There's a piece of my soul that will always exist only on the east end of Long Island. In 1987 when I graduated from college, a unique opportunity arose and I ended up staying in the Hamptons. And I loved it. I lived with three wonderful guys in beautiful homes (okay one was ugly but we still made it a beautiful home). When we split up (all for good reasons) I ended up in just about the cutest apartment in Sag Harbor that has ever existed.
When I left, I left abruptly. And that is one of the greatest regrets of my life. I left many friends behind and I left an extraordinary lifestyle behind. This was all pre-internet and pre-facebook so it wasn't as simple as it is now to stay connected. I had a wonderful way of life but I really struggled financially there. By the time I chose to leave, I was managing a very cool restaurant from 7 am to 5 pm, running home, changing clothes, working at a radio station from 7 pm to 1 am and then working (at the very least) Friday and Saturday nights waiting tables. On the side, I was producing (and occasionally performing in) some really interesting theater.
And it was impossible to make ends meet.
I had no cable. My air conditioner sucked. And, thank you LILCO, even though I was only home for 2 hours a day and it was during daylight, my electric bill was outrageous. I had my pride and I had my ocean but I also had really cheap cat food and jug wine.
I still go back and visit but it's not the same as living there. Especially since the Amagansett Farmers Market is gone.
It wasn't what you think of as a traditional farmers market. It was a real store with real departments but it was decades ahead of its time. The focus was on local food and local vendors and/or interesting food and interesting vendors. And you have to put this in context. It was the the 80s. Reagan was president. Everyone (except me) was making money. Sting was still weird. Charlie Sheen took our breath away in Platoon. The Twin Towers were still glittering on the NYC skyline. Bob Geldof was feeding the world and we really didn't have a lot to worry about.
If you got to the Amagansett Farmers Market at the right time on Sunday morning you could get cheddar scones. Oh the cheddar scones. They were wonderful. Herby. Cheesy. Flaky. Warm from the oven. And gone in a flash if you weren't there on time. And if you didn't get them, the week seemed so very long until you had the chance to get them again.
The years progressed.
I moved back to Westchester County. I have a nice life here.
The Amagansett Farmers Market closed (heartbreak) but a cultural movement toward local food and real farming arose (thank you Judy Wicks and Dan Barber). The internet and facebook allowed me to reconnect with some (although not all) of the people from my past who I cherished and missed. My local farmers market is amazing (thank you Pasquale).
But I couldn't find those damn scones.
I tried the Barefoot Contessa's but they just weren't the same. She's an east end girl (suddenly I'm humming Pet Shop Boys) as well and I worship her but they just didn't cut it.
The other day I found this.
It's as close to perfection as I have found. I made them with heavy cream because my milk was spoiled so I had to bake them longer and they were a little moister than they should have been but it was like taking a step back in time flavor-wise.
I could just about smell the ocean.