About a million years ago, shortly after I moved to Rochester, and long before I met Husband, I dated this guy. One weekend, when someone was visiting from out of town, the whole family congregated in Buffalo for Sunday dinner. The entire family had been, in essence, born and raised in Buffalo, and everyone had always gathered at the grandparents’ home for holidays and special occasions.
After I arrived, I overheard a conversation between the grandparents that just tickled me. They were talking about where Grandpa had shopped for the various components of the special dinner – he had apparently chased all over town to get the meat at this butcher shop, and the bread at that bakery- up until that point, I’d never really thought about shopping anywhere other than the supermarket! I thought about a time and place where I might know a city so well – have deep enough roots – that I would know exactly – specifically – where to go to get whatever I needed.
And now I’ve realized – I always keep the pantry stocked with dried beans – that I buy from the Bean Guy.
I stock up on garlic from the Garlic Guy every fall, and I have a Potato Lady for all my potato and onion needs.
If there’s a birthday to be celebrated, the little bakery where my son used to work makes the world’s best chocolate fudge cake. I am not exaggerating, either.
Whenever I need what I like to call a “Perfectly Nice Gift” (either a hostess gift, or a stocking stuffer, or a gift for someone I don’t know well enough to really shop for), there is a tiny little chocolate shop down the road from my office with the most amazing chocolates. They make the most decadent, rich, creamy chocolate I’ve ever had, and I’ve never had anyone disappointed with a Perfectly Nice Gift from me.
Now that spring is here, we’ll start grilling burgers or hot dogs, and there are two bakeries we prefer – depending on who’s picking up rolls, and, frankly, which it is we’re grilling. One is on Husband’s way home from work, and that bakery makes the absolute most perfect burger rolls. The other is an Italian market that’s on my way home. Bonus points if we’re grilling their spiral Sicilian sausages – I can pick those up at the same market, along with the rolls.
If I do want sausage, I have a couple of options. I can get very good sausage from the same butcher that several local restaraunts use, and I can pick up a big bag of grated romano cheese at an excellent price while I’m there, as well (with the added bonus that it’s right next to the Amazing Chocolate Cake bakery). In fact, when this particular butcher shop opened, we got to know their butcher – Sam. He was a gruff, cranky old man, but he knew his meat! Eventually, he left that shop to retire, or so we thought. A couple of years later, we walked into a different shop – an Italian deli on the other side of town, actually, and who was behind the counter? None other than Sam the Butcher! We caught up (as much as one does with one’s butcher, I guess), and he was there until he passed away, about 15 years ago.
Or I can also get very good sausage, including several amazing specialty sausages (see above about Sicilian sausage!) and get the rolls for them at the Italian market. But if it’s breakfast or brunch I’m planning, there’s yet a third butcher shop who’s, hands down, the best for breakfast sausage.
And don’t get me started with dog food – I’ve got a different guy (or a lady) for virtually every component of the dog’s homemade diet.
You know how they say that “home is where your heart is”?
I think what that really means is that home is where you know where stuff is.