My Old Friend

Feelings of sadness hang over the Archipelago today, a Gothic funeral pall woven from the darkest of fabrics. The bright, colored flags of my kitchen are flying at half mast and I doff my chef’s toque in reverence and mourning to my old friend.

On this cheerless day, my Bellman – CX-25 espresso/cuppuccino maker has given up the ghost.

We go back a long way, Bellman and I, twenty years to be exact. It was bequeathed to me by my sous chef after she bought it at a garage sale for one dollar. It was a brand new, virgin kitchen utensil when she saw it sparkling in the summer morning sun out on the folding table in that driveway crowded with shoppers.

I was there when it brewed its first cup of the steaming, dark delicious. Together, for the next twenty years, we shared that ritual of making morning mocha magic.

After two decades of having enjoyed its faith full companionship, and one whose qualities of dependability and brewing consistency the practical chef in me greatly admired, I could not let Bellman fade away in the vast boneyard of broken power tools and out of style window blinds in the corner of my shop I rarely visit.

I went on a quest to find replacement parts for Bellman, or Sputnik as I affectionately refer to it. (It reminds me of an old-school satellite hurtling through the 1950’s night sky, high above the Earth, as it bounces transmissions of the Texaco Star Theater TV Show across oceans and continents.)

I searched for quite a while before I found what I needed.

It was at a store located in the old Italian section of Philadelphia, Fante’s – since 1906, that I found the gasket kit, the hope for resurrecting Bellman from the nether world of its demise!

As I write this, that assortment of red rubber rings are wending their way through the U S Postal system to the mournful shores of the Peoria Archipelago.

Hopefully, my future Bellman post will be about my old friend and I sharing a brew of the dark delicious as the morning sun streams into my freshly painted kitchen.

Bellman ( Sputnik ) in his heyday.

Visit Fante’s, it is worth the trip ! www.fantes.com

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