A Crumby Tale

Just one week ago, I was walking through my favorite city.  I walked for three hours, not knowing where I was going, but having fun visiting streets and neighborhoods I hadn’t been to in awhile.

I landed exactly where I needed to be: the doorstep of a famous Italian bakery.

The display case enticed me with traditional American cookies, traditional Italian cookies, cupcakes, Napoleans, cannoli, cheesecake, princess cake, and an Italian sponge cake with some kind of cream filling. After much serious contemplation, I chose a cannoli, which tasted as good as those I was raised on and much better than the one I got on sale from my local supermarket.
All too soon it was gone. I hated to leave without trying a pignolia amaretti. It was like eating pure marzipan. I delighted in every bite. Until .. a piece fell to the sidewalk.
I gasped. My precious sweet! I looked at it, tempted to pick it up, but the germ-phobe in me said no. How downright crummy to think of missing out on one more tasty morsel. I nearly lost my cool right then and there.
Then I shrugged.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

My Epiphany

I have always wanted to have an epiphany because it sounds so significant, but I wasn’t sure if I would have one, since it also sounds unattainable, like a mirage.

I am here to tell you I had my first epiphany.

I was in the vicinity of a very special caramel shop and since it was that kind of day, I went in. Before I go further into my story, I must let you know that I have never considered myself to be a caramel person. I grew up on ultra sweet caramels, which has made me eschew  chewing caramels in the years since. However, I had read about this particular caramel shop and wanted to try it.

I planned to have only one.

A plate of samples offered large chunks of caramel with cashews, almonds, and pecans with smoked sea salt and dark chocolate. I took one large chunk and put it on the silver-colored tray the caramel creator gave me with my chosen caramel (white chocolate exterior, dark chocolate, orange essence, coconut, cacao nibs) that seemed like the perfect blend of my some of my favorite flavors.

I sat at a large wooden table. I ate the sample slowly and carefully. It was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Next I ate the white chocolate one. Tasty, but I couldn’t detect the orange, and the white chocolate overpowered the dark chocolate and cacao nibs. I wanted that great dark chocolate taste.

I had no choice but to get the caramel with dark chocolate exterior and little bit of smoked sea salt. Very caramelly, but not enough smoked sea salt.

So I had to get another. It reminded me of the nutty one. I liked the mix of salt with graham cracker base, marshmallows, dark chocolate, toasted pecans, and coconut.

I was glad to be able to sit and eat because can you imagine what would have happened if I had gotten just one and left, only to arrive home realizing I need more caramels in my life?

Yes, that was my great revelation: I am a caramel person and I need more caramels in my life.


Kale Causing Cavities

Whoever heard of kale causing cavities? That was my first thought when my new dentist told me I had a cavity.

Granted, it was a teeny, teeny, tiny, tiny one. But still, I was shocked. After all, I eat my kale and other vegetables, too.

True, I do make exceptions on occasion. Such as the time I had baked hot chocolate, or when I ate wild blueberry sorbet, or the carrot cake with cilantro candy, or the dark chocolate mousse with cacao nibs, or the coconut cupcake with chocolate ganache and coconut caramel icing, or the gingersnaps, the chocolate chip coconut cranberry pecan cookie, or the rugelach, or the raspberry croissant with raspberry jam and chocolate, or the opera cake, or the  baklava, or homemade nougat, or gianduia…

I did not catalog this year’s desserts for my dentist. Nor did I tell him about the group I’m in for people who love to eat and bake desserts.

Instead, I said with a toothy grin, “I have a cavity? How did that happen???”

That’s my tongue in cheek humor for you.



Happy Birthday Party

I hope everyone had a good Fourth of July.

We celebrated our dear friend Fuente’s tenth birthday. My partner in crime and I took him hiking. He enjoyed climbing a tree. Later, we took him to a natural foods store to get cake. He chose a vegan, wheat-free, chocolate cake slice. He allowed us to have some, which I thought was generous.

Toward the end of the party, he lamented about growing older. I couldn’t help but think of this quote from Pippi Longstocking: “Time flies and one begins to grow old. This autumn I’ll be ten and then I’ll have seen my best days.”

Happy Birthday, Fuente and many happy returns!





A Crumby Tale

To celebrate Purim, I went Hamentashen-hunting.

I first went to my favorite source, a bakery that recently reopened after being closed for several months and changing ownership. I was curious how my beloved Hamentash would fare.

I called to make sure they had Hamentashen on hand. Then I put one on reserve. It was a lot like putting a book on reserve. All I had to say was, I’d like to put a prune raisin Hamentashen on hold, please.

At the bakery, I saw familiar items on display–chocolate chip cookies, muffins, loaves of bread, and Hamentashen. Before the store changed hands, the Hamentashen was huge. Since then, it had shrunk.

I gave my name to the clerk, who gave it the baker, who said she wanted to give me one from the batch fresh from the oven. What a relief: it was twice as big as those in the case and as good as I remembered. I loved the triangular pastry with the prune raisin mixture.

Buoyed by my success, I continued my quest yesterday by going to a new source. A couple of months ago, I had stopped to admire a window display full of scrumptious-looking layer cakes and chocolate pastries; the inside case showed off even bigger Hamentash than my favorite source. I couldn’t wait to try them, especially since the clerk said they were baked daily.

When I called, the man said he had one prune Hamentash left.

Was it meant to be?

As soon as I took it out of the bag, it crumbled in my hand. One piece flew through the air, almost landing on the sidewalk, but thank goodness for my remarkable dexterity, which caught it in the nick of time and popped it in my mouth for safekeeping.

Baked that morning? More likely, several mornings ago. Maybe even last Purim!

The taste of stale Hamentashen still lingering, I raced to catch the next bus, braving traffic and endless stops, for Fresh Hamentashen. The store I had in mind was, I thought, on the corner where I got off, but it had disappeared. I returned downtown and consoled myself with a French dark chocolate truffle, infused with ginger.

Later I searched online for my missing bakery. I discovered I had the wrong name and location.

How crumby!