Be honest. You go to fancy places like Dean & Deluca or William Sonoma or [enter fancy grocery store here] and ogle their gourmet products. Chili infused olive oil, black truffle oil, lavender sea salt. Sometimes you’re even crazy enough to shell out the big bucks for a thimble sized bottle of the good stuff. You imagine your next dinner party and the guests gathering around the table. No matter that you’re serving a basic pot roast. Just think how sophisticated you’ll seem when they see your salt shaker is filled with not regular table salt (can you imagine?) but Himalayan rock salt with eucalyptus oil.
Yesterday was an okay day. It started off with a bit of a downer, then was pretty flat after that. My husband was making dinner (a RARE treat…) so I had some free time. And some left over salted caramel icing from my dinner party last week. I decided a beer and a cupcake would turn this day around. As I searched for recipes, I came across The Brooklyn Kitchen’s blog and Kate’s Beer Geek Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel. Hmm, beer IN a cupcake? Yup, that’ll do.
I’m a corn fanatic. My husband’s actually getting a bit irritated at this point. “Corn again?” But the thing is I only eat it in the summer, when it’s fresh. Frozen corn just doesn’t taste the same and I’d never touch the canned stuff. So as soon as it’s out at the markets during the summer, I’m buying it up to get my fill.
Now I’m a spicy girl. Not necessarily in the hot-spicy way, but I love playing with combinations of spices, discovering new spices and making great food. I probably own more spices than most people. I have a lovely little spice rack, alphabetized, so I can actually find things, plus I have other spices scattered in various containers on my shelves and in my pantry. PLUS, I might have a few little baggies of spices that just don’t fit anywhere else. So yeah, I have a lot.
So, I’m a bit of a dork, if you haven’t already noticed. I mean, think about it, I get super excited about things like fresh produce, canning and foraging (still on my to do list). So while on vacation in Maine, rather than going to the lake to swim or taking a boat tour, I’m most excited to visit a food coop. Now, of course, I’m a dedicated member of both the Park Slope Food Coop and Bay Ridge Food Co-op, but if I’m not in Brooklyn, I need to get food somewhere, so there’s nothing wrong with sampling another coop, right?
The Blue Hill Co-op interested me most because it was founded in 1974, just one year after the Park Slope Food Coop formed. Both coops have a long history, but the similarities end there. Park Slope is a member working model, meaning you must be a member to shop (which is open to anyone, of course) and you must put in 2.75 working hours a month. Blue Hill, like many other coops around the country, does not require you to be a member to shop. By being a member, however, you do receive extra discounts and a portion of the coop’s profit at the end of of each year. Blue Hill has about 1,600 members (no stat for how many additional nonmember shoppers though) and Park Slope has about 10x that, so as you’d imagine the shopping experience was a little different.