This past Monday was July 4th. So Liz, Ben, Petter (from Sweden, ergo the spelling), and I decided to celebrate the all-American holiday by taking a road trip (by bike, of course, being the eco-friendly Brooklynites and Scandinavians that we are) to explore our neighbor to the north. No, not Canada. A much more foreign place: Queens.
Upon crossing the border, through the scary transition zone known as The Evergreens Cemetery (the final resting place of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lester Young, Isaac Asimov, and Walt Kelly of Pogo fame, among others), we encountered a native of this unfamiliar land, a lovely man selling fruit and sundry products.
Wanting to appear natural in our newly adopted country, we decided to expand our oh-so-sophisticated Brooklyn tastebuds by trying foods we’d never had before, including:
Tamarind and Cassava Bread
and Aloe Vera juice, una bebida inteligente (an intelligent drink).
But what surprised us most was a fruit we’d never encountered on the shelves of our local Trader Joe’s called quenepa or honeyberry. According to our new friend, you peel, pop, and suck the green darlings to savor their sweet-ish, gelatinous interior (but avoid the big pit!). All we could say as we peddled off was, “Viva la Queens!”
And it was there (before getting on the subway because we were bone tired at this point), that we saw what makes America truly great: families celebrating July 4th. Among them:
and Mexicans and El Salvadorans.
That’s right, all the people who supposedly hate us or are here to undermine our way of life, happily honoring American independence in our public parks.
Makes ya’ think, don’t it?
Perhaps the world would be a better place if we could all just, as my mother might say, eat in peace.
With special thanks to Petter Bertilsson for providing the camera and taking many of the photos for this issue!