The primordial soup

Today we went to B&H Dairy, an unassuming temple of the vegetarian palate on 2nd Avenue between 8th and 9th with lunch specials for under seven dollars. Width: a table plus a lunch counter; length: about eight tables. We sat in the back, and after we had finished eating (lox and bagel for Her, kasha varnishkes for Your Host), we were treated to a culinary renactment of the creation myth. A sturdy woman, not large but broad and solid of beam, made different sorts of soup in a number of sizeable plastic cans.

She did it like this. Each canister seemed to have a base of some sort (beets, I suppose, for the borscht, potatoes for the potato soup, and so on). She boiled an awful lot of boiling water in a very large metal pot and doled out steaming potfuls to each canister. She did the same thing with an impressively large quantity of noodles, which only some soups were favored with, and then made the rounds with various spices in small dishes, from which she dumped generous portions into each soup -- salt first, then something yellow. The borscht got a dollop of a concoction from a brown bottle labeled Seasoning.

All of this work with hot pots, boiling water, and confined spaces was done in sandals and ungloved. Such unceremoniousness producing such ambrosial results: Whitman, you should be living at this hour!

So (lehavdil and all that) that's what I think creation was like: no fireworks, no unfolding of some Rosenzweigian revelatory flower, just some simple orders: "Light! Darkness!" Then later: "Plants! Animals!"

Not that all of creation is as tasty as B&H. But we can certainly try.

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