i am helping to cook for a fundraiser dinner and auction at my church. the event is may 5, so we decided to make it a cinquo de mayo theme. we're cooking mexican food. i teach in astoria, queens and there are many mexicans as well as other nationalities in the area so i went shopping for the hard to find ingredients (hard to find if you live in the upper east side that is). there's a store here called trade fair, it's like the queens' version of fairway (a specialty food store in manhattan). i was on the phone with our church secy as i shopped, checking on the required ingredients. this store was like a revelation to me! there were mexican fruit and vegetables, all sorts of cheeses, any food you wanted. but it didn't stop there. as i pushed my cart down the aisle, there was the halal butcher and sundried items. with, i swear i am not making this up, a woman in traditional muslim costume (the name of which escapes me just now, but they look not unlike nuns) buying a hookah and haggling over the price of meat with the butcher.
astoria is well known for a large greek population so there was plenty of food imported from greece. each country had it's own section of the store actually. i may never shop in manhattan for groceries again and i really need to learn mexican cuisine.
but, i had to stop and think about the wonder of god's people, all living and shopping cheek to jowl here in nyc. the u.s. gov't. wants to limit immigration and i am very much against their laws, especially as an English as a Second Language teacher. at this store alone, the stock people were mexican, the cashiers were arab, the butchers seemed irish american. it was fabulous!
i love ny.