I’ve learned so much about supply chains these last few months that I feel like I’ve just completed an upper-level business school course and expanded my vocabulary. For instance, I have recently discovered that a chassis is what a shipping container sits on and not where Cleopatra perched while eating grapes and aggressively reapplying her kohl eyeliner. Apparently, the word for that conveyance is a palanquin.
Who knew? Not me, that’s for sure.
Then there’s the shipping port gridlocked I’ve seen with my own eyes. On a recent trip to Southern California the ocean horizon was thick with cargo ships. It resembled a cavalcade of Destroyers from “Star Wars” waiting for their turn to dock.
The whole scene was kind of freaky and led me to conclude that holiday shopping, in the gentlest of terms, might be a little challenging. Luckily, I have adult children who have the emotional wherewithal to deal with Christmas gift supply chain snafus by just requesting cash.
But then the unthinkable happened. The mainstay, the bedrock, of my kids’ holiday ritual was being declared – “hard to find.” Of course, I can only be talking about Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing.
I’m not joking about this. One Thanksgiving I deliberately passed on serving Stove Top because, well, it’s not exactly an epicurean adventure and it did not go well. Feelings were hurt and holiday joy was dimmed.
It was never my intention to raise my children on Stove Top. When it comes to stuffing, I’m a bit of a snob. I was brought up on the classic family recipe that includes sage, cranberries, and sourdough bread. If anyone in the extended relative orbit tried to veer from that recipe there was a cornucopia of harsh judgment.
In fact, when I had my first Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s (then fiancé) family and his mom brought out stuffing that featured hard-boiled egg chunks I secretly questioned if I should go through with the wedding. I mean, who puts hard boiled eggs in their stuffing? It was very unsettling.
When I told my mother about the stuffing, she shook her head and said, “I don’t like it. It seems like a bad omen to me.”
Yeah, it was a bad omen alright. Our marriage worked out, but years later my kids’ first stuffing experience was that hard-boiled egg concoction and it turned out to be the “gateway drug” to Stove Top.
Yep, Stove Top Cornbread stuffing was the only way I could get my children to give stuffing another chance and once they tried it that was it for them.
Twice a year I have to make them Stove Top or “it doesn’t feel like the holidays.” One would think that two adults in their 20s would have aged out of Stove Top and broaden their stuffing repertoire but nope – they are Stove Top ride or die.
Because of this once I heard that Stove Top might be on the difficult to procure for Thanksgiving list I leapt into immediate action. Not on my watch would there be no Stove Top on the table.
Armed with a full tank of $3.00 a gallon gas and a large McDonald’s Diet Coke I was ready to storm any and all grocery stores. My first stop was at a Hen House and in what I can only describe as an almost miraculous event that included me getting goosebumps and seeing what looked like a celestial orb, a five-foot tall Stove Top stuffing display greeted me as I entered the store.
It was as if the giant Macy’s Day parade Thanksgiving turkey was smiling down at me and letting me know that all will be well. It will “feel like the holidays.”