Friday, May 26, 2006

Lunch Revisited

The WesFoodie was very pleased to learn that my bit on chicken salad (click here) is the number one out of thirty two million two hundred thousand hits on Google for “Your Basic Lunch.” William Burroughs would be proud, I’m sure. To mark this solemn occasion, I would like to revisit the deceptively humble LUNCH.

Many trace modernism back to Manet’s “Lunch on the Grass” (Déjeuner sur l'Herbe). It has been said that “all of classicism leads up to it. All of modernism from it.” Yes, it was lunch that triggered the momentous, radical, horrific, heroic, futile, fatal, progressive, sad explosion of the Modern. Why not dinner? Why not le petite dejeuner, the breakfast? Why le dejeuner, the lunch?

Certainly we can observe the essence of modernism in the pure elemental forms of the square meal and the triangles of the USDA food pyramid. But this is not unique to lunch – Dejeuner shares these Descartian ideals with dinner and breakfast. Perhaps it is because lunch lends itself to the modernist faith in the act of construction. The utility of the lunch; a source of energy for the machine of the body during the work day. On the other hand, lunch does precede siesta, when we come in touch with the dream. And we know the modernist love of all things subconscious.

Post-modernism too has lunch. Lunch at its simulacrum of a heart.

Forget the end of history – its all about the end of the meal baby. Post-modernism can be located in the shiny veneers and simulated sustenance of the Happy Meal and Big Mac with fries; the endless repetition of Wendy’s square patties; and send-up perfection of the rectangular forms of Burger Kings in rest stops on the lines of highways drawing across America. In these post-modern menus we can see the mirage of modernism, an elemental vision giving the illusion of enduring substance but delivering nothing more than a temporary excursion, a quick fix, a lunch on the glowing green astroturf.

Well anyway, let’s leave all that to those college folk (either teaching or studying) and get down to some eating. A really great lunch can be found in unexpected places. If you want a takeout lunch to bring back to your work or home, some of the best places in Westchester are not restaurants but grocery stores. Yes, groceries. The following are four Asian groceries to get great (inexpensive) lunches:

Nippon Daido. This king of Japanese markets has freshly made sushi and a variety of hot dishes including curries, teriyaki and fried pork or chicken. Take it out with a bottle of cold green tea and you have one nice lunch on the go. 522 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains.

Lord’s Farm. Located just off the Post Road in Mamaroneck, this small grocery store has some of the best chicken salad this side of the Hudson River (I know, we’re on the decidedly narrow side), sushi and a quality (but not local) produce along with artisan breads trucked in and the usual deli sandwiches. 1120 East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck.

Kam Sen. I can’t leave out the Asian megamarket in White Plains. Named to the Delicious Dozen on these very pages (click
here), Kam Sen has the best (only?) Cantonese style meats and delectables in the county. For less than $6 you can have your choice of duck, roast pig and soy braised chicken on rice. Best deal in town. 22 Barker Avenue, White Plains.

Oishinbo. This Harrison storefront grocery has a super friendly young staff and excellent freshly made lunch boxes with pickled vegetables, rice topped with toasted sesame seeds and your choice of Japanese prepared meats. Also try some very decent sushi rolls and the Korean bi bim bop with whole fried eggs on a rice bowl filled with goodies. 283 Halstead Avenue, Harrison.


Anonymous said...

Wes, regarding Nippon Daido in the Japanese grocery on Mamaroneck Ave.-- I had been going to this little take out sushi bar behind the cash registers for years, delighted with my $7 lunch special. I was there about a week ago and thought the stand was now under new ownership. The sushi was remarkably different, and so was the cashier. Plus, no wasabi in my container, which really pissed me off when I sat down to eat.

WesFoodie said...

Sounds bad anon. This is the first I've heard of a change of hands. I'll check it out.