Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Kitchen, Many Hearts - When Disaster Strikes

It was only a matter of time.  After all, six footloose and fancy-free woman scattered throughout the country seem to have only one objective for this bimonthly gift exchange: Send The Coolest Items Ever and Get Everything You Can Into the Box.

Mads, Kirsten, Megan
Jeanne, Me, Kat
Honestly, how the package that I sent to Megan a few months ago that had an entire six-pack of beer made it intact can only be called a miracle.
But luck, it seems, has run out.
However, we can make this a learning experience.  Please note the following important information:

  • Maple syrup can and will get into anything and everything, included items sealed (as in factory seal) in plastic.
  • The United States Postal Service will not, it seems, open a box once dropped even though it appears to be oozing sticky liquid everywhere.  Oh, no - instead, said package will be "contained" in plastic wrap so as not to contaminate other packages
  • There are several good reasons to move to the Twin Cities, and most of them have to do with candy.
So, let's start from the beginning, shall we?
Kat, bless her heart, put together a special package for me this month that not only offered me a seemingly endless supply of sugar products intended specifically for those moments of insatiable runger after a long weekend haul, but also some amazingly thoughtful goodies from her trip to our neighbors up north when she visited recently.  She said that she would be poking around looking for Fun Things to Source while there, so the second the mail truck sped off on the day that delivery was to happen, I was at the mailbox.
And there it was, a package that didn't resemble any other Priority Mail package I'd ever seen.
Or smell like one, for that matter.
It was absolutely covered in plastic, and I had to cut my way through it in order to get my mitts on the box itself.  The second the scissors finally cut through that last bit of plastic, I could tell something had gone terribly wrong in transit.
One corner of the box was smushed in.  It looked like it had been dropped almost exactly on the corner, judging from the "smush rings" radiating out from the now-more-circular-than-angular corner.
And the smell - it was sweet.  Almost cloying, but at the same time delicious.
I knew I had to act fast, and I ripped open the box and found what had once been a parcel sealed inside a seal inside a seal, now sticky and drooping sadly.  The second I picked it up, I knew.
Shattered glass.
Of course, curiosity got the better of me, and I gingerly cut a slit in the packaging to find shards of a once beautiful bottle of true liquid gold: maple syrup.
My heart broke, as maple is my favorite sweetener and flavoring.  You all can have your pumpkin spice lattes this fall.  As for me, if it's not maple, it's not happening.
But, there wasn't putting any toothpaste back in that tube, so, into the trash the bottle remnants went, and I dug around to see what other damage the syrup had done.
The candy bars were safe, but just to be sure, I tore into the box of Smarties the second I found it.
Fun fact: Smarties in Canada are chocolate and not the tart fruit candy we here in the States expect.  It was a delicious shock.  Yes, I COULD have read the label, but like I said, I was doing damage control and didn't have time to read the label before I ate the contents to make sure they weren't destroyed.
Oh, and the candy - remarkable.  Not living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and actually never having been closer than Chicago (not even remotely close, now that I look at a map), I had never heard of a Nut Goodie or a Salted Nut Roll, as these, according to Kat, are only distributed in the TC area.

Kind of like a Good Cluster, but no nougat instead of marshmallow.
Just as devourable.
I'm really not sure why their market isn't bigger.  The Salted Nut Roll has PayDays over a barrel.  I HATE PayDays, but I can tell you that earlier today I horked down a Salted Nut Roll like my life depended on it.

Missing, *presumably* eaten, from this group shot:
Two Salted Nut Rolls,
One Nut Goodies
One Smarties.
In the interest of harmony in marriage and all that, I did bestow on The Husband ONE of my precious Salted Nut Rolls, as he himself is a huge PayDay fan.  However, I can neither confirm nor deny that this act of benevolence is at all related to my sudden interest in moving to the Twin Cities.
Anyway, another casualty that I am working to restore is the beautifully embroidered towel, that was so lovingly placed into the box.  Since we are giving gifts, we all tend to use brightly colors tissue paper, and the syrup caused a bit of the green paper to bleed onto the towel.  Thankfully, I've got an entire book dedicated to the eradication of laundry stains, and green tissue paper has NOTHING on some of the laundry situations I've dealt with in my tenure as mom-of-cat-dog-and-child-at-once.  But rest assured that once the cleansing process is complete, pics will be snapped.
This brings us to the real star of the box.
The maple cookies.

As you can see, the box was emptied.
It's also now empty.
Sad face.
Oh, my word, where have these been all my life?
I can't even begin to describe how amazing these cookies are.  Maple cookies with maple filling.  Maple on maple.  A maple-stravaganza.  A maple-palooza.  A maple-mageddon.
The cookies barely lasted three days.
And quite frankly, I'm shocked at the willpower I showed there.
So, as I plan for my move to Minnesota, I'm also making sure that I pencil in monthly weekend getaways to Quebec to restock my shelves of this cookie in order that I have something to snack on as I sip my coffee on the patio.

Syrup-covered box or no, this was a great package, and if, in all the cross-country shipments we six have made and will continue to make, one bottle of maple syrup is sacrificed, I'm happy to take that one for the team.  There is always more maple syrup, certainly, but there is no replacement for the shrieks of excitement when The Perfect Package is opened.
Thanks, Kat - you did good!  Everything is awesome.
Or, rather, was... it was also delicious.
Even Zooey thought so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go hide the rest of the Salted Nut Rolls.

Wanna see all the other goodies and sundries our crew sent one another?  Sure you do - it will help you brainstorm for your own package exchange with your besties!
This month, my package was sent up north to Kirsten.
Kirsten shipped her goods over to Kat.
Our newly hitched pal Megan sent a box to Jeanne.
Jeanne, who's busy celebrating 30 years of martial bliss with The Complete Package, shipped way out to Mads.
Mads, just married herself (what a year!), dispatched some lovely articles up to Megan.


  1. Unfortunately, I had a breakage issue with my box as well. Fortunately, it involved ceramic bowls instead of sticky maple syrup. While yours smelled better, mine was much easier to clean up. We really need the US postal service to create a "JUMBO" flat rate box - if for no other reason than so we can put a 4" layer of foam inside to protect our goodies. I tried those maple cookies during our trip to Vancouver, and holy smokes - they were tasty! Also, is it just me, or is there a plethora of off-color jokes about your box full of nuts & a Mr. Big? No? Just me then?

    1. There may have been jokes. I can neither confirm nor deny. I was trying to keep it clean for the kids... ;)
      And yes, we need more protection for the goods that we ship - this is VIC - very important cargo!

  2. Hi Meagan this is the mom of Kat, the towel creator. I have bleached these dish towels. Just throw it in with a load of white and a bleach amount recommended by your mfg. I have never had disaster strike but if you do email me and I will send you a towel. Isn't the Pearson Candy Company a wonder? It is still the family and I toured it as a tot. This year they added a new carmel sea salt nut goodie but I can't fine it. Enjoy. Pam

    1. Thank you SO much! I am just terrified to bleach anything, so that is a huge relief! And salted caramel Nut Goodie? I must move to Minnesota right about now!

  3. "...has PayDays over a barrel!" Made me laugh out loud & end with a not-so-attractive snort. I think Zooey planned the whole broken syrup debacle so that she could like the box. Coonhounds are devious.

    1. Extremely devious. She surely had it planned out from Day 1.
      Seriously, I asked TH the other day if he'd ever considered moving to Minnesota, and he looked at me like I'd asked him if he'd ever considered moving to Mars. Like he doesn't want to move to Alaska because he thinks moose are cool.

  4. What I'm saying: Up North, there are no Bed Scorpions. Period. It is a place of peace. I'm so glad that at least Zooey got to sample some of that syrupy mess - I hope that it was wonderful for her.

    Also, please report back on that Mr. Big candy bar - I grabbed it because it looked interesting, but I really have no clue as to what was in it.

    p.s. If I find the Salted Caramel Rolls/Goodies, I will most definitely send some down.

    1. I have been saving that for a 10-miler day, which is coming soon. This weekend we have 8 on the agenda. I figure 10 miles deserved a Mr. Big.
      I keep bringing it up to TH, and I swear he thinks I went round the bend.