De Bachmakov Le Parfum (The Different Company)

Dear Celine Ellena,

I promise I'm not angry. Fun is fun, and I like a practical joke as well as anyone, but it's time to stop the silly business, okay?

Give me back my diary.

I don't begrudge whatever laughs it afforded you. Among other choice tidbits hidden within its pages, you obviously gleaned the fact that in my last life, I was an elderly Jewish man with a yen for drinking hot tea at the height of summer, accompanied by slices of rye bread fresh from the corner deli.

What else but the transmigration of souls could explain this ridiculous desire?  And what else but the theft of my
personal, private diary could explain this perfume?

Anyway, nice cover story about the Année France-Russie, but I'm onto your game. Stealing my super-secret culinary fetish for a fragrance was highly audacious of you, but hardly an efficient form of blackmail. You think I'm alone in this? The Berkshires, Catskills, Lakewood, Lower East Side, and most Woody Allen movies are
full of people like me, in whom Old World hungers still percolate behind 21st century exteriors. You are definitely outnumbered, sister. Give it up.

(Unless, of course, you too are a misplaced soul from another age and nation-- in which case,
zay moykhl, maydele.)

So far as the details go, you've certainly done your homework. The tea must be in a glass (ceramic cups are strictly for coffee) and it must be absolutely scalding, otherwise it won't produce the
shvitz-like sweat that is the only motive for imbibing it in August. Earl Grey's fine, though a little fancy. (Well, la-di-da!) The bread must be squat in shape, kosher by persuasion, and heavily laden with caraway seeds. If it can't be Grossinger's, Levy's is okay; Zabar's or Zingerman's even better; Pechter's only in a pinch. (Pepperidge Farms?! Don't make me throw this tea at you!) If the bread's good enough, schmaltz is optional, though a chilled bottle of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray cannot go amiss.

The bergamot steam rising from the glass, the delicious, yeasty-sour aroma of the rye, and the piquancy of the caraway seeds-- what better health tonic exists? Beats me! All you need extra is a checkers table in the shade and the promise of a nice brisket for dinner...

But I digress.

Send the diary back,
bubele. Preferably accompanied by a gallon of De Bachmakov. If I ever find myself in some benighted territory where delicatessens do not exist, I want to be forearmed.

Zay gezunt,

Scent Elements: Bergamot, shiso leaves, coriander leaves, freesia, jasmine, nutmeg, cedar, craie douce ("soft chalk") accord