The Capers Caper…Or: I Still Haven’t Found That Recipe

March 3, 2019 Sunday 7:55 a.m.

Last month I was shopping in West Side Market for lunch salad and a few odds and ends (just taking a leisurely break from the work place) and found myself trapped in front of the capers. And when I say "trapped" I mean that in the classical sense; one label perusal leads the next, and the next, and the next. There are so many varieties, brands, countries of origin, that making a choice – for me, anyway – takes a supreme effort of will, and a reliance on luck to pick the right jar. As I stood there admonishing myself for not having done my capers research so that I could more quickly make my escape and get back to the office, I noticed a woman standing next to me, with a familiar glazed look in her eyes. She smiled, mentioned how bewildering the section was, and asked if I could help her pick a jar to buy.

I laughed and told her that I was suffering the same bout of indecision and quickly pointed out a half-dozen differences in brand, weights, flavors, and size. I mostly use capers to add to pasta but she said she needed them for a cookie recipe she’d never made before. Well, after that, you just know I had to do my best to assist her! Turns out it was a Linzer-style cookie, which is similar to the mincemeat cookies which are now my favorites!

My estimation was that the cookie needed the capers for their flavor and texture, so I helped her steer clear of varieties packed in vinegar (which might react badly with other ingredients). I also suggested that if she chose one with added salt perhaps she should cut back a bit on the salt in the recipe.

She was grateful for the help and moved on with her shopping. We ended up in parallel checkout lines and she asked me if I knew the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence. I told her that I always use extract for a more natural flavor. We both commented on the high cost of this most necessary ingredient and I wished her happy baking as I proceeded to bag my groceries and head back to the office.

I love my city!

P.S. I’ve done some preliminary searching and haven’t found the recipe she was talking about. Hmmmmm….

Currently listening to: Dan Farber – Dreams

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