I have just touched down from a week in the States. I divided my time between New York City (long overdue visit to see friends and family) and Portland Oregon, where I make an annual visit to see my exceptional 93 year old grandmother.
Times have definitely changed. The years of multiple trips a year to the States are considerably less frequent (more children, fewer grandparents still with us, new career paths). However, I still seem to return with double the amount of luggage, only now filled with a different assortment of goods.
In my younger years, quarterly trips to the USofA ensured that ALL staples were procured across the pond, including toothpaste, cosmetics, many pairs of shoes for my collection, basic clothes, and of course vanilla extract.
As the frequency of my trips diminished, I was forced to realise that many staples in my life WERE in fact available in my local London shops. I resigned myself to the fact that I live in a most enticing, cultural and international city, so I surely must buy my staples here too.
However, there are still a few accoutrements that are very difficult to find in my immediate vicinity and feel the need to schlep home from the motherland.
Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma, when are you opening in London? We NEED you here. I cannot find large heavy sheet pans or a selection of bundt tins like yours in the UK. And your stores are such a tempting and pleasurable shopping experience, I always find an unending selection of “must have’s” that are just too good to pass up whenever I walk in.
This time while in New York, there was the added bonus of staying next door to Momofuku’s Milk Bar. Disaster for the waist line. Marvelous for presents for my children who I hope pined for me in my absence. And a bonus - a container of dried corn so that I can actually make Christina Tosi’s incredible cookies myself.
There is little doubt about the best item I brought back. Baba Re was my great grandmother, who I remember fondly, and here is her famous jelly roll cookie recipe that my grandmother still makes weekly. As you can see there is quite a lot of missing information, but Oma talked me through how she makes them and I can't wait recreate them with my brood. I will add the information to the recipe and post soon.
I love that I have the opportunity to pass the recipe down to another generation.