Good morning. Time was, a goodly part of my correspondence was with readers annoyed with me or with The New York Times for publishing recipes calling for ingredients unavailable to them, either for reasons of geography or because they didn’t wish to stray beyond the aisles of their local supermarket.
Online shopping and better supermarkets changed all that. You can have oyster sauce shipped to your small town or your corner of a large city, and find mullein-leaf tea, tubs of Vegemite and egusi seeds, too. I had a hankering for a St. Louis-style pizza. I didn’t have to fly to Lambert Field. Two or three clicks on the laptop and the mail carrier soon brought me a few pounds of the Provel cheese necessary to make it.
Today’s shopping: cassareep, a Guyanese syrup of boiled cassava root, savory-sweet, like a cross between molasses and Worcestershire sauce. It’s a crucial ingredient in one of Guyana’s most beloved dishes, pepperpot (above), which Millie Peartree brought to New York Times Cooking this week. Of course you can buy cassareep online, but if there’s a Caribbean market where you are, it’s most likely stocked there as well. Browned into beef chuck, it makes for a lovely stew: spicy, fragrant, slightly sweet and sticky. Millie serves it with sliced white bread. I think that’s lovely.
As for the rest of the week …