December 17, 2013

No microwave doesn't mean no microwaved mac 'n cheese

Vermont is so quirky.  It has these strange norms, ways of life that would seem crazy in another state, but work perfectly here.  One of the phenomenons I had to get in on was a food buying club although if you are in the know, it is cooler to refer to it as co-op or food co-op.  Let's call it co-op from now on. 

Co-op in it's most basic form is like a BJs or Sam's Club, but Vermont style.  A group of people join together to form one large club with one giant order.  This order makes it worthwhile for a food company (in my specific case, UNFI which also serves places like Whole Foods) to add your club to it's route of deliveries.   Co-op members place their order on a monthly basis and then a bunch of us get together for the "divide".  This is where it gets kind of laughable: imagine a tractor trailer truck stopping along a dirt road and unloading it's wares of: a 5lb bag of oats, 24 boxes of salmon filets, 1lb oolong loose tea, 2 pairs of Maggie's tights, a 12 pack case of Tom's of Maine peppermint toothpaste... to some assorted, eager Vermonters who then sort out the items on a tarp and eventually send them on their proper way home.  I couldn't help but laugh the first time I participated in all of this.  It is outlandish, difficult to explain, and so very cool.  I mean, a group of folks who see a need in their (rural) community and take action to solve the problem?  How is that not cool?

All the ordering is done online, so while I hit it right 90% of the time, occasionally what I think I ordered and what is delivered are two decidedly different things.  Like the case of Annie's Mac 'N Cheese.  It arrived as small pots that could be microwaved.  I do not have a microwave and tried to wish those cup packages back into the rectangular boxes I thought I had ordered.  It didn't work.

Next up, I boiled some water and poured it into the cup to the fill line.  Waited a few moments until the noodles became edible, poured out a little of the excess water, and stirred in the cheese packet.  My kids were none the wiser.  PHEW. 

This post could have alternatively been titled "How I fixed my mac 'n cheese ordering blunder".  Also "Get creative so you don't lose money on what you now have in your pantry."  But really it was a little jaunt to take a break from my holiday happenings.  How are all of your holiday preparations going?

Other enjoyable break activities include playing in the snowy woods and drinking hot cocoa.


smalltownme said...

I had the opposite problem. I wanted to make a boxed mac & cheese in the microwave, but they no longer put the instructions on the box (wanting to sell you their microwave packaging, no doubt). I figured out it was 1 3/4 c, water, so there!

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