Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Divine Heaven in a Box

The other day while savoring each spoonful of homemade ice cream at the Moose Valley Farm's annual appreciation day, I said to my sisters that the closest taste to this perfection was my old favorite Meadow Gold French Vanilla ice cream.

"Wish we could still get that," I added. 

My history with Meadow Gold French Vanilla includes a line of area grocery chains, each chosen because they stocked that very brand and flavor. 

In a nutshell, I literally followed Meadow Gold from store to store.  

After my favorite brand of ice cream disappeared from Yokes, there were different times, when I would drive to Bonners Ferry to shop at Trading Co. store and later to Super 1 if the Sandpoint store happened to be out of French vanilla. 

Meadow Gold French Vanilla turned me into a frequent shopper at Super 1.  Then, the powers-that-be did the unfathomable:  they stopped carrying my brand.  I had heard from staff members that a time could come when I would not see it on the shelves anymore. 

I considered buying a separate freezer so I could horde boxes and boxes of the stuff. That's how much I love it.  Somehow that idea seemed a little on the insane side, so we've stuck with our two freezers.

As those last boxes (I've been known to purchase as many as six at a time) gradually got down to one and eventually to just one serving left, I felt pretty sad.

I even visited both the Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint Super 1's, hoping that my eyes were deceiving me while walking past the ice cream display only to see two or three boxes of Meadow Gold Vanilla bean or chocolate-----neither of which could make up for my French vanilla affinity. 

As I've done at other times, with the disappearance of Coffee Mate Latte Creations and Litehouse, Inc. changing their honey mustard salad dressing recipe several years ago, I came to grips with the fact that life would have to go on without my favorite ice cream ever.  

While going through a lengthy withdrawal, I occasionally tried other brands of French vanilla, only to leave the rest of the box for Bill to finish off during those times when the Schwan's man failed to show up to restock our freezer with his personal bi-monthly ice cream choices. 

In fact, two-thirds of a gallon of Wal-Mart vanilla still sits in one of big freezers, as it has for about three years. 

Eventually, after all those attempts to replicate through "wishing it forward" that wonderful Meadow Gold French Vanilla flavor, I moved on, knowing that ice cream life for me would never be the same.


Ever since our Saturday venture to Moose Valley and those delightful moments where three sisters and a whole bunch of other folks slowly spooned each bite of homemade vanilla ice cream (as Laurie calls 'the most perfect food on earth'), I've had ice cream on the mind. 

So, yesterday I went to town---to Super 1, in fact---willing to settle for whatever looked acceptable in the ice cream department. 

Before heading to the freezer compartments, I picked up some cucumbers and two big baking potatoes, some sour cream and more Nestle's marshmallow-filled hot chocolate packets (for lattes) and a bag of M and M peanuts.  

Can ya tell I like chocolate?

Finally, I turned my cart to the ice cream aisle.

Then, I almost turned inside out!

While surveying the shelves, I SAW SEVERAL PILES OF MEADOW GOLD BOXES---no gaps---almost as if they had just appeared there for my arrival. No customers had yet ruined the neat shelf placement. 

I drove my cart closer, seeing "Vanilla" and then "FRENCH VANILLA."  

For a second, I actually thought this must be a mirage in the ice cream desert or would that be "dessert"?  

I immediately opened the door to the freezer compartment and quickly grabbed three boxes of French vanilla, dumping them into my cart with glee. 

A few seconds later, I saw a Super 1 employee walking through the aisle.

"Thank you.  Thank you!" I said. "You have brought back Meadow Gold and you have French Vanilla," adding that I had just had eye surgery and really thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

"That's a corporate decision," she said.  "I'm glad you're so happy . . .by the way, it will be on sale next week."  

"Well, please tell Corporate they did a good thing," I said, happily heading to the check stand where I also thanked the cashier. 

Bill was home when I returned from town. 

"News!" I announced, pulling out one of the three boxes and showing it to him. "And, it's on sale next week."  

Enough time had elapsed since the grocery store that when I opened one of the boxes, the ice cream top had melted just enough to scoop out a soft, heavenly spoonful to sample and to keep me smiling through the day in anticipation of sitting down later to watch the Mariners with a big bowl of the cream, smothered with chocolate syrup. 

And, so Meadow Gold has lived to grace the Super 1 shelves for another day and another day and I hope for a long, long time.

For obsessive compulsives like me (I remember years ago stocking up on Miracle Whip salad dressing in fear of going to the refrigerator to find an empty jar of the stuff), discoveries like yesterday's Meadow Gold bonanza are truly memorable. 

And, I'm truly hoping that Meadow Gold hangs around throughout the rest of my life, never again to become a sweet memory. 

The company has been around since 1897, so maybe I'm in luck.  Still, you can bet I'll head down to Super 1 next week to stock up at cheaper prices, just in case. 

Happy Tuesday. 

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