Almost twenty years ago I was at the east coast wedding of my dearest college friend. The family of her husband-to-be hosted a casually festive backyard barbecue, full of loads of cousins running around, generations of people I’d never met before. The groom’s brother-in-law had brought all the bread for the dinner across the country from Grand Central Bakery in Seattle. This was a nice touch that got through my jet-lag to warm my heart. And it gave me something to talk about in this extended family setting where I didn’t really know anyone. Our conversation went something like this:
Brother-in-law: It’s from Seattle.
Me: I know, but there’s lots of them in Portland.
Brother-in-law: They started in Seattle.
Me: The turkey-and-chutney-on-como is my favorite. And the ginger molasses cookies.
Brother-in-law: This bread is from the original store in Seattle. I go there every week.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this was a nice guy. And he’d gone to some trouble to bring a lot of this really great bread. I have the same kind of conversations with my Seattle cousins do the same thing. And I always go visit them, they never come visit me. It’s like the drive from Portland to Seattle is shorter and easier than the drive from Seattle to Portland. But what is it about Seattle and Portland? It’s a thing, a Portland-Seattle thing. Not a rivalry, exactly, but something. What do you think it is?