The Battle of the Orange and Cream

Sometime in the past year or so, Bill and I discovered Stewart’s diet sodas. In particular, we were thrilled to taste their root beer and their orange and cream diet sodas.

For a while, they were sold at Fry’s grocery store, the Arizona version of Kroger. At some point, they stopped stocking them, or at least stopped stocking the diet versions. I was sad until I discovered I could buy them at a little fruit and vegetable market not far from our Arizona home. They don’t give them away – a buck forty-nine a bottle. The pop, however, is well worth the price as both the orange and cream and the root beer are splendidly delicious.

So I did what any normal person addicted to a particular product would do – I began hoarding them. Seriously, I would go to the Superstition Market each week or so and buy every single solitary bottle of the diet root beer and the diet orange and cream in the refrigerated case. I try not to think about how much money I spent on my habit. But I will tell you the honest truth – I was not the only one doing so. Every time I went, I would have to wrestle a bottle or two from some other desperate senior citizen’s hand. Well, not really, but figuratively, yes. The only good thing is that it seems like most senior citizens covet the cream soda, and as far as I’m concerned, they can have every one of them because, well, cream soda.

The reason that I began hoarding Stewart’s diet sodas like a meth addict is because I was unable to find any place in Denver that sells Stewart’s sodas. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any such place, but I can’t determine a source. So my thought was that since we would be driving home from Arizona in May, I would load up our trunk with clanging bottles of soda pop.

Stewarts hoardAnyhow, that’s exactly what I did. They have been sitting on a shelf in our garage since we got home. Little by little, I have opened a coveted bottle as a special treat. The diet root beers are delicious, but without a doubt, I prefer the orange and cream sodas. Because, orange and cream. You can read further about my orange and cream addiction in this post.

Now, before I go on, I will remind you that I would do almost anything for any one of my grandchildren. I make treats that they like. I have a constant supply of their cookie-of-choice – Oreos. I have M& Ms and A&W root beer and pink lemonade always at the ready.

Alastair and shrimp

Alastair’s displaying the shrimp he cooked by himself on the grill, delightfully flavored with a spicy Cajun seasoning. See what I mean?

But the day I saw Alastair take a cold orange and cream soda from the refrigerator, I was stunned. I hadn’t told him not to drink it so he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that I know my grandson Alastair. He likes good things. He likes good food and good drink and good fun. I can’t wait until he is old enough to prepare full meals for me, because he will be a splendid cook. So the handwriting was on the wall. I knew he was going to love the orange and cream soda, and he indeed did.

Again, I must remind you that what I said above is true – I would do almost anything for my grandchildren. Except share my orange and cream soda.

So, I went to the grocery store and bought a 12-pack of Sunkist orange soda, thinking I was brilliant to have thought of such a logical solution. I put it in my refrigerator so it would be nice and cold for his next visit.

And his next visit was this past Saturday. He was there for a while when I saw him open the drawer in my refrigerator where I keep my beverages. He closed the drawer. Then I heard him go into the garage. He emerged carrying a bottle of the orange and cream soda, garage temperature notwithstanding.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said, sounding only slightly hysterical. “Did you see that I got you some lovely Sunkist orange soda?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “But that isn’t nearly as good as this Stewart’s Orange and Cream soda. I’m going to chill this bottle so I can drink it.” And that’s what he did. He put it in the drawer. Every so often he would go check the temperature, like a soda pop sommelier. When it was exactly right, he opened the bottle, sniffed the beverage deeply, and took a long, cooling draw.

Sigh.

By the time Alastair stops by next, Bill will have successfully dug a root cellar which will be hidden by rocks in our back yard in which I will be secretly storing my Stewart’s diet orange and cream soda. In the meantime, can anyone tell me where I can buy it? It’s available from Amazon for fifty bucks for a 12-pack. Wait, what?

This post linked to the GRAND Social

What Shall We Call It?

Carol canned peachesJust before this past Christmas, my friend Carol gave me two glorious quarts of peaches as a gift, peaches she had, in fact, put up herself. I’ve undertaken that same activity many times, and I know that it is a messy job, but well worth it when you can eat Palisade (Colorado) peaches in the middle of winter. As it happens, I hadn’t canned this past year, except for a batch of dill pickles in which I forgot to put in the dill. Sigh. So I was happy to get them.

Unfortunately, we were leaving very shortly for our winter in Arizona. We had left our car in AZ when we had opened up the house in late October, and so we were flying. Since we couldn’t bring them with us on the airplane, they sat on my counter – looking beautiful – until yesterday afternoon, when this happened…..

peach pie graham

My phone rang early yesterday afternoon, and one of our granddaughters was calling to see if she could come over. I say one of our granddaughters because the truth is, I can’t tell any of them apart on the telephone. Well, at least not Maggie Faith and Dagny. I agreed, but I wasn’t sure who would walk through my door. But the bottom line was, IT DIDN’T MATTER. I was happy to see either one.

It was Maggie Faith.

magnolia on swing

Now, I learned recently that both Maggie and Dagny like to get creative in the kitchen. They like to prepare food using recipes they make up as they go along. For example, the other day, Dagny squeezed a lime, added some sugar, some oreos, and some M&Ms, and called it Lime Sherbert. Don’t ask.

As an aside, when she asked for some sugar, I brought out my sugar canister – nothing special; something I’ve had for years. “Oh, Nana, that’s beautiful,” she said. It’s not, but I’ll take a compliment any time I can get it. And when I brought out my electric citrus juicer so that she could get all of the juice out of the lime, I thought she was going to faint. “That is SO AWESOME,” she said. And I won’t even tell you what she thought about my Lazy Susan cupboard. From her reaction, you would think her mom and dad cook in a cave.

Anyhoo, yesterday, Maggie – who has been eyeing those peaches since we got back from Arizona – asked if she could make something using the peaches. I was willing, but nervous that the peaches would be used for a concoction similar to Dagny’s.

“How about a peach pie?” I asked her.

Boom.

So I went to my freezer, which could, in fact, have Jimmy Hoffa buried somewhere inside, and pulled out a frozen pie crust. I opened up the bag and told Maggie we had to let it thaw. After a competitive game of Crazy 8s (in which I was heartily defeated) I returned to my pie crust, began trying to unfold it, and it basically crumbled into pieces. I checked the pull date and gasped in horror. I am going to tell you what it was, but only because I know that Maggie is going to spill the beans on me anyway because she couldn’t stop laughing.

October 2005.

I’m telling you – Jimmy Hoffa’s body.

At any rate, we used some (probably stale) graham crackers and made a crust, and baked it with the peaches (slightly sweetened with sugar and thickened with flour), and called it a peach pie…..

magnolia making crust

During preparation, there was lots of tasting going on….

Magnolia slurping peach juice

Because the pie was entirely ad hoc, I will not include a recipe. If you would like Dagny’s recipe for lime/oreo/sugar/M&M juice, contact her directly.

By the way, at the end of the day, Maggie’s peach pie was an epic fail. The peaches were delicious; the graham crackers were so stale I suspect they were probably purchased sometime in the Nixon Administration. My goal this week is to go through my freezer and pantry and discard any food items that aren’t from this decade!

This blog is linked to Katherine’s Corner.