Monday, August 4, 2008

Welcome Home, Howard!

After adding the last post (see below) I fixed myself a little lunch -- the second half of yesterday's Italian Combo on Ciabatta from Panera. As luck would have it, I also had some of my favorite relish to freshen my leftover sandwich. After four year's of doing without, I discovered jars of Howard's Sweet Pepper Relish on the shelves of Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Bonanza!

Given my incredible memory for good things I've eaten since early childhood, I must admit that I never knew the name of my favorite condiment. Therein lies my excitement at finding it on my trip, and returning home with a couple of jars to call my own. No one else in my family likes the stuff, but I sure do! It's great on hotdogs and sub sandwiches -- and probably on a spoon, right out of the jar, but so far I've resisted eating it that way.

I didn't even realize how mindlessly I had been plucking jars of HSPR from the shelf at the supermarket, without even knowing the name, until I moved and looked for the familiar jar at my new grocery store. I stood staring at the condiment section in a daze. What did the jar look like? What variety of relish was it? What the heck was the brand name? I could recall the size of the jar and the shape of the jar, and in my mind I could see what I thought was a gold and white label with red relish peeking out behind it, but for the life of me I couldn't conjure up the name on the label, nor could I find anything like it on the shelves around here. Without a name, it was pointless to try to ask the store manager if they carried it. "Gosh, ma'am, I not sure if we carry your favorite red relish, in a jar with a gold and white label, that is delicious on hotdogs or subs -- could you hum a few bars?"

So, imagine the thrill of finding my long lost relish friend on the shelves of Southern Season, and my surprise in finding that Howard's Relish has been made in MA and NH since the 1890's! I don't ever remember seeing it on any of my many trips to NH, but then, I guess I wasn't really looking for it in that context. I have it now though, and I know the brand name and where to find more.

Maybe if I take that second jar to the manager at my local Kroger, I won't have to bother my NC or NH friends to mail it to me by the case, which is how I get my favorite brands of tea, coffee, tiny butterbeans, barbecue sauce, and cornmeal . . . It's all about the food, isn't it!

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