I love New York and visit regularly, but there are many things I still don’t understand about the Big Apple/Big Oyster, and size is one of them.
First there are portion sizes. I regularly go into a cafe or restaurant feeling ravenous, only to be served something that I would need at least three meals to get through. I feel guilty not finishing it, but I’m quite certain my stomach simply isn’t big enough and exploding would be an embarrassing way to go.
More disconcerting are food packaging sizes. Soya, almond and coconut milk are now routinely available at any of the numerous stores near my NYC hotel. But only in 2-litre bottles.
OK, methinks, the average shopper round here must be buying for a family, although that’s unlikely in hipster Greenpoint. Or maybe they just like a lot of milk on their cereal. But when I go to buy the accompanying muesli it’s only available in mini-boxes. At home, a proper-sized box of cereal will last me a seven day week. Out here I can barely squeeze out three bowls-worth.
Fruit, on the other hand, is grown for giants. In front of me right now is an apple which I needed two hands to carry when I purchased it yesterday morning. Plums are often the size of British pears. The strawberries in my fridge are as big as French apricots.
Fruit smoothies, however, only come in teeny-tiny bottles. To buy my usual pre-morning run quota for the week would mean purchasing enough plastic to lose sleep from the guilt of countless sea-birds’ untimely demise. I buy bananas instead (the size of plantain, obviously). Maybe that’s a good thing.
Most curious of all are the seats on the subway. Your average American, even in New York, is a little larger than the average European. Their backsides require ample resting space. Yet the plastic scoop seats on the subway appear to have been designed with Lilliputians in mind. Yesterday I was wedged in so tight between the two pairs of buttocks on either side of me that I almost missed my stop, so difficult was it to extract myself. In the end one of my fellow passengers had to give me a push.
There’s no real conclusion to this piece. I’m just a Welshman in New York. But I would like to find the shop that sells half a pint of soya milk…