If you live at Ground Zero, as I do, the approach of Sept. 11 feels like the onset of an undertow current that threatens to drag you down and away from everything you've tried to accomplish these past 11 years. The barricades go up, constricting you into ever narrower pathways. The massive police presence, already tripled since Ground Zero's next-door neighbor Zuccotti Park played host to the Occupy Wall Street protests, is prepared to triple once again. You have the distinct impression that you've done something wrong even before you've even thought about transgressing. But this Sept. 11, I am throwing off the chains of oppression and setting out to do something that I think neither the Ground Zero rebuilding architect Daniel Libeskind, nor Mayor Michael Bloomberg, nor the billionaire World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein have even contemplated.
Yes, this year at Ground Zero I will grow a meal.
For the last seven years I have lived in a 10th-floor apartment. During that time I have gradually assembled the elements of a functioning garden that, on a good year, can supply my family with bursts of vegetable matter from April to October. For whatever reason this year -- the 11th Sept. 11 -- all the different elements I started building back in 2005 have come together, and instead of having just a side dish here or a sprinkling of herbs there, I am on the verge of putting together an honest-to-goodness dinner grown (or caught) entirely at Ground Zero. It was a twisted kind of road map that led me to this moment of somewhat silly self sufficiency. And as is fitting in this post-9/11 environment of what seems like continual economic collapse, my anniversary meal will be organized around a Greek theme, classic and desperate at the same time. Here, then, is my menu.