One of the few good things about the pandemic is that commercial food purveyors have opened up accounts to consumers.
Well, to be accurate, they ALWAYS allowed consumer – as opposed to food industry – accounts, but I can’t afford to place a $5000 order, nor would I know where to store that much food if it all arrived at once. Now a $250 minimum? That I can do.
This week, we were ordering for the traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.
(No, neither of us is Italian-American, but I grew up in a heavily Italian area, so I have gleefully appropriated this particular tradition.)
Now, we have a VERY good open air fish market in town here, right along the wharf, but since our Seven Fishes was VERY small this year, I wanted to go fancy – ossetra caviar, bitches! – so while we got the oysters, clams, shrimp, and whole snapper at the fish market, we also put in an order to our favorite commercial purveyor.
While browsing around their site, I noticed something TRULY special: pitted, frozen SOUR cherries. Which are the queen of cherries, particularly if you want to do anything more than just eat them fresh, and are devilishly hard to come by.
Into my cart they went.
One other small fact to be aware of: while the commercial purveyors have dropped the order minimum, in many cases, they haven’t dropped the order QUANTITY.
Which is how I found myself with 40 pounds of pitted, frozen sour cherries on my stoop Wednesday morning.
I was already planning to bake Wednesday afternoon – chocolate almond biscotti, anise pizzelles, amaretti (an Italian meal deserves Italian desserts) – and after loading MANY MANY pounds of cherries into gallon freezer bags and making room for them in the chest freezer in the basement, I knew what I wanted RIGHT NOW: sour cherry pie, the queen of all pies, and, often, devilishly hard to come by.
So I finished up my work for clients and for my business for the year in the morning, and, after a workout/shower/lunch, changed into my Baking Clothes and spent a blissful afternoon in the kitchen working with chocolate and flour and sugar and sour cherries and butter and almonds to make delicious things to eat.
And that’s my wish for you this holiday season (whether or not it’s also a holy day for you): that in this uncanny year, you would find a few moments – or even a few hours – here and there that feel blessedly, delightfully, normal.
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