Looking for Doctor; Will Settle for Turkey Sandwich


By Tina Barry

Published September 24, 2004, issue of September 24, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

There are no single men in New York, and everyone knows that. Everyone except my mother. To her, the city is filled with men waiting to make me their wife. I just needed a creative plan for finding them.

“If you want to meet a doctor, eat in a hospital,” she advised.

Any objections I voiced she waved away. “Look,” she said, “who do they see all day? A bunch of sick schleppers in hospital gowns. You’ll put on a little lipstick and blusher, a nice dress — they’ll be beating each other with their stethoscopes to get your number.”

Ridiculous as my mother’s scheme sounded, loneliness is a great motivator. On went the dress, the makeup and the heels. I even carried a small bouquet of lilacs for “my Aunt Gloria, who was recovering at Mount Sinai from gallbladder surgery and needed cheering up.”

In one hospital cafeteria, Josh, the sleepy-eyed internist on line, suggested the special $6 herbed chicken with two sides. When I joined him for dinner and recited the story of poor Gloria, he nodded in sympathy. “She’s lucky to have you. Call me if you need to talk,” he said, handing me his card.

A few nights later, I returned to the hospital. I bumped my tray along the counter behind a throng of giggling nurses’ aides. There was no Josh (who never returned my call anyway), and no David or Mark, either. I lingered over my chicken — roasted with garlic and lemon instead of herbs — until I finally realized that a date for Saturday evening wasn’t going to materialize.

Undeterred, I headed to a downtown hospital, where my luck improved. Aaron, a lovable pediatric surgeon with curly brown hair, swiped a french fry from my plate. Taking a tiny bite and savoring it dramatically, he said: “Not exactly Le Cirque, but it’ll do.” Before I could think of a witty comeback, he took his tray and settled at a table not far from mine. I finished my fries and a great hot turkey sandwich, scribbled my number on a napkin and dropped it in his lap on the way out.

I returned to the same cafeteria a few days later with two goals: to order the turkey sandwich again (all white meat, rich gravy), and to have enough time to enjoy it before seeing Aaron. I found myself torn between the evening’s entrée — fresh bluefish Provencal with lots of garlic and tomatoes — and the turkey sandwich. I forfeited the turkey. The fish was perfect — moist with just a hint of basil.

Aaron never showed up.

“So?” was my mother’s cryptic request for an update. I mentioned the delectable bluefish; the wonderful smorgasbord of samosas, stir-fries and country pâté served on “International Day” in an Upper East Side hospital. I suggested we meet for dinner in a Greenwich Village hospital, where the chef displayed a light hand at vegetarian fare.

There was a long silence. “‘So?’ means ‘are you meeting doctors?’” she said, “not what are you eating for dinner.”

If I told her that her advice resulted in a date with a horny ears-nose-and-throat doc, or that Aaron eventually did materialize — with baby-talk messages on my phone machine (“Ari want Teeena to plaaay”) — she’d say that her scheme failed. But I’d disagree.

At an uptown hospital’s cafeteria recently, I met Bob, who was visiting his dyspeptic Uncle Louie. He’s an artist, not a doctor. And the spinach pie was divine.

Tina Barry is a food and style writer who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.