I love Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier. Love, love, love it. Not just for the locally-fermented kimchi and the gluten-free hemp popsicles, but for how it makes me feel. You see, the co-op is the only place where I can feel totally normal. Everywhere else I go, I’m the big personality, the weird one who sings “The Pina Colada Song” loudly in public, the lady who might possibly be funny and might possibly be crazy and you’re not quite sure where that line lies. But, at the co-op, I’m the square. I’m the mom-jeans wearing, carpool-driving chick who lets her kids play video games and doesn’t tap her trees. (Yet.) You can tell everyone there rubs essential oils into the soles of their feet while facing south-by-southeast before sunrise.
If Luna Lovegood lived in Vermont, she’d totally be a member of the co-op.
I was running low on cardamom, and so I meandered over to the bulk spice section. If the co-op is the mothership of wannabe back-to-the-landers who can’t give up their kombucha and don’t have the time to make their own because they’re busy with their drum circle, then the bulk spice section is central command. There was a man next to me buying cayenne, and I joked with him that you could tell we were cooking very different things. “I actually prefer working with cardamom pods,” he replied, glancing at my little baggie. “But the ground stuff is certainly easier.” You can say things like that at the co-op without sounding like an asshole. Well, actually, you still sort of sound like an asshole.
My new cardamom is so fresh, so fragrant, that my whole kitchen smells of cardamom. And cardamom, as we all know, is filled with magic. It was beckoning me, begging me to use it. To bake it into something, anything, just to harness that magic.
And that is why my house smells of apple spice cake.