Sullivan Street Curative

I woke with a touch of labyrinthitis.There are scientific explanations for this condition, all pertaining to the inner ear and “unilateral vestibular dysfunction.” But what it amounts to, what you feel, is dizziness. Vertigo in the extreme. I sat on my living room couch and watched the room whirl around me like a merry-go-round. Not fun.

george w girl

When the show had subsided and after I conked out for a while, it was time for lunch. I steeled myself to go downstairs to the kitchen.  An omelette. I gripped the counter. I was doing it. And the room stood relatively still.

There is not much in the way of medicine to treat labyrinthitis. You can take the pills more often prescribed for seasickness. I don’t have those in the house. I ate my food and watched the walls throb.

spinning 2

What I did have was bread from Sullivan Street Bakery. We go to the establishment on 47th Street (not, improbably, Sullivan Street) in Hell’s Kitchen to stock up on baked goods whenever we’re in Manhattan. We often bring back what’s called a filone, which the bakery describes thus:

Large, tube-shaped loaf, baked dark to very dark, generously coated with wheat bran; open, irregular crumb structure and waxy-looking webbing. Mature fermentation; because of the unique baking method, flavor is nutty and sour with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The bakery is famous for founder Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, which you can attempt to make at home if you’re not near enough to do a drive-by like we do.

The bread is superior to any other – chewy, crusty, earthy, flavorful. I always think it’s the kind I’d want in my larder if the Barbarians were at the door. Why would we need bread at that time? For nourishment!


I buttered a slice of toasted filone and took bites in between spearing garlicky mushrooms. The room threatened to spin. But it hove to a stop when I swallowed.

Maybe I’ll sit very still and fill my mouth with bread all day.


Filed under Cooking, Culture, History, Home, Jean Zimmerman, Writers

3 responses to “Sullivan Street Curative

  1. Andy

    Check your facebook for my posts about the Epley maneuver. It will cure what ails you.

  2. I love philly cheese steaks.


    OH, noooo. Truly, I can commiserate, and I do. I also love bread, and I had a wonderful Philly Steak sub today on a lovely roll, the first bread I’ve eaten in quite a while. Anyway, I had a chuckle at the Sullivan Street Bakery website… what we need is one of their PAIN MANAGEMENT tee-shirts… rather, two: one for each of us to wear as we manage our vestibular discomforts with a good loaf of bread. (Yep. I checked the definition of the French word.) Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery!

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