Friday, February 25, 2011

A Few Moments of Escape

It's not been a good couple of weeks ... it's not been a good New Year. Really, it hasn't. I read a post on Twitter last week that said "Locked out of the house. Husband is at work. No umbrella. Happy Friday. Ug." Are you kidding me??? Go to a coffee shop, get a nice hot cup of tea, treat yourself to a pastry while you wait, and get over it!

I won't re-hash the chaos of my past few weeks, or share (yet) the utter misery that *I* experienced last Friday. (Locked out of the house??? Pfffft!) Suffice it to say that I was awakened by a phone call at 3 that morning, still had to slog in to work despite sleep deprivation and stress, one of my faithful cohorts doesn't work on Fridays and the other was home sick, I had to schlep and run an errand that I didn't want to in another town nearby and was rushed to do it by a certain time, and I'm still in shock over what happened and how pointless and unnecessary the situation is. And the situation will be prolonged and stressful and expensive. I am not happy.

But the next day -- on Saturday -- I had a few moments of escape, a blessed reprieve. Tom noticed it, and I felt it. I really was transported out of my reality.

Tom and I were out running errands, picking things up at the library and at the drug store, buying coconut milk for the chicken curry we planned to make that night, and looking for a birthday present for a very, very dear friend. We meandered through a collection of quaint and charming shops downtown looking for the perfect gift, but hadn't quite found what we wanted.

Until we got to the spice shop.

Spice Merchants is a store so lovely, so enticing, so colorful, so aromatic, so utterly sensual that it is hard to fully describe ... this shop must truly be experienced. The photos are woefully inadequate, and there is no way to share the fragrances of the curries, the teas, or anything else with you.

Each time I visit the store, I wish I had the resources to buy a little of everything. It makes me want to cook and, especially, to experiment. It makes me want to not just throw together a quick meal, but to linger over a day-long affair of toasting and grinding and mixing spices to infuse flavor into something cooked slowly and lovingly ... something exotic, usually, and unique.

There are a dozen varieties of salt, in pink and white and grey and yellow and green and brown; some are flavored with citrus, some are smoked, some are naturally colored and have been imported from around the world. Spices can be bought individually or pre-mixed for Indian, Moroccan, Cajun or other cuisines, and come in the most glorious shades of red, orange, and yellow or the deep burnished tones of tan and brown.

There were also other unique uses for the astounding array of spices, including small gift bags of crumbled cookies with ginger or vanilla mixed in, to use as ice cream toppers. There were soup and chili mixes, tied with pretty ribbons and ready to give to loved ones. But Tom and I settled upon the Lemon-Garlic Orzo -- a lovely bag of the rice-shaped pasta that "has a subtle hint of lemon & the robust taste of garlic." We thought it would be perfect to prepare as a side dish or as the base of a salad, or even as an addition to soup.

Then, as we stood in line, Tom said that I looked genuinely happy surrounded by food stuffs and things to play with ... and I was! I was holding his hand as we waited to pay for an ideal gift for someone who appreciates good but simple food ... it was perfect.

And, for a short while, I had forgotten that significant stressors loom large. I had magically and momentarily travelled to my kitchen, travelled to far-off lands, travelled away from daily life and into a beautiful world of color and fragrance and inspiration ....


Natasha in Oz said...

I am so glad that you found this wonderful place to cheer you up! Now you know where you can go whenever you are having bad days!

Best wishes always,

Cranberry Morning said...

Oh all the wonderful color and fragrances of a spice shop! Wish I had one nearby. Funny how little things like that can give us such a lift! Hope you have a better weekend and that you savor your new orzo with memories of that lovely little spice shop!

Unknown said...

I love how such a simple thing can turn our outlook around! Hope things start to look up for you... you deserve to look... and be... happy all the time!!

Karen Harris said...

Savory Spice Shop is therapy for me here in Denver. I'm so sorry about your troubles but you know that this too shall pass. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Carol, The Answer Is Chocolate said...

Sorry to hear that things have been chaotic and stressful. Glad you found a respite from it all. Just standing in a spice shop is therapeutic...the smell. Mmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

And you were able to make a choice?! Wow, what a selection. And so many varieties of salt! I'm glad you found a moment of pleasure in your life and hope you can return to this shop again and again.

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Candace said...

What a wonderful place you discovered?! I would have been happy enough at the library but a spice shop? Seriously?! I need to look and see if I can find something similar nearby. Surely I can find something like that in Boston. I'm so sorry that things have not been going well for you this year. I pray they improve for you in short order! May you and those you love be blessed blessed blessed! *hugs* Candace

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm sorry you're still having a rough time... but I'm glad you found a little moment of peace in the spice shop. Also, wow, I want to go there. Now. Can you teleport me across? ;)

Miriam said...

I'm sorry that your last few weeks havn't been the greatest, I'm glad you found a way to take a breather, Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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