We almost never eat white bread in our house, so when we traveled to New Orleans last February, we treated ourselves to Parker House rolls at Cochon Butcher. When they arrived dripping in butter, we reminded each other that we were making an exception to our “whole grains only” rule because it was a special occasion. The experience reminded us that rare exceptions to daily rules can make wonderful memories and, indeed, I’m still smiling about those rolls a year later.
On a recent jaunt via ferry to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, I scanned New York Harbor for signs of a floating bottle. “If I ever find a genie in a bottle,” I fantasized, “My first wish will be that my grandparents return to life to spend a day with me in New York City.” The thought slipped away as I took in street after street, and shop after shop, in Red Hook. Then, about an hour later, I came upon Cacao Prieto, a stunningly beautiful distillery and single-origin organic chocolate factory founded by the grandson of the little girl depicted on the postcard accompanying the chocolate bars. It seemed as if my grandparents had heard my thoughts on the ferry ride to Red Hook. My Nana, a chocolate lover, and my Gramps, a bourbon lover, were there with me that day in New York City.
A few years ago, I found myself in Copenhagen visiting the country from which my great-grandparents emigrated. I had envisioned myself spending a week indulging in decadent Danish pastries, but ― to my surprise ― I never found any. Instead, I discovered a croissant so sublime that I suspect any Parisian baker would have been proud to claim it. I only wish my Gramps had been there to enjoy it with me.