Gee, thanks, “Lockdown of 2020.” Now, the size of my Mediterranean behind is paying the price.
I’m obsessed with King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. In fact, I had never tasted them until grocery shopping before Thanksgiving of last year. They were on sale, so I grabbed a package to add to my dinner menu in which the classic turkey meal would be divided up into separate dishes and then delivered by car to my loved ones. Like other folks, we were not enjoying holidays together at my home and were being cautious because of COVID-19.
But all it took was the taste of one, magnificent, small roll, and I was hooked.
I happened to come across the sweet buns at Market Basket again and thought they were on sale. Well, the jumbo party pack of 24 was not, but I walked out of the busy grocery store last Saturday with them anyway.
I can scarf down four or five at one sitting at 90 calories each, which are worth every, delicious, fattening bite.
I suppose there are worse habits, but sweet bread is a weakness for me and a COVID-comfort food.
Most cultures have their own bread that is sweet. For example, pan de coco is a bread roll filled with shredded coconut and sugar and eaten in Honduras and the Philippines.
There’s also Arany Galuska from Hungary featuring golden dumpling bread dipped in butter and rolled in a mixture of sugar and ground walnuts.
During Greek Easter, we bake tsoureki or kloura, a soft, often braided sweet bread whose taste has been compared to popular Jewish challah bread and classic French brioche.
I love tsoureki so much that I have occasionally baked a few loaves during the year when I’m not lazy and have the time.
Is it a sin to eat tsoureki outside of Greek Easter? Darned if I know.
It’s no secret that food brings people together, and in friendly cities like Nashua and Lowell, both with proud melting pots, we have some incredible eats.
For instance, the Gate City boasts some 55 restaurants, bakeries, brewpubs, cafes, diners and fine dining establishments just in the downtown alone. These include a wide variety of cuisine such as American, Brazilian, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Korean, Mexican, South American, Thai, Vietnamese and more.
My city also hosts a popular Downtown Farmers Market on Main Street’s City Hall Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Rebounding from the pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone in the restaurant or bar industries, but Nashua and the rest of southern New Hampshire appear to be holding their own. And outdoor dining has been a huge help during these testing times, giving patrons who might be uncomfortable eating indoors a safe alternative.
Another economic boost to the downtown arrives next year and will be located in the heart of the city.
The Nashua Performing Arts Center is currently under construction and when the state-of-the-art venue is completed, it will offer theater in the round, intimate unamplified performances, cabaret-style performances, open-floor concerts and more.
Nashua Performing Arts Center will bring additional hustle and bustle to the downtown with hungry folks looking for a good meal and a place to drink and shop before seeking entertainment.
Having a walkable downtown makes a difference, and our modern, widened sidewalks offer that welcome advantage.
The global pandemic is still having the last say when it comes to citywide happenings, however, and ruffling feathers around here. People long for a sense of normalcy.
This year’s 25th annual Winter Holiday Stroll that brings thousands of celebratory folks to the Gate City from all over has just been canceled “in light of the current COVID situation in the city,” Great American Downtown officials recently announced.
Perhaps, words from the late Ernest Hemingway can inspire:
“Night is always darker before the dawn and life is the same, the hard times will pass, every thing will get better and sun will shine brighter then ever.”
Until then, another King’s Hawaiian sweet roll, please.