I attended university and graduate school at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The name Buffalo is generally believed to have nothing to do with the behemoth. Most historians associate with a corruption of Beau Fleuve (beautiful river).
During my last year I worked at the Anchor Bar, reportedly the creator of the delicacy known as “Buffalo wings”.
Buffalo wings also have nothing to do with the range roving mammals. They are deep fried chicken wings named after the city. They are served with blue cheese dressing and celery.
The Anchor Bar was owned by a tight-knit Italian family. The interior was dark, the ceiling low. The illumination was so poor that I worked there for weeks before I realized that soup came with the entree. The names of the food were also unfamiliar to me, i.e., Marsalas, Bologneses so I would ask the diners to point to their choices.
The kitchen was located in the basement. The chef was a huge, monosyllabic Polish man. His name was Cookie. As the evening wore on, he became even less verbal.
The Anchor Bar was always packed. I was popular with patrons, perhaps due to my college girl looks, a long blonde ponytail secured by a colorful silk scarf and my struggle with the menu. Men at the bar would try to engage me. I would hold up a ring I had found in my jewelry box and say “I’m married.” They didn’t seem to care (or believe me). I would return to the house I shared with seven medical students and nurses and empty the piles of money I had earned on the bed.
One day I was walking to the Anchor Bar in a snowstorm and suddenly found myself flat on my back in the street, staring up at the gray sky. I had been struck by a car. The driver exited and leaned over me. He smelled of alcohol. I waved him away and made my way to Buffalo General Hospital across the street and entered the emergency room. The doctor asked me where I was hit.
“Main and High,” I answered.
X-rays revealed no fractures and I was released.
A huge hematoma was forming on my on my hip and I was in a great deal of pain.
I told Momma Anchor Bar, who sat in a corner table that I had been in a car accident and couldn’t work that day.
“You fulla sheet!” she said.
I worked the shift but never returned.
Today, Buffalo Wings are the number one food served at Super Bowl parties.
I did my part.