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Box Of Happiness: On Its Way

I love to bake. I confess it. When I was working in theatre, I’d bake furiously on Monday (my day off), then return to the green room Tuesday night with a tray of brownies/cupcakes/cookies/whatever, just to get them out of the house. Even now, when I don’t eat sweets (yes, it’s true. I mean, really, really true) I still love to bake.

So calling this the Most Wonderful Time of the Year would be an understatement for me. When the holidays arrive I’m in a tizzy; it’s as if I’ve been given complete license to go crazy and use fourteen sticks of butter in one session. Which I have done before.

Early November I get out my Hospitality spiral (don’t judge) and flip to a fresh, clean page. There I make a list of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the foods I’m going to make this holiday season, followed by a nifty little spread sheet of baking items – butter, chocolate, eggs, etc. – so I know how much I’ll need total. Then around Thanksgiving I get to baking: just a bit at a time, the recipes are done and pans of brownies or trays of cookies are in the freezer. Everything comes out in early December when I assemble long-distance Christmas boxes for friends and family, which breaks the floodgates and we begin consuming. Heartily.

So that’s my holiday baking ritual – but wait. I left out one essential step.

Ordering from the King Arthur Flour catalog.

King Arthur Flour is where I buy all my fancy baking ingredients: really good chocolate, sprinkling sugar, powdered maple sugar, you name it, they’ve got it. Starting in October I begin a list of what I’ll need, writing things down as I use something up or think of something I’ll need for a future recipe. By the time November rolls around I’ve got QUITE a list.

This is where it gets difficult. Because King Arthur Flour - I’ll just call him Artie from here on out – offers a discount coupon every year at some point before Thanksgiving. Serious bakers all over the country are poised to place their orders just as soon as the $#@% coupon arrives in their email inboxes. I try to do my breathing exercises and wait with everyone else, but this year I was having a hard time.

This year Thanksgiving feels like it’s coming early and I began feeling the pressure. So the middle of last week I politely called Artie’s catalog and inquired when they thought they’d be sending out this year’s coupon. The sweet woman on the phone told me that info’s never released early, but to hang in there because she’s sure it’s coming!

I lasted for one day.

Last Friday I began stewing, and after receiving yet another cheery but coupon-deficient email from them, I finally sent the following email to their website:

Dear King Arthur Flour:

I just received a new email from you entitled "Cookie Swap? Here's What
You Need!"

And I browsed through your email and read some of the links, and there's
one vital thing missing to help me have a truly great cookie swap.

Where, O where, King Arthur Flour, is your holiday baking discount?

Every year I've got a list a mile long and I sit patiently, waiting to
place my order. Waiting for free shipping, or 20% off, or something
glorious that will help me with my mile-long list and a husband who, if I'm
being 100% honest, doesn't quite understand why I buy the three-pound bag
of Callebaut semi-sweet chips when I could pick up a bag of Nestle for a
fraction of the cost.

Nestle, King Arthur Flour. This is what I live with.

I even called your catalog yesterday to ask about a forthcoming sale, and
the customer service rep, while extremely sympathetic, was not privy to any
sort of information on when the discount email would go out.

Here's the deal: I've squeezed my grocery budget the past few weeks to
make room for this gigantic order. I also have, for the first time, all my
children in school during the day, so I've got time to get baking started
NOW. And finally, I have boxes to mail overseas, so I need to place my
order, receive the chocolate chips/jammy bits/powdered cheese/everything
else, and get to cooking so those boxes can go out.

Is this a life-threatening situation? No. But I'd sure appreciate a
little coupon love sometime soon. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.

Respectfully (and wistfully),

Jennifer Milner
p.s. if you have some sort of a discount that is simply too huge to pass on
over the internet, feel free to call me at my home phone.

So this was Friday afternoon, friends. And GUESS WHAT WAS IN MY INBOX ON MONDAY MORNING? A 20% off coupon, good for only two days.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

I have a big box of happiness on its way, filled with raspberry jammy bits and burgundy chocolate chunks and orange oil and yes, a three-pound bag of Callebaut chocolate chips.

You will know it’s arrived when you hear the Scream Heard Round the World and a delicious baking aroma comes wafting up from Texas.

Happy early Christmas to me.


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