I have a memory of a jelly dipped marshmallow topped with a fig, but I can’t find anything to document that thin memory. On cold days the jelly man stood outside with his push cart and warmed his hands over the black kettle of hot jelly. His hands always looked chapped and cracked even as the weather warmed.
As soon as I was old enough to walk down the hill to the candy store I discovered egg creams. I recall watching Max, the owner of the candy store, tilt a glass— drizzle a large amount of chocolate into the glass, and then add some milk. He then removed a seltzer siphon from under the counter and added the seltzer to the glass. When you do this correctly you end up with a head of brown froth.
Still later on I went down to the Lower East Side and bought hot potatoes from a pushcart and pickles picked out of wood barrels.
But what happened to my chronology? At the age of three or four my grandmother came to live with us. We shared the bedroom and my parents slept on a pullout couch in the living room.
My grandmother brought her own recipes to our home—honey cakes, jars and jars of chicken soup, as well as gefilte fish. She also taught me to pluck the feathers from a chicken.