Pockets of Comfort

Indira Ganesan, Filter Coffee at IIC, 2017

This is a snowless, sunny Christmas eve, with the trees bare. Red winterberry peek through the liched-laden branches, though, and sky is a mix of soft grey and blue.  Days like this in Cape Cod make me glad for my pockets of warmth.  On my coat, certainly, for as Coco Channel said, women need pockets, and female clothing hardly included them.  My pockets are also the tiny shops I frequent, for chocolate, for coffee, for a sandwich, and a pastry.  They are scattered throughout the Outer Cape, run by genius chefs and hosts, who remember my name, even if I generally don’t remember theirs. They are like gems in a place that frankly favors fish, and why should it not, being on the coast, a handmade island, but an island hard for a vegetarian to accommodate herself.  Unlike Santa Cruz CA, the chai does not flow on tap, as a friend once put it,  but it is starting to  trickle in, the kind that is strictly made with cardamom, and not pumpkin-flavors.

The December holidays though, make me nostalgic for date-nut bread spread with cream cheese.  I can’t find them at the supermarket, and apparently, neither can anyone else who hankers for a taste of 1970’s packaged, seasonal, sweets.  Thomas, of the muffin fame, made them, but I don’t remember that.  And the internet tells me it wasn’t enough to spread (not, note, “slather,” a lovely if trendy term I see everywhere suggesting to me, at least, English countrysides and lots of money, and not the gas-lines in suburban New York ) a slice with cream cheese; true authenticity demanded an another slice on top, a date-nut bread sandwich.  Again, intriguing, but not my experience.  I just remember moist, nearly black bread. Maybe the cream cheese wasn’t the silver foil-covered block, but the then new container of whipped.

It’s nearly 40 degrees farenheit, and the sun is out.  It must be snowing somewhere.

So where’s it snowing?  Right here, right now.  Go ahead, slather away!

And Happy Holidays!

Three Whistle Potatoes


For a few weeks now, I’ve harbored a craving for alu mutter, that glorious Punjabi dish of potato and peas soaked in a tomato based sauce tinged with cumin, coriander, mustard, asafeodita, red pepper, garlic, ginger, and onion.  There you have it, the ingredients for a dish to be sopped by handfuls of poori, that delicate wheat bread that puffs up to a golden pillow in hot oil.  I looked for a recipe online, and found one that began with ” cook the potato in the pressure cooker for three whistles.  I looked for another, and made do with a curry I assembled quickly from an Australian transplanted from India and naan from Shop Rite.  Then I settled in to watch the new BBC War and Peace, in which Natasha dances at the ball.




Whole paych–Foods

Indira Ganesan, Can't Touch That, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Can’t Touch That, 2014

(The breads above are from a local boulangerie.)

Whole Foods finally opened on the Cape, and I spent a nostalgia-filled evening there after a play in Boston. I immediately spied the familiar pineapple chunks in a tub I haven’t seen in three years, the watercress that is not yet available elsewhere nearby, the pink lady apples. Though I am partial to my local health food store, a megalith has some different stock. Gulab Jamun in a can, check. Wild yam soba, check. Cold brew coffee in a bottle, check, please. There are still details to work out, like stocking Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies( I mean, this is Whole Foods, right?) and getting the black sesame slaw right.

I found my happiness ratio sharply increasing aisle by aisle. Is something sprayed in the air? Is it that luxury food shopping makes one feel better than shopping for clothes? Is it akin to buying shoes? It is easier, certainly. I needn’t decide between this color or that, but toss an item in my basket and moved on. Cardamom-coconut water? Lime-jalepeno chips? Organic socks?

I spent my paycheck, and came back the next day for more.

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