Yukon Marla

October 9, 2000

Post #1195 – 20001009

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

What have you done to me?

Several years ago I decided that Chicago had become too dangerous, and moved back to my real home in Montana, where the only things Id have to worry about were grizzly bears and forest fires. Of course I realized there would be certain sacrifices and certain things I’d miss; i.e., museums and cultural events (oh, yes), ethnic diversity (we have two kinds of people here, Californians and everybody else), and of course good food. And after all these years I had finally gotten to the point where I had just about forgotten there was ever such a thing as really good food, when what do I go and do but read The Afterlife Diet. Most of this book seems to consist of descriptions of everything I have started missing all over again. If you only knew what I’d give for a Chicago style hot dog, an Italian beef sandwich with sweet peppers, Chicago style pizza, bagels and lox, or really good Chinese/Mexican/Italian/Middle Eastern, or any other kind of genuine ethnic food you’d care to mention. Oh, the pain.

Don’t get me wrong. Food here in Big Sky Country is fine if what you really enjoy is tasteless airbread, anything made with huckleberries, or the home smoked flesh of almost any creature you can name. Mind you, certain sophisticated delicacies are available. The same jar of gefilte fish has been sitting on the grocery store shelf since I moved back here years ago, and has begun to take on the aspect of a museum piece, although they do dust it off now and again, hoping to entice some unwary Californian. As a matter of fact, the standing joke among my Chicago friends was that I intended to open a gefilte fish factory here in the Great Northwest where whitefish and pike abound. Yukon Marla’s Good-As-Gold Gefilte Fish, and we even had a jingle. “Yukon Marla’s good-as-gold gefilte fish won’t leave you cold.” Catchy, eh?

The last time I went back to Chicago to visit, I returned to Montana carrying the largest jar of kim chee the Korean grocery had. Unfortunately it leaked and the entire airport knew about it, so I won’t do that again. Wonder how well chopped liver would travel?

Thank you for all your (other) wonderful and entertaining work.

Your newest fan,

Yukon Marla

Daniel replies:

The real-life prototype of Uncle Boris sent several pounds of lox via surface mail to my sister when she moved to California. They had the same postman for decades, and he never stopped talking about it. I visted the great gefilte fishery in New Bedford, and saw the brave fishermen rowing in their little boats, battling the feisty gefiltes.