Christmakkah Is Cumin

Staples High and Bedford Middle School students know Christie’s is the place to go after school — and before. (Sometimes during, too).

Neighbors know the country store/deli is the place to go when power is out. Somehow, owner John Hooper keeps everyone fed, hydrated, warm (or cool) and happy.

Now Nicole Gerber knows Christie’s is the place to go for cumin.

(Photo/Katherine Hooper)

She lives on Woody Lane. Christie’s is around the corner — and it’s become her second kitchen.

“I’m in there all the time,” she says.

She’s throwing a large “Christmakkah” dinner party for 25 people today. John is catering.

On Tuesday, she was at the store talking with him. He was in the midst of pulling together a very last-minute request for 15 sandwiches to feed the hungry vendors at the Westport Front Porch Holiday Market at around-the-corner Wakeman Town Farm. (“He happily stepped into the kitchen and made those sandwiches himself, because the kitchen staff was busy with the lunch rush,” Nicole reports.) She told him about her brisket recipe, and went home.

Nicole Gerber at work.

Much closer to her party — while measuring the ingredients — she ran out of cumin.

“The thought of schlepping all the way out to Stop & Shop for one item was unappealing,” she says.

Christie’s was a long shot — it’s a country store, not a supermarket — but she called. John said, “Come on over! I have cumin. How much do you need?”

Two minutes later, he handed Nicole 2 containers filled with the spice.

She asked John how much she owed.

John smiled. “Nothing!” he said. “That’s what I’m here for.”

Nicole Gerber’s cumin.

Nicole has long loved everyone at Christie’s. The staff knows her name, and her kids’ names. They know her “usual” lunch order.

But that cumin story really takes the cake.

13 responses to “Christmakkah Is Cumin

  1. Ann Marie Flynn

    John’s reception, and grace, is what our Westport community is about. It is very much missed. Nicole is fortunate in having his store as one of her market places.
    Well done John! Happy holidays.

  2. Love this story Dan! I have never had a bad experience there and have been going there since I was a child. I have found amazing things there. Somebody needs to talk about the Massiellos who used to own it..What an interesting story!! Christy herself was awesome. Richie was my brothers best friend which got me rides to Staples when I was technically a walker. Jimmy was such a gentleman and their bus company was great! I would also love to hear about the current owners who obviously know what they’re doing. What great food!!

  3. NICE!

  4. I have a nearly exact story about John’s neighborliness, only mine involved chicken broth.

  5. Vanessa Bradford

    John has always had a heart of gold!

  6. I have many memories of being sent to Christie’s (when that meant riding my bike up Woody Lane, and encountering Christie or Mary or Don behind the counter) for some recipe item for my mom when she was in the middle of some creation and realized she was out of cinnamon, baking soda, or maybe even cumin (!) Glad to know the current operators of Christie’s continue serve every little need in the spirit of Christie, Mary and Don Masiello

  7. Small Town America

  8. A brisket recipe with cumin!!! How do I get the recipe

  9. I heard many stories about Christie’s from Bill Buckley who used to live around the corner on Half Mile Common. He described how his kids – Pam, Tyler and Kevin – could walk there, hang out there before/after/ and sometimes during school, how it gave them a sense of independence to be able to go somewhere without being driven or supervised. And yet in 37 years of living in Westport, I never went to Christie’s nor did my daughters. Instead they walked to Compo Center from our Webb Road house. There are different neighborhoods in Westport and my memories of them live on.

  10. Ellen Lautenberg

    Couldn’t agree more that Christy’s and John Hooper are the best! I live on Woody Lane also and have gone to Christy’s in search of a particular item only for John to bring a container from the kitchen. We must support our neighborhood/local businesses!