Jackson Heights Stories

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Got a cute or poignant story about an experience that happened in Jackson Heights? Tell it here.

Title: Can You Eat It?[edit]

By: User:Thomas Lowenhaupt

It was about 2005 (I'm writing this for the first time in 2017 with a bit of time-haze) and I was looking over the goods in a South Asian store on 73rd Street, just south of 37th Avehue. The store sold food and a variety of other items. On a table outside they had a b filled with round objects, brown in color, about 6 inches in diameter, made of clay, wood, or some other material. They had a rounded bottom and a shallow divot in the top. I wasn't sure what it was, but if pressed I would have guessed that it was a bowl. But the divot was so shallow, nary an inch, that it's utility as a bowl would have been quite limited. And I'd see some cooking products that were similarly colored and equally hard, jaggery (a sugar) for one. So I was curious and sought clarification.

Seeking such I picked up the "bowl" and called to a nearby employee asking what it was. "You can use it for anything, whatever you want." was the immediate response. Semi facetiously I brought it toward my mouth and said "Can you eat it." A look of surprise came to his face and he called to a nearby employee saying something in their native tongue. Employees #2 gave a snicker-laugh that said - "Boy are these indigenous folks dense." Pursuing my quest I arched my shoulders and reframed my inquiry into "OK, I give up, so what is it used for?" At which he answered "Yes, you can eat it if you want." and turned his back to me. A dozen years hence and my ignorance remains.