This weekend, some of our clocks in the northern hemisphere will fall back one hour. Do you ever have those day dreamy moments when you wish you could really fall back in time to “the way it was?” I was walking through a Starbucks on one of my travel adventures and really noticed the signs above the retail packs of coffee beans. Here are some: Citrus and floral notes; Rich cocoa taste; and Gentle spices. Imagine, this can all happen within a single cup!
As I walked back to my hotel, there was time to ponder this marvel of the modern highfalutin sensory appeal of today’s coffee marketing. Then, like my mind is want to do, it fell back a few years, well quite a few, to the days when I patronized Mom’s kitchen in our Canadian prairie farm house.
Do you remember the glass Pyrex coffee percolator that on occasion sat on the stove top burner? I do, and it brings back vivid memories of the sound of the bubbles first making their way up the inner shaft and watching the first drops of heated water make their way to the ground coffee in the filter basket. It was a marvel to watch, and it took time, lots of it as the water graduated from clear to deepening shades of toffee brown. Mom’s coffee never got darker than a translucent brew.
The process was ceremonial without standing on ceremony. First, the metal can of Nabob ground coffee beans would appear, the lid was pried off with a spoon and the aromatic whiff of trapped coffee escaped. Then the rattling, hissing, bubbling of the percolator, followed by coffee and conversation.
It really was a ceremony. I don’t ever recall having coffee unless we had guests in the house, and never for breakfast. It was usually only delivered after dinner. It never occurred to me that it could be a daily beverage to crave, or one that could deliver a downer headache when the body is deprived.
Never did we stretch our imagination to think of naming our brew after exotic far away places or describing its lingering after taste with fruity monikers. Nor could we have imagined paying more for a cup of joe than what in those days would have been an hour’s wages.
The most exotic thing about the can of coffee was the turban clad Nabob painted on the label. We had never seen a coffee bean, roasted or green and really didn’t know where they came from. It was kind of like a city kid thinking milk comes from a bottle.
Today we have a Swiss Jura machine in our kitchen that retails for more than the value of my first car. (We didn’t buy it, it came as a grand prize for winning an online contest with Canada Post.) At the touch of a button we can have a rich European style coffee, espresso or cafe machiatto. Within less than a minute the beans are ground and the coffee dispensed all based on predefined settings that are customized in the on board computer.
We can dispense our brew into a travel mug as we haste towards the garage door, pop the mug into a cup holder in the console and imbibe while rushing the kids to school or scurrying for the day’s first appointment. No time to think about citrus or floral notes, we’re busy mentally ticking off the overflowing to-do list or mind-drafting responses to a couple hundred emails waiting in the in-box.
So where did my Mother put that old glass pyrex perc? I’d love to bring it back to the stove top and just sit in the kitchen and start a slow down ritual. Maybe if I polish the Jura just right, the Nabob genie will pop out and grant me my wish!