Germ Warfare

me and the friends that surrounded me, Tracy, Kimberly and Stacey

It is the end of an era. I just found out that Broadway Deli in Santa Monica closed. I wasn’t about to recommend it or anything, it really wasn’t all that exciting. But I’m sort of blown away by the news. It held a lot of sentimental memories for me. When the ex-husband left me for another woman — okay, that wasn’t in the least bit shocking, but it happened — I was shaken. I’d walk up to tables of random people at the Broadway Deli and announce that my husband just left me for another woman and did they happen to know of anyone they could set me up with. Sometimes, friends would point to tables I missed and say, “Oh, look you haven’t told those people over there, or them there.” And so I would march up to complete strangers and do my line.

When the long predicted (by my father) infidelity happened, my friends showered me with support and we often ate dinner at the Broadway Deli. Sometimes also at Remi, next door, but that too closed, ages ago. I didn’t go to Broadway Deli much anymore, but it is where I had my first date with the man that would become my future husband. I love the memory of that date. It’s a part of my history, my story. Our story.

He will tell you I threw myself at him. And I have my version. You can be the judge.

I was having breakfast at Nate ‘n Al’s — basically my father’s commissary. He ate there every day except Sundays when he said “they bused in the gentiles”. This was after the not-so-shocking news about my current husband which my father had predicted for twelve long years. My dad would often say, “He will leave you for a girl he meets in the program”. He meant my husband will find a woman in the PHD program he was enrolled in. And he did exactly that. Hey, it’s all good, in case you think I’m some sort of a victim, which I’m not. It was full speed ahead or in my dad’s philosophy “NEXT!” which is what he would say if a show was cancelled or his movie project fell through. Only, I use it (and even he did) for relationships too. If it ends: NEXT!!! So, in the spirit of Next, I was with him early (which I hate) and dressed nicely, maybe even with a touch of makeup (rare ). At our table was Rodney Dangerfield and Bob Hilliard, a comedy writer who had written for the “Honeymooners.” So, you get the idea, all old Jews and me. (That should be the title of my book, “All old Jews and Me”. I want to remember that. But, I better use it quick or it will be “All old Jews, Including Me.”)

I spot a guy at the deli counter. I have met him once at a child’s birthday party and I keep poking my dad and pointing to him and saying “Look, dad, he has a kid that’s very little like Oliver.” My dad keeps ignoring me and I keep pointing him out, over and over. Then, as I was cashing a check at the counter, this guy was standing next to me but maybe doesn’t recognize me from that birthday party. So, I say, “Hi, I’m Oliver’s mom, you’re Max’s dad. They’re both kind of little and get along well, if you ever want to have a play date and by the way, my husband left me for another woman if you have anyone to set me up with…” Now, you be the judge. Here is what he answers: “Oh, my wife and I are in the middle of a divorce”. So, I say, “In that case YOU can ask me out”.

Okay, writing this I can see why my husband thinks I threw myself at him, but I assure you that was not my intention. I was just taking my Broadway Deli act on the road to a new deli. My response was polite, and sure, a touch flirtatious. Later that same day, he called to ask me out. He took me to lunch at Broadway Deli and the rest is history. We have been together nearly 20 years.

Just now, I came home after hearing that the Broadway Deli closed and I had tears in my eyes. The place where we’d had our first date was gone. My husband hugged me and whispered in my ear, “Sorry, I should have taken you to Canters.”

About a month ago, I came down with a wicked stomach flu. I told my kids how sick I was and they told me that their step-mother was just getting over that flu. For a moment, I thought, and hey, I don’t know if this isn’t true … that my kids carried her germs to me and now I have my ex-husband’s wife’s friggin’ flu. I actually called her to ask how long this particular flu lasts, but I never mentioned that I thought she gave me the germs. And, no, I don’t think it was on purpose, I’m not that paranoid, but for one quick moment it did piss me off. And then I laughed because, well, just the absurd thought of it. If anyone is going to be sending germs, it should be me, in the other direction. But, you know what? I feel the opposite. I’m so grateful for my ex walking out that I sometimes call and thank her. Especially when my husband and I are away on one of our fabulous vacations.

me and my husband in New York on one of our fabulous vacations

enjoy two recipe’s, one from Joy Horowitz’s grandma Tessie and she wrote a great book about her grandmothers titled Tessie and Perlie: A Grandmother’s story (on Amazon)
when you are sick, this soup is often called Jewish Penicillin…but of course probably better for a cold than the stomach flu
one of the only reasons in recent years that I went to Broadway Deli was to pick up amazing Mexican Wedding cookies from their bakery

Here’s Grandma Tessie’s chicken soup recipe.
Basically, you fill up a pot of water,
throw in a couple of chicken breasts with a couple of carrots, celery, a half an onion and scallions.
Let it boil and then cook on low for about an hour or two.
Then save the chicken and broth and toss the rest.
Dice up an onion, a few celery stalks, a few carrots, and shallot. Into your now empty pot, melt 2 T butter and a little olive oil and cook the shallot for a minute or two on medium-high.
Then throw in onion and let it carmelize.
Add rest of veggies for 5 minutes.
Then add back the broth until it boils.
Shred or cut up the chicken and add.
You can also add noodles until done or spinach or whatever else you like to add.
Salt and pep.
I cut up Italian parsley and cilantro to sprinkle on top.

Second Marriage Mexican Wedding cookies

1 cup pecan pieces or halves
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place pecans in food processor. Process using on/off pulsing action until pecans are ground but not pasty.
Beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup flour, vanilla and salt. Beat at low speed until well blended. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour and ground nuts. Shape dough into ball; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 1 cup powdered sugar in 13X9-inch glass dish. Transfer hot cookies to powdered sugar. Roll cookies in powdered sugar, coating well. Let cookies cool in sugar.
Sift remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar over sugar-coated cookies before serving. Store tightly covered at room temperature or freeze up to 1 month.

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29 Responses to “Germ Warfare”

  1. Richie says:

    I love you Fredde. The Broadway Deli, on the other hand, never did much for me.

  2. cathy says:

    another gem

  3. Another Great one! Missed The Broadway Deli but Nate N’ Als!! recalls my childhood!!! Miss your Dad too!! Miss you. great Story – i think you take us all back on memory lane…


  4. Ellen B. says:

    Good story, Fredde! Always fun hearing back-stories when you know most of the characters involved!

  5. Joy Horowitz says:

    Wonderful story, Fredde! For the record, the chicken soup recipe is mine, not my grandmother’s. For one thing, her recipe requires a Kosher chicken that you must make sure to clean by way of plucking errant feathers.

  6. Joel Brokaw says:

    You have done it again, Fredde…. I have a number of memories of the Broadway Deli, none quite as intense as yours–but a soft spot in my heart is for it all the same. Looking forward to the next episode!

  7. Kayla says:

    Another winner Fredde! Keep em coming, I love the walk down memory lane, each and every time, AND I love you!

  8. Doreen says:

    Now I’m craving chicken soup and wedding cookies. Great story Fredde….as always….and wonderful writing. I hate when a place that’s a part of my personal history vanishes…..even if I haven’t been there for years. I like knowing it’s still there. Seems to be happening all the time now. Canters….lol….funny bit.

  9. Janet Petkin says:

    A darn good writer and you should be working with Tina Fey BECAUSE YOU ARE FUNNY FREDDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Lizzy Shaw says:

    This is great, Fredde; I used to love Broadway Deli in the beginning but then it sort of went downhill a few years ago. And then I had a LAST date there, so that was it for me! I love your stories…

  11. stacey nelkin says:

    I love your stories and the way you tell them –
    As for the Broadway Deli closing, it makes me very sad -I always liked it and mostly remember going there with you – post Romania and post Danny…
    Love Michael’s line to you about Cantors (that’s why they pay him the big bucks, I know…)

  12. Jay says:

    Delicious….and I’m not talking about the recipe.

  13. Mitch says:

    That’s a great story, Fredde.

  14. Joyce Hyser Robinson says:

    “Sorry, I should have I should have taken you to Canters.” Wanted to start out giving it up for Michael who never ceases to make me laugh!

    Great post Fredde! I was never a big fan of Broadway Deli, but I did like their soups. It is still sad to see another business in the area bite the dust.

    I’m always thoroughly entertained by your words, your unique voice.

  15. Blair Morton says:

    My grandfather was Harry Morton, and of coarse my grandmother Billie. Funny story, brought back some memories. Thanks:)

  16. […] –my father the sage had predicted this all along, please refer to a story in my blog titled Germ Warfare) he said these words as he was literally walking out the door “ Furthermore, you’re married to […]

  17. Peter Hoover says:

    “Next” Haa?? I like the ski code of ladies! Every couple who comes or moves to a ski town will be divorced! Legally married or not. (present company exempt) Bab’s Dudley and John divorced in SV. Next in this line of ski culture is, ” you don’t loose your old lady you just loose your turn!” Oh well; 41 years in ski towns, one wife later, I am the kook. Cool story rat. SS Bum out

  18. Laura Plotkin says:

    I come to this a year late (by way of another of your newer postings), but appreciate it all the same. Having a wonderful second husband myself, I can relate! Also, I suffer from the, “what have they done to all my favorite places?” syndrome…I really liked that place and miss it!

  19. Fredde,
    I just read this again! Wow, you are fun to read. Thanks for giving me all these great stories to increase my happiness quota.

  20. Kim says:

    Fred, just told Jason the “I should have taken you to Canter’s” and we both laughed. How did I miss this one? You so came out on top with this amazing man you married. I love him.
    I appreciate your depth, your heart. I think you won, my friend.

  21. Pauli says:

    I must have missed this one! Love the cute meet at Nate n Al’s. May it never close. You did not throw yourself at Michael. I would call it more of a nudge and suggestion. After all, Fredde is nothing if not READY with a sharp response!

  22. Carol Ward Dudley says:

    Must have missed this one but love it all the same – so much fun to read your life and all the wonderful remarks – love you. xoc

  23. So classically Fredde…I can so see and hear you throughout this…Great story, memories and on to the “next”!

  24. Danna Colman says:

    I love the way you write! My favorite line is ” I was just taking my Broadway Deli act on the road to a new deli.” You must have seen “I’m Getting My Act Together….” Great show! I’m still singing “Old Friend.”

  25. Jc Morton says:

    God I love your stories!!!! NEXT! another famous one from my Dad as well, he used that all the time when it was time to move on…… !!! I use it too!!!! Funny how our Dad’s vocabulary influenced our entire lives!!! I’m sure there are other words we both use that our Dad’s were famous for using all the time. I love how you met, pure romance at the Deli counter! <3 !!!!!! I love you Fredde! I think we were really Sisters, from different Mothers… but the Father was the same! ha!

  26. DeeDee Lancet says:

    I love how you write Fredde,
    so authentic & from the heart!

  27. In case this got by you (although I’m sure not much does) the Broadway Deli had really good Italian food. They had a great rigatoni Bolognese with truffle oil and these great little sandwiches called ficeles that were two feet long and an inch in diameter. Once I discovered that, I had reason to go to the Broadway.

  28. Patricia says:

    Wow! That’s a unique way to hook up! I hear Nate n Al closed, too. when I’m in LA we go to Factor’s Deli. Happy Anniversary!

  29. Bridget Sweeneyw says:

    I live the gentile version of your life. And they both converged at Nate N’ Al’s.

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