May. 24th, 2014

jaunthie: (rose colander)
So it's that season again. Rose-petal jam season. (Also garden season, but that's a much longer season than RPJ season.) And naturally enough it's fallen into a really busy time, where I was out of town, and then on a deadline, and oh, of course, the weather couldn't actually co-operate, naturally not.

On top of all that, I was out of several of the ingredients required for RPJ (it isn't *just* roses). Some, like sugar, just require a trip to the regular grocery store. Other, like canning jars, require a more specialty trip (particularly if your regular grocery is a) teeny-tiny b) not serving an area where home-canning is a common practice anymore or c) you want something other than your standard pint jar).

So this morning I went off in search of one of the ingredients I needed. The usual grocery where I go for this was closed, worse luck, but the neighborhood it's in has several little hole-in-the-wall ethnic groceries, and sure enough, the one almost literally across the street - a persian-greek-mediterranean grocery (seriously, as far as I could tell, that was the actual name of the place) - had an open neon sign flickering in the window. So I went on over.

And oh, opening the door of the little place was such a wonderful sensory experience, I almost stopped dead in my tracks. For one thing, it was *warm* - both temperature-wise (it was about 50-odd degrees outdoors, and I'm guessing somewhere 70-plus inside, and also 'this is a tiny family business' wise, with hand-made God's-Eyes around the doorway, and an older man all the way in the back, hand-sharpening knives, looked up alertly when the door-bell rang, and who grinned welcomingly at me when I waved to let him know that yes, I was a customer, and no, I wasn't in a huge rush. For another thing, the smell! It was a wonderful melange of middle-eastern and Mediterranean ingredients, cumin and oregano and saffron and garlic and onion and citrus and probably half a dozen other things, all melded together into one giant YUM. I felt tension I didn't even know I was carrying loosen from my shoulders, and a happy smile curve my lips.

Like I said, it wasn't much of a place: a few tiny tables for customers who came in to eat whatever lunch fare the owners offered that day; a few wire shelves that held packets and containers of spices, oils, grains, and other bulk ingredients; and the counter all the way in the back, with a tiny refrigerated glassed-in cabinet below, and a metal counter on top. There was a teensy old-fashioned cash register jammed off to one side about midway through the narrow shop. But they had exactly what I needed, and the owner was happy to pause in his knife-sharpening and come out to ring up my purchase, and oh, if it hadn't been early morning, I would have been *severely* tempted by the saffron ice-cream advertised by the hand-written notice on the whiteboard.

Such a lovely experience, and one that I don't know that I'd have had, if I wasn't out shopping for RPJ ingredients on a Saturday morning. Incidental bonus of RPJ, definitely.
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