Yesterday I went to Cash & Carry in Ballard, which I never before knew existed. I needed to buy 300 lemons, and who doesn't? Cash & Carry is a wholesale grocery outlet, but regular folk can go there. It's smaller than Costco and less glamourous. Their main clientelle seems (after my one visit) to be people who work for/own restaurants. I didn't see Tom Douglas or Tierry from Rover's. I kinda don't think the Cash & Carry is pitched to the high end establishments. But they had boxes and boxes of lemons back in a refrigerated room with those flexible swinging doors with the rubber squeegy bottoms and sides and the plastic windows. Each 40 pound box had 115 lemons in it, so I loaded two of those on the hand truck, then counted out six of the 5 lb bags that didn't seem to have moldy lemons in them, put them in a box, and loaded them on top, tipped the thing back while holding on to the front of the top box to keep it part of the gang just like someone who knows what they're doing, and went back through the cool doors to the warm warehouse, piled my boxes onto my enormous wedge shaped flat cart and returned the hand truck to the refrigerated room, again through those doors whose light weight and flapping noise pleased me. Back in the warm room I wrestled my lemon box laden cart to the checkout line. As it only wanted to be pulled behind me rather than pushed in front of my, I finally gave in to its wishes, and then noted that everybody else was using that method to maneuver their carts. This was not Whole Foods, baby.
I would make you ride with me over the Cascades on two freeways for three hours before revealing the reason for the three hundred lemons, but I am a kinder and gentler (and who knew we would ever feel nostalgia for that man?) sort of a writer and will get right to the point, as is so often my wont.
The Gamache family is making limoncello at Lake Chelan as one of our festive Labor Day Weekend activities. We bought the lemons. We are not Italian. I have never been to Italy. However, we did make a smaller (90 lemons) batch of limoncello two years ago, partially to distract ourselves from Jim's cancer, partly because Shawna and Todd had brought some back from the Cinqua Terre (oh I'm sure that was spelled wrong) and it was fracking delicious. Our limoncello made wonderful holiday gifts for our non-alcoholic friends and family members (it contains, in addition to lemon zest and sugar, vodka and everclear.) Off I go now to zest a few dozen lemons.