Friday, November 12, 2010

Then a treat, now commonplace

Homemade candied tomatoes made me think of the homemade sun dried tomatoes that my Aunt made one year.

They were hard as rocks and needed much love in order to soften them up so you could use them but she made them and they were free. They were kind of special. I received them at a point in my life where sun dried tomatoes were a novelty and an expensive treat and something that I rarely, if ever, bought for myself.

What other ingredients are there like that? Ones that were a treat, a special event, something to be treasured that now, as semi grown ups with incomes and choices, are things we eat regularly and don't treasure in the same way. Nice wine. I remember when buying a nice bottle (nice being relative, right?) was an event and something special. When mangoes where pricey and buying one and eating it, savouring it, was the height of luxury.

Cheese. God. I am so utterly spoiled now. I can get all sorts of cheese, it's not a big deal, it's not outrageously expensive like it was in Calgary, and I munch on it as a snack all the time. But there was a time, in my undergrad, when going to get cheese from the Janice Beaton cheese shop was an Event.

It was pretty much the only dedicated, artisan, cheese shop in Calgary. Or at least the only one that I knew about. It was not far from my house, but it was on 17th Avenue in the cool kids district, so I usually got dressed up a bit. Not a lot, but I didn't run out in my lululemon gear. I'd go in and the guys who worked there were wonderful. So knowledgable. So willing to talk, to explain, to try things with me and explain why and how and what. I'd buy an obscene amount of cheese for one poor Classics student, grab a baguette and some fruit on my way home and study and write and devour a king's ransom in dairy love.

The cheese I buy now is probably better. I live in England. It doesn't have as far to go (food miles and all). It's not as expensive. I still like to learn about it. But it is something I take for granted in a way that ten years ago would gave seemed crazy.

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