Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coffee Mourning

It's been a tough summer in the kitchen. First it was the total collapse of the trusty salad spinner. Last week it was the fatal plug on the coffee grinder.

I've had that coffee grinder longer than my current husband. Longer than the divorce of my first husband. Longer than I've been a Mom. Although I have to credit my first husband, or rather his grandmother, or rather more precisely his grandmother's funeral, that led me to be a coffee drinker in the first place.

Now - you need to know that I came to coffee drinking comparatively late in life. My parents were die hard coffee drinkers. Coffee was a featured beverage at every family get together and neighborhood party. No matter the temperature, it could be 90 degrees in the shade in mid-July, if company came and the coffee pot was put on. Refreshments were defined as 'something to go with coffee.'

Bonding closely to my maternal English heritage, I was a dedicated tea drinker. Throughout my my high school years, my mother would inquire from time to time, "Would you like a cup of coffee?" Then on trips home from college, she would ask in puzzlement, "Aren't you drinking coffee yet?" Clearly she thought I missed an important developmental milestone. I continued determinedly drinking tea.

But it was bound to happen. The critical moment when I needed a hot beverage and there was no tea to be had. That moment for me was early December 1977 in Ligonier, PA. My husband's grandmother has passed away. The funeral was at St. John the Baptist Russion Orthodox Church. It was one of those wet and cloudy December days where the damp cold penetrates every bone no matter how many layers you have on. When the service was finished at the graveside, the whole family had just one thought in mind, get inside where it's warm and hope they serve hot soup at the funeral lunch.

I opened the door into the fellowship hall in the church basement and immeduately an intoxicating aroma of hot coffee hit me full frontal. I was never opposed to the aroma of coffee, just the taste. In fact, I really liked the aroma of coffee. And today the velvety brown aroma of hot, fresh-brewed coffee wrapped me in a warm embrace that made that cold, damp December drizzle a distant memory. It was fated. One of the church ladies serving the lunch asked what she could get for me. What else could I say? "Can I have cup of tea?" Her pleasant, sympathtic smile faded, "Oh I'm so sorry. We ran out of tea bags."

Horrors! There was nothing left for it - I needed a hot beverage and if coffee had to be it - I'd drink it! My first tentative sip - and my next thought - "What was I missing all these years?"

Going back home to West Virginia, I was a coffee drinker. Only a week after the funeral we went out and purchased a Mr. Coffee and a bean grinder - a Braun. I've been grinding and brewing for the past 33 years. That first Mr. Coffee has been long gone, but faithful Braun the Grinder has soldiered on until last week when I pulled the plug and one of the prongs stayed in the wall socket. I should call my ex-husband and share this story (he's a good friend but not a blog follower yet!). My Farmer-Architect said he's pretty sure he can fix the plug. In the meantime, a friend has come to the rescue and lent me her Krups. It's OK - but it's not my Braun.

I know we're not supposed to get attached to material things, but honestly, Braun the Grinder has been with me in New Jersey, West Virginia, Ohio, and now South Dakota. I'm glad to honor it with this blog post.

And now if you're ready for a really good cup of coffee - check out Cherrybean Coffee Company, superior roasts from certified organic, fairtrade growers. Cherrybean is located in Parker,SD but you can buy online. Enjoy a virtual cup with me!

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