Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.

Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota

We have five grocery stores in our town.  We gained one large Cashwise during the oil boom, along with a brand new, bigger  Family Fare that joined the two smaller Family Fares we already had. Walmart  was already here. It really is too many stores for a town our size, but none have closed since the oil bust.

20161205_124833Daughter chose recipes for Thanksgiving this year that called for lots of fresh sage, rosemary , and thyme, as well as parsley. I waited until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving buy the last  of the ingredients, certainly not the last minute I thought, especially with so many grocery stores in town. Well, daughter and I searched all the stores for the herbs, and came up empty except for some limp parsley. We were told at each store “we might have a truck in tomorrow night, but we’re not sure  if they ordered more herbs. People just snapped them up last week as soon as we put them  out”.

20161205_124722This called for some creative  thinking.  I knew we had a large Lemon Thyme plant on the south side of the house that was a little ragged but still greenish, and a smallish rosemary plant in the front that might not have quite froze, but what about the sage?

We were in the Walmart produce section after one of the produce workers made an unproductive search of the back cooler for errant herbs, when I saw them–four medium sized pots filled with fresh sage and thyme plants, each at a price identical to one of those  plastic boxes fresh herbs come in. This was true serendipity if not Divine intervention.  We bought two, and only used  the sage in one of the pots.  The extra pot is now in my office, along with the much pruned rosemary plant from the front yard.

What did it take to find your missing ingredient?

 

103 thoughts on “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.”

  1. I remember driving aimlessly for miles about 10 PM one Christmas Eve. This was many years ago when my kids were little. The object of my desperate quest was, of course, batteries in some size we had discovered we didn’t have for some toy that would be inert without them. I found some finally at an about-to-close convenience store far from home.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. It’s actually quite a story, for the baby is born while this homeless couple is hanging out in a stable. Then a bunch of animals show up and three wise guys, not to mention some genuine angels. I’d like to write this up sometime if I can find an appropriate market. It’s probably too complicated for People magazine . . .

          Liked by 5 people

  2. I am about equal distance from grocery stores, SuperOne and the Natural Food Store in Cloquet, another in Moose Lake. There are certain things I can get in one but not the other — olives and gjetost at SuperOne; fresh spinach, coffee, spices and herbs at CNF, special dog food and canned tuna in ML….but I will not travel just for special items. On the other hand, TJ’s (Tom & Joanne’s, NOT Trader Joe’s) is only a mile away and I will travel that far for the best Blue Cheese in the county, lingonberries at a good price, maple syrup from the Fond du Lac Reservation (I go the other direction 7 miles to the Sawyer store for the wild rice harvested by the FDL rez).

    My friend and neighbor three miles away considers my larder as a backup for special items if in a emergency. Most recently she needed ginger. I do tend to have an overstock of several things, included pots of Rosemary, Sage, Parsley and Thyme that I overwinter under lights in my walk-out basement with a large southern facing window.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. One of the unfortunate consequences of moving to Portland was losing my Highland Village Lunds grocery store. I shopped nowhere else for nearly forty years. I knew all the clerks and they knew me. My shopping was tailored to the stuff that store stocked. When I became arthritic I appreciated their carry-out service.

    Here I have virtually no choice. The only grocery store reasonably close is a huge barn of a place called Fred Meyer. I have a list of objections to that place. The one thing about it I like is that their staff is unionized, making pretty good money. That’s rare in the modern supermarket world. I often raise various objections with supervisors at Fred Meyer, threatening to take my business elsewhere. I suspect they know I’m bluffing. Where would I go? If I drive 15 minutes due north there is another Fred Meyer store just like the one I dislike near home.

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  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Every year in August I forage for two wild ingredients that may or may not be hard to come by–wild plums and wild grapes. With both fruits it is feast or famine. I have also found “stashes” of them that are predictable as long as suburban or urban landscapers do not interfere.

    Out of the grapes I make jelly. From the plums I make a pioneer recipe for “Plum Pudding” that has been passed down in my mother’s family. I think it is posted in the Baboon Recipes, whatever happened to that. I know I have written about this before.

    The plums have become a more unpredictable crop with the advent of global warming, but every 3-4 years a thicket of them in Eden Prairie produces enough to can and donate to the family larder. The grapes grow on the side of the building where my office is. Many years the maintenance guy picks them for me. That is too easy.

    Some years they are missing entirely–so no wild grape jelly or Pioneer Plum Pudding.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You probably know this, but when settlers first arrived in Minnesota, there were no apples here. There may have beeen some crabapples but sufficiently winter hardy apples didn’t exist until Peter Gideon of Excelsior developed the Wealthy. Plums, however, grew in great abundance. Your secret stash may be a remnant of those primeval plums.

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      1. I am sure they are. We have tracked this recipe to 1835 in Iowa near Waterloo. The family that brought it there was Scottish, having fled the Jacobite loss to Mary Queen of Scots (many of my Scottish ancestors arrived here circa 1755 having been on the wrong side of that conflict). They settled on the East Coast and wandered west, improvising the traditional Plum Pudding with wild plums. The wild plums also cross pollinate with domestic varieties which I have picked in ditches, then preserved. The wily plum is a Darwinian survivor.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. i tend to fake it. there is always a substatute. dried herbs instead of fresh oh horrors. but back in the day i remember bying evaporated milk in tiny tiny cans on thanksgiving or christmas morning form a holiday gas station or a 7 11 eqivilant where the only worker in a 5 mile radius didnt seem to appreciate his new fond popularity

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Morning all. I almost always assume I will have to hit at least two stores when I have a big shopping list. I shop all over the place: Lakewinds, Cub, Wedge, Aldis, Linden HIlls, Kowolskis, Target. But once I’ve hit two stores and not found something on my list, then I start calling instead of driving. When I was younger, shopping in the vegetarian world wasn’t too easy; these days there are lots of options.

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  7. While working on an epoxy floor at Minot, North Dakota Air Force Base, we ran out of one of the two part adhesive. We knew where the missing ingredient was to be found, so we didn’t have to search for it. The Air Force brought it to us from the Strategic Air Command base in Omaha, Nebraska.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Wow the comments on this blog are always as interesting as the original posts. Love it and keep it up everyone, and hope you all have a great Christmas. And to reneeinnd, I have been in that Walmart in fact was there on Thanksgiving evening walking in circle while my daughters looked for DVD’s that we didn’t already have. Great place!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. welcome lucinda, we know we are out there for you lurkers to watch. it just never feels like the world would care abouut our little trail.(in fact it doesnt)
        thanks for sticking your head in
        i think wal mart is the same world wide

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  9. I try to avoid overly fancy ingredients or “precious chef” recipes, because if I don’t have the ingredient or something VERY similar — it just doesn’t get made. I am not a very good cook and I tend to follow recipes closely, unless I’ve made it a few times already. Substituting or going without is too scary for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lately, the missing ingredient has been eggs at my house. Sounds highly unlikely with 55 chickens on the place, doesn’t it?
    But 30 of those are young ones not quite ready to lay. (Soon- fingers crossed) and the rest are retirees…)
    This all goes back to this spring when I decided to order ducks in March, then went on vacation, then didn’t get chicks until July. And there ya go; an eggless November and December.
    Amish Friendship Bread baking season is upon me… I think I’ll have enough eggs in a couple more days.

    Liked by 8 people

  11. During my early years as a new immigrant, when I didn’t have a clue what Americans ate, I was constantly looking for some ingredient or another that I needed to create an authentic Danish dish. In Cheyenne and Carbondale they were usually not available.

    In the Twin Cities I’ve found virtually everything a Danish cook needs, with one notable exception: flæskesteg med svær – pork roast with the rind still attached. Christmas dinner is just not the same without it. But between Ingebretson’s, Denny’s Bakery, Ikea and the St. Paul farmers’ market I can usually scare up whatever I need to fix “Det Store Kolde Bord.” Aldi’s has a lot of German specialties that are very similar to their Danish counterparts.

    Of course, most of what I cook these days is not Danish. I relish the abundance of exotic ingredients that the diverse cultures that have settled in the Twin Cities have exposed us to. The African (often Islamic) meat markets, the various Asian supermarkets and many other specialty stores have contributed greatly to the variety of products that are now readily available. Food alone is enough reason to celebrate diversity.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Thanks, tim. I’m very familiar with Nordic House. Shipping on things that need to be kept frozen is prohibitively expensive. $70.00 for a five pound pork roast? I don’t think so.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Speaking for myself, tim, I could afford to do it, but it just seems like that money could be better spent. I have a genetic disposition that won’t allow me to squander resources that frivolously. I’m sure lots of people do, and don’t have any qualms about it, but I have managed for so many years with a pork roast without the rind, that I’ll just continue to muddle through. Maybe I should check with the butcher at Hmong Town or Huang Shur, they have lot of unusual cuts of meat. I’ll report back.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hey PJ, There is also a Faraway Grocery store in Owatonna. (This is an Iowa grocery chain which has very good meat. I buy most of my meat there when I visit my mother) If you go online and get their phone number, call the butcher department and they might be able to cut one for you. They generally have excellent price and quality.

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        3. Thanks for the tip, Jacque. I have a Danish friend who lives in Zimmerman. She’s about thirty years younger than me, and quite the looker. She has managed to talk the butcher at her local Cub to get that cut for her. My own local Cub, and even Mike’s Butcher Shop, claim they can’t get it. I think my problem is that I’m not young and cute enough!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s on International Blvd. about ten to fifteen blocks due east of Ikea. They bake lots of Danish pastries and cookies, but what I go there for is their very good multi-grain, Danish pumpernickel bread, an essential component for making Danish open-faced sandwiches.

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      1. Husband made a loaf of Volkornbrot, really dense and thinly sliced pumpernickel the other day. It is made in a pullman pan and keeps for weeks in the fridge.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Since we arrived back in the USA from Norway two years ago, I have been making the Norwegian Molasses Rye with pumpkin seeds. So good. Is the pumpernickel similar PJ?

          Liked by 2 people

        2. It is, Jacque. Ikea sells a whole-grain, rye mix in a waxed, milk-carton like container that is very good. I suppose a pullman pan would be ideal, but I just use a regular bread pan, and it works just fine. You’re lucky to have a husband who likes to bake bread, Renee.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. i replied but forgot to hit the send key. thanks for asking it was magnificent. my youngest in her premier performance knocked it ot of the park with a fantastic duet i believe i put up on facebook the older on did a great job in the oddest play she has ever been in. it was an interactive play wher you wandered form room to room and the actors played the same character bt many roles and sides of that character. it was wonderful and her rendition of cole porters yore the top was a smiler for sure.

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  12. Conversation in pointless visit to eye doctor.
    Technician: “How is your health right now?”
    Me: “Not the best. i have major pain issues.”
    Technician: “But do you have a real medical issue right now?”
    (No wrists or fingers were hurt in the typing of this post.)

    Liked by 2 people

        1. how about ” hey you little twit dont yo realize that when every move you make all day long is excrutiating it takes the fun out of it and the pain is real and pain is why yo are here. to alleviate it not to look past it

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I remember one Christmas when the missing ingredient almost was a pomegranate. You know–the whole thing that is the size of a grapefruit. Somehow we developed a tradition of giving our daughter one for Christmas, a gift from Santa to her. Then there came a winter when the stores had no pomegranates. My disappointment turned to full-bore panic when my daughter told me, two days before Christmas Eve, that she was sure Santa could not forget something THAT important. So I hit the streets and made a desperate multi-store trip looking for the last pomegranate in Saint Paul. Found it. Wrapped it. Preserved my child’s faith in the chubby old guy through one more Christmas.

    Wouldn’t you know? That was the year when, a day after school began again after the holidays, my daughter solemnly came to me to ask if Santa was real. There had been a discussion at school. My daughter volunteered to consult me, assuring her friends, “My dad always tells me the truth.” Oh my.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It was a sad moment, in its way, for Molly and for me. Both of us had enjoyed the Santa Claus story. But when she said she trusted me to tell her the truth, I lost all wiggle room.

        That happened not long after the Pioneer Press ran a huge color photo across the page on the first page. The photo showed Santa, his sleigh and nine reindeer whooshing across the sky. Up in the lead was a deer with a bright red nose. Rudolph. Molly studied the photo in silent awe for a long time, then admitted, “And here I have been beginning to wonder if Rudolph was real!”

        Hearing “the truth” had the effect of making her even more determined to protect the myth of Santa for younger kids. Molly enforced discipline on her adults, making sure we didn’t get sloppy and use the same paper for presents from Santa and from people. She made us use different paper for presents from us or from the old guy. Our family has always been romantic about some things. Seriously romantic.

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  14. One missing ingredient is the story of my life. Or so it seems, some days.

    Inspired by the bread discussion, I called St. Agnes to find out if I could get a loaf of Hungarian raisin rye someplace. Turns out there is one store in the metro that orders in one loaf on Mondays and Fridays. One loaf.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. isnt it wonderful that st agnes keeps it in the offering for the pain in the but it must be to make that one loaf. i have to give them extra bonus points for that. it makes me want to do a market test and take three loafs and cut them up to give out as samples and put 20 loafs next to the give away pile to sell them and get people hooked on hungarian rasin rye. maybe yo could start a group of breadlovers on meetp and have a tasting every 3rd saturday morning at the church basement somewhere. it sounds like it would be a greeat group. doesnt it?

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  15. I have at most half a dozen dinners here a year. After divorcing, I rarely cooked for myself, so I slowly lost my confidence (which never was great), and memory of how to cook. I really only have one special company meal, handed over to me by my brother: Cottage Shepard Pie.

    Last Saturday night, I invited a wonderful couple here for dinner. I began preparing it four hours before they came, hoping to give myself an hour or so to relax beforehand. It called for 2 lbs of hamburger; I only had one. It called for a can of tomatoes; there wasn’t one in the cupboard. The mashed potato flakes called for 2 cups of milk: I was out. I also planned to make a special spinach salad with green onions and mandarin oranges. I’d bought plain lettuce and forgot the onions.

    The worst part of this story is that I didn’t discover all of the missing ingredients at one time, and so had to make two trips to the store! The dinner turned out so well that my friends had two huge serving each, but now I understand why I so rarely have people over!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Our missing ingredient or in action: A friend of our daughter lived with us most of her senior year, sort of like our daughter too back then. We have had no contact with her since 1991.
    She and her husband have a business in rural Alaska. Yesterday her husband and the two youngest children of three took a small chartered flight to Anchorage. They did not arrive. Massive search underway.

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  17. Lighting all the Christmas candles I have out – for Clyde’s friend, John Glen, a childhood friend who is on her way out, the people from the Oakland fire (my sister knew one), and for anyone in trouble from the earthquake today of the coast from N. California.

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  18. I have a rosemary and a catnip plant. I don’t even own a cat anymore but it’s nice to have around. The rosemary is still young and I live in a colder area so it doesn’t grow very fast so I might buy another one.

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