I would mix curry powder and plain yogurt in this kitchen

...at this very point on the map. Then I would pour the stained yogurt over boiled vegetables and wonder why it did not taste very good.

In case you were wondering: This is not, in fact, the way to make a curry.

I learned this the hard way in Northeast Minneapolis, in the first-floor apartment that was bone-cuttingly cold in the winter, in the kitchen beside the hall to the bedroom where I used my maternal grandmother's dresser mirror as a headboard, where I could see my breath on January mornings.

Two blocks away: Emily's Lebanese Deli, land of Middle Eastern delights. On the spring day my dog almost choked to death on a stick in a NE Minneapolis park, he and I stopped at Emily's on the way home for a quart of tabouli. We ate it on the front porch, exhausted by our battle with death (oh okay just this once fine you can keep the dog for now). My dog gobbled his tabouli from a floral Corelle bowl at my feet. I ate mine out of the container with a nicked fork I held with shaking fingers.

When I left Minneapolis for grad school in Westchester County, New York, my friends Heather and Lindsay would sometimes send me Emily's tabouli and pita. How they did this, I do not know. These were the days before mail-order and Internet and websites. Magically, the tabouli found its way to me, fresh and cold, in a cardboard box.

There are things we will never understand, in retrospect.