Holidays were more than just food in my family. They were spectacularly noisy, in that good way that families can be noisy. And, they were show of generosity from members of my family. And, during the 1980s, this generosity was more or less wrapped in a yellow gift box from Chappell’s.
Back in the day before everything became a Macy’s, each region had its own department store. Syracuse had Chappell’s, Buffalo had AM&A, Allentown had Hess, Pittsburgh had Kaufmann’s, etc. Chappell’s had everything. Levi’s jeans, SU gear, your First Communion suit and your Easter dress. It was where you did your back to school shopping or bought the Father’s Day tie. And everything came in the yellow box. A heavy duty, extra thick, yellow gift box with the Chappell’s name and a heart where the apostrophe should be.
Even if you didn’t get a gift from Chappell’s, you might find the box holding whatever present you were receiving. These were also the boxes of choice for storing fresh pasta in my family. And all of my sister’s and my stuff from school. And, well, everything.
So, the death of Charles Chappell Jr. at age 89 was sad to see this morning. His passing marks the last link to the department stores of old in this area. Chappell’s sold itself off to The Bon-Ton years ago, but every so often I get a Christmas present from The Mother-In-Law wrapped in a yellow Chappell’s box.
I think I’m back.
I hope I’m back.
If you’ve noticed a lapse in activity here, dear reader, you would not be mistaken. I had four dinners planned to go up last week and none of it happened. What did strike, however, was an early-morning fit of vomiting that changed my Wednesday plans. It should be noted that I do not remember the last time I threw up for reasons not related to alcohol (and even then, I’m thinking it was while I was in grad school). I spent much of Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning willing myself to not vomit. When I finally got up at 4 a.m. to take a dose of Pepto-Bismol (the one that coats really is the only one you need), I got that rush of saliva and found myself kneeling over the toilet to deposit my dinner in a less than glorious manner.
I returned to bed and did not wake up until late in the afternoon Wednesday. It was not until sometime on Thursday that The Wife lifted her quarantine and allowed me to participate in activities with her and The Kid that involved touching the same thing without a disinfectant wipe being used afterwards. By Thursday night, I had checked out of my BRAT diet.
So, the lost week meant, well, nothing to right about. I mean, there’s not a lot of strategy or appeal to my bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Or did I miss a bloggable opportunity?
The Wife always knows better.
The grocery list above was specifically for Easter dinner, which we are hosting at Al Dente HQ. It’s a simple meal of mojo-marinated flank steak and grilled ham steaks with charred blood oranges, the latter from Donald Link‘s new cookbook Down South. I mentioned to The Wife that I was going to do this and she asked if I was going to Mazzye’s Meats in Liverpool. I said that I was going to hit Nichols Supermarket in Liverpool because I was pretty sure I could find all of the meat there.
And, The Wife was right.
After securing the beef and finding the supermarket’s ham selection picked over, I ended up at Mazzye’s Meats where the fine people there ran a bone-in ham through the bandsaw into the prescribed steaks that I needed for dinner.
So, while I stand behind my belief that Nichols Supermarket has the best grocery store meat department in the area, nothing beats a small butcher shop. I should have known better.
Somehow, The Wife did.