• The Roving Retorter
  • Deliver Me from the Food Shortages, Express Lanes, and Illusions of Qualifying for Top Chef
Deliver Me from the Food Shortages, Express Lanes, and Illusions of Qualifying for Top Chef

In my first string of New York minutes, I cohabited with locals who relentlessly ordered their meals in. They would wake up or come home and get somewhat settled before picking up the phone to place an order for delivery, sometimes from eateries stationed down the street. What a bunch of lazy asses, I decided, you couldn’t pay me to live like that. We children of Started-from-the-Bottom-Now-We-Here immigrants value home-cooked meals over making bicyclists hazardously weave through buses and cars to fetch our hot food.

Fast forward to about ten years later. In the past week, I’ve called out for delivery twice, with the updated standpoint of: Bring me my dinner, and be quick about it. In fact, bring enough to last a couple of days so I have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, as I’m in no frame of mind to cook or shop for what’s missing in my kitchen. It's alarming how often someone who’s out foraging for food so much can have nothing left to nosh on. That’s the downside of high metabolisms and the upside of living in communities where it’s commonplace to drive to the grocery store and stock up with impunity, instead of having to make multiple on-foot trips, settling for as much as you can carry for five blocks. The idea of ordering groceries online and having the cargo dispatched to my doorstep hasn’t sounded nuts to me in months. Neither has the idea of sending my laundry out. I’m at the edge of my bed in suspense about what will seem normal next.   
The act of being a New Yorker, one who’s really a part of it all, can periodically sap the energy out of you, to the extent nowhere else I’ve lived has. It’s almost like being an older version of what you were in college (the last time I had meals delivered with any regularity), when you and the people tightly packed around you were up at all hours, fighting to balance the serious with the social, maturation with exploration, without burning out too soon, and the thrill of finding a free Coke at the bottom of your delivery bag can be all it takes to keep the mojo humming for another night. 

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