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Communal food bag totes last load

It’s time to retire the Black Dog bag. Toted home from the Black Dog Bakery on Martha’s Vineyard, the small brown paper bag, with twisted paper handles and a black dog logo has ferried foods of all types, from fresh herbs to rice pudding, between my Mom’s house and mine. There are some rips around the top, and the bottom is about to fall out.

The bag hung on the doorknob in our guest room and was filled with newspaper food sections as the week went on. Before Eric and I left for a visit with Mom, I’d toss in whatever else I was bringing. It’s my fault the bottom is coming apart. Lately I’d added more papers — two sections of the weekend Wall Street Journal and the Life and Arts section of the Financial Times, both of which cover restaurants and food. I’m surprised myself it’s lasted this long.

The reason the bag goes back and forth is that Mom won’t keep a single thing she doesn’t need. As soon as that Black Dog delivers our goods, she empties it and moves it to another doorknob, this one on her front door, for us to bring back home with Mom’s goods. This has been going on for several years.

Here’s a sample of what it’s carried to Mom’s: fresh herbs from my garden; produce from the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market; newspaper food sections; books, like Bob Spitz’s biography of Julia Child; Pyrex ramekins that Mom wanted to borrow for a kugel recipe; items we brought Mom from our travels, including salt, chocolate, licorice and pork bullion cubes.

We always got better than we brought. I brought leeks, she sent us home with soup. She’s put in Eric’s favorite: rice pudding with rum-soaked raisins, or mine: pineapple upside-down cake.

The bag has toted New York cheesecake and countless servings of meatballs and marinara sauce. There was beef and barley soup, crumb-covered coffeecake, pumpkin pie.

Sometimes there were clippings about new restaurants to review, sometimes bread: homemade white bread, homemade whole wheat bread.

The Black Dog bag toted its last batch of newspaper food sections recently, and returned home empty.

I’m keeping it though, even tattered and empty, it still holds happy memories.

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