This blog has been leaning towards food and recipes for a long time. I enjoy cooking because we have to eat and it might as well be creative and fun at the same time, right?
I live in a Central Massachusetts town. Mostly working class but there are numerous academic institutions and universities too. I used to drive an hour to buy Asian groceries in Burlington – but they didn’t have barbecued pork or roast ducklings. That required going further to Allston/Brookline to the 88 Asian Grocery Store which I would visit about 4 times a year. Then, I heard this week about a huge Asian emporium located in our town about five months ago.
So, all of a sudden, I don’t have to go farther than ten minutes drive from our home to buy roast duckling at the Asian Market in Webster Square and fresh fish, still swimming around in tanks underneath the fishstand. There’s thin sliced beef for sukiyaki and best of all to me, very small heads of napa cabbage and strips of winter melon that are good for a single meal instead of 3 or 4; single Japanese eggplants and so on.
During this same timeframe and with much fanfare, a brand new (literally!) Whole Foods opened ten minutes away in Shrewsbury two months ago. It’s more of a foodie boutique than anything else with a fresh pasta stand, a wonderful butcher and seafood counter and delectable baked treats that are hard to resist! They also carry wine, beer, French macarons and Japanese mochii – you get the picture, right?
For Easter, I bought a fresh semi-boneless leg of lamb from Whole Foods that came out beautifully even though it took a lot less time to roast it than I thought. Did you know that the bone emanates heat so it takes less to cook than a boneless roast? I didn’t either. But I did happen to take a peek and pulled it out so that it was medium-rare – just right for yesterday’s Easter dinner.
I feel like I have an embarrassment of riches with the opening of these two stores within a short drive from our house. In addition, I can also choose to drive 20 minutes to a Market Basket in Sutton where water is 50 cents rather than a dollar a gallon. Even the local Shaw’s and Stop and Shop have decent salmon fillets, so fresh that you can serve it for sashimi, most of the time.
All this thinking and writing about food illustrates how much it is part of my life. Now, procuring fresh, inspiring ingredients is no longer a long-distance chore, but a hop, skip and a jump every day. Wow, aren’t we lucky? Thank You, Universe!