March 29th, 2010

Three Gratitudes


The mysterious ways of the orchid elude me.

For over ten years I have owned one such Phalaenopsis, a Moonglow by name, and I am happy that I have managed to keep it alive. But, I can never know, or predict, if it will bloom. Or not. And, I would say that for the past five years, possibly six, it’s been A Not.

Oh, it has sent out abundant gnarly roots, grey-green tangles that have scrambled over the pot, seeking…what? It has grown measurably taller, leaf after leaf. And so, I have continued watering my orchid, rotating it in the window, keeping it out of direct sun.

But this January, something different was stirring. Who can say what inspired, or prompted this dramatic move out of dormancy. One morning, when watering, I noticed not one but two protuberances–and not at all rootlike, but stalks, actual stems!

For the past several weeks, I’ve watched as both have grown long and winding on their sunroom table perch, seeking light, sending out a series of buds along the branch..

Which have now opened up, these Moonglow blooms. Breathtaking, Times Two.

maldon salt

Last week roaming the grocery store aisles, I stopped and rummaged through a cart filled with reject or discontinued items. Usually there’s nothing I would ever want: post-Christmas candy canes, failed blends of baby food, hair straightener…but every now and then, well, ya never know. There could be a prize. Once I found some very pricey imported pasta, pappardelle from Italy, packed in a long box like a dozen roses, and sold for the cost of Kraft mac-and-cheese.

This time, what caught my eye were two boxes of Maldon Salt. Gasp! Yes, bonafide, from the UK, those natural sea salt flakes, chips, sparks of true pure saltiness, cherished by chefs ’round the world. One of the best of finishing salts, really.

Curiously,the boxes carried neither original nor markdown price.

“Maldon Salt is pretty dang expensive,” I sort of announced to myself and a couple of befuddled shoppers nearby. I’d never seen it on the store shelf, and so tossed the box into the buggy (our dixie term for shopping cart), figuring I’d find out the price at checkout. If it was in an affordable range, then it was a buy.

I presented my checker with the Maldon and my request.

“So, this is the Rolls-Royce of salt?” he said.

“Something like that,” I smiled.

Nothing scanned at checkout; the store manager was called over to do a price check on our special salt. After a while, she returned with her register key and punched in a series of numbers which rung up Sea Salt $1.79.

My eyes widened. So did my checker’s. “Rolls Royce for the price of a Hyundai.”


There’s so much stuff in our physical world; whatever thing you might need or want is bound to be out there, somewhere, I’m convinced of it. It’s a simple matter of asking.

I’m working on an article for Relish Magazine about “Magic Cobblers” with recipes that, instead of traditional 9″x13″baking pans, use uncommon, individual porcelain containers for serving. Containers like latte cups, sherbet bowls, and now, these little Le Creuset hearts.

I had no idea that the maker of enameled cast-iron cookery now makes assorted items in porcelain. And when Joseph, the LeCreuset store manager, learned that I was looking for something a little different for my story, he came through with these perfect heart-shaped crocks to do a magic cobbler recipe test. So nice! So helpful. Sweet.

Wishing you all a pleasant week, graced by those simple unforeseen gifts that surround us.

Your friend,


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10 Responses to “Three Gratitudes”
  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Doesn’t it just seem like a miracle whenever orchids bloom, it certainly strikes me as such.

    What a great find to get Maldon salt for that price! It’s like finding a piece of treasure that only few know about.

  2. Wendy Says:

    What a lovely piece of writing–life does have “little” miracles!!

  3. Fluffy Says:

    miracles i feel your peace and love

  4. Leisa Hammett Says:

    Sweet! Interesting! I loved seeing your writing muscles flex here. Lovely. I enjoyed it.

  5. Nancy Says:

    I gave my mom a Phaeleonopsis orchid for Mother’s Day a few years ago, and it sent out a couple of blooms but has been in dormancy ever since. Quite a mystery! We remain optimistic that it will awaken, though. What a find with the Maldon discount – truly the king of finishing salts!

  6. Rachel Says:

    I loved reading this for lots of reasons but mostly because it is a call to slow down and look around which I haven’t been doing lately. I am back in london and have have stocked up on various things to bring home to Rome – maldon salt is one of them, 2 packets that will probably get all bashed up in my soft bag. Those le creseut hearts are wonderful.

  7. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Nancy—there is hope that your mom’s will bloom yet–I was hoping, too, that some of our readers might also be successful orchid growers and might share some secrets to the orchid mysteries…

  8. Tracy Says:

    Everyday when I walk in to my kitchen I am flooded with the smell of my grandmothers kitchen. I don’t know why. I don’t know what exactly we’re doing that is producing that same sense, but I am grateful.

  9. Allison Wright Says:

    I love the story and the flowers! I am always looking for a good deal :-) Which store did you find the salt in?

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Allison—I was shopping at Harris-Teeter (21st and Blair) when I had my Maldon salt find!

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