By now, the thought of all that luscious corned beef that had once proclaimed its succulent solidarity with my tummy was an ethically offensive, edible anachronism that should have been downsized long ago. Yet I wanted that delicious memory back—politically incorrect or not. It was more than just a meal. It conjured up a time and place. I remember how an old friend of mine had seen Woody Allen there in the 80s when we were both huge fans, and it was so exciting. Woody and the Carnegie Deli were like two pieces of gefilte fish in the same jelly.
Now my corned-beef averse friend and I walked over to the Carnegie to have a look. Not only was it smaller and dingier than I remembered, the smell and temperature inside made us both nauseous. It felt like we were locked in a sauna with some knockwurst. And even though the huge New York cheesecakes in the window still looked amazing, we decided to leave. Maybe that's all I needed to be awakened from that glossy memory to my current reality. But now where will l live if I ever become homeless? A shed in the garden at Chez Panisse in Berkeley might be nice. But I hear their portions are on the small side.