August 17, 2010 § 3 Comments
When was the last time I ate a shortbread cookie? When was the last time I saw a fellow English Major from college? Two questions that prompt head-scratching and guessing games. This past weekend, I enjoyed the company of both. In the words of my friend, Emily, I was blissed out.
Imagine one of those sickeningly gorgeous Saturdays: sun is shining while the wind is blowing, making for a perfect temperature. It feels like a Fall Preview. I can almost taste the chai spices. Almost see the orange leaves. I picked up my friend, Erin, who I haven’t seen in over a year. We catch up in the car as we wiggle down Minneapolis streets toward the Mill City Farmer’s Market: a truly magical place.
The sky was this rich blue, like a hyper-saturated cyanotype photograph. Clouds look like a handful of happy brides took off their veils and tossed them into the atmosphere to float around for a while. The market was swathed in live folk music, sweet smells of Indian-spiced mini donuts, coffee, and whiffs of basil here and there. Toddlers are hopscotching between zen-faced farmers selling zucchini, potatoes, and beets. The above photo is what Erin and I saw sitting on the steps next to the Guthrie, exchanging stories from a year apart. She, off in the deserts of Utah, climbing into the mountains with a backpack, her tent, and some misguided youth to counsel. Me, meandering the avenues of Toulouse and Montauban looking for my next bottle of Bordeaux or wedge of brie, trying to make romantic French words fall from my lips. It’s funny how far each of us gals have been flung. And a few years ago, we were proofreading one another’s poetry and drinking flavored coffee in the Oneota Valley. Guess one’s 20’s are the volatile years, but no one predicted these places. All that catching-up-for-lost-time got us real hungry. And watching the people mill around with plastic bags of goods or paper baskets of donuts was making us salivate something fierce. We did a couple rounds, checking out the spread. We settled on Venetian iced coffee and some lavender-ginger shortbread cookies from Bramblewood Cottage.
We found a patch of grass to sit in, took off our shoes, and savored the cookies. The lavender made me think of antiquity–old flavors and scents you don’t often find. I think of doilies, grandma’s dishes, and embroidery. Not all that appetizing, but that’s memory for you. Sometimes the associations just make zero sense. The ginger in the shortbread married perfectly with the lavender–and sprinkled with these big sugar granules? In the words of Erin, it was amazing. (Erin just loves the word “amazing,” and she’ll use it liberally. This particular instance, I’m 100% with her.) Buttery. Smooth. Melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Sometimes, you have to dunk shortbread cookies in coffee or tea to soften them because they’re too biscotti-like. Not so with these babies. Highly recommend. They taste even more amazing if you munch them while discussing Life’s Big Questions in the company of an old friend.