped by Fish’s Eddy on 19th and Broadway – the best dishware store ever! – to see if they were still there and to get one. I love the nursery rhyme theme and the primary colors. So cute! And such a filling portion size! They were indeed there, but after looking at the $10.95 price tag, which really is pretty good, my barely employed self cheapened out. I took a photo, though, to see if it would be enough to allay this sudden urge to shop for dishware.
Aren’t they cute?
The design comes in mugs and glasses, too.
Maybe I’ll go back and get one.
Maybe a whole set.
Maybe when I get a steady job.
Late summer’s bounty is a beautifully colorful thing. Even when driven down and planted right at your doorstep.
Yellow and green acorn and zucchini squash, peppers galore in a rainbow of hues, and crates aplenty of fruits and berries.
See those bottles of cider? Those are from my favorite orchard (by default since I grew up with them arriving in my dad’s arms after work, but they’re amazingly tasty and sweet-tart, too), Red Jacket Orchards. Their staff drives down just about every weekday to set up their stands at various Greenmarkets throughout the boroughs. I’ve seen them in Bowling Green, Grand Army Plaza, and Union Square.
And now they have a cider ice pop stand! Red plum, peach and all those other refreshingly delicious flavors for $3.50 a pop!
I was on food-cloud nine.