The other day Sandy was busy assembling the salad course for our dinner… adding some cut carrots and celery to salad in the bag. I couldn’t resist pinching a few. I was nosily crunching my way when a small picture came to mind. I found myself in the breakfast room of 25 Alston Avenue. It would have been 7:45 or so on a weeknight. Although I had already eaten (remembering that we had à la carte dinning), I was waiting for Dad to come home. He would have taken the 6:00PM train out of Grand Central. And on the table when Dad sat down would be a small plate with carrot sticks and celery. Sometimes I would help myself to a few.
Thinking about this… the carrots and celery was not a Mommie Soph thing. This was not some Eastern European culinary tradition. But it was a Race Brook Country Club thing! When we would sit down to dinner at the Club, a relish tray (spiced crab apples, cottage cheese, and Indian corn relish) would be put down, and so would a dish of carrots, celery (and black olives).
Maybe this happened in other Country Clubs, or in other homes, too. But somehow it strikes me as a small piece out of sync. It was like Dad (and/or Mom) wanting to extend a “goyish country club detail” to our home. Not this was in my thinking in 1957. No, seeing the carrots and celery on the table meant that Dad was home for dinner.