|Cook some memories with me|
Saturday, April 01, 2017
The story behind these essential oils
See, London is a lovely town, and we love living there for a lot of reasons. The small, tightly connected Jewish community is one of them. We're not religious in the black-coat-wearing, long-bearded, memorize-every-last-prayer kind of way. By those standards, I'm a complete heathen. But the cultures and traditions of who we are? They're everything to us, and thanks to my wife, our home is filled with them.
Unfortunately, being a small Jewish community can sometimes make it difficult to find kosher food. In a small-j-Jewish-community town like London, you have to know where to look. Again, I'm never going to win awards for Most Kosher Jew of All-Time, but my wife keeps our home Kosher, and come Passover time - happens around the same time as Easter - we eat Kosher for Passover food for the duration of the holiday.
If finding regular Kosher food all year is a tough sled, then upping the Kosher game for Passover is an even more specialized art. Bottom line: some London grocers bring in Kosher for Passover stuff, but Toronto's relatively huge Jewish community means they'll have a lot more of it there.
So my wife and I have evolved an annual tradition of sorts: a few weeks before Passover starts, we drive to Toronto on a given Sunday morning and buy groceries we might not otherwise find in London later on. We make a day of it, often bumping into folks we know in the store before we load up the car and grab lunch at a beloved resto or bakery. It's one of those simple things we do that seems to feel right - mundane to the outside world, but uniquely ours.
Along the way, I take pictures, I muse openly about the strange products available here - Baby Fingers! - and I try to slow the day down so that I'll remember later on why moments like this can be so special.
I took this picture with an arguing Israeli family on one side, and a quietly-chatting middle-aged Toronto couple on the other. I figured while they were all busy with the Very Serious Business of Passover shopping, I had a few precious seconds to compose the scene and be done with it.
I wasn't fast enough. As I lined up the shot, I heard a sudden silence as they all stopped their conversations, turned toward me and stared. I guess they had never seen anyone shoot canola oil before. I finished shooting, then turned to them and smiled. "I'm from London. We take pictures there when we shop. Give it a try: You have lovely oil."
They laughed the kind of laugh that connects strangers who aren't really strangers anymore, and before I knew it, I was tucking my smartphone back into my pocket and looking for my wife. I found her a few minutes later, and by then the tone of the day was yet again fused into my long-term memory.
In the end, this photo is just another two-dimensional assembly of pixels captured by an optical sensor and stored on a memory card. But it's the story behind it - and every one like it that I've taken over the years - that reminds me why it matters so much to pay attention to the stories of our lives, and to take the time to share them afterward. Otherwise, all we're doing is looking at oil in a crowded grocery store.