OPEN LETTER TO HERSHEY’S CANADA
Last year I made my very own cream liqueur, combining full cream, cheap Canadian rye whisky, and melted Hershey’s Chipits. The recipe was a grand success, and even if it did languish in our fridge until clumps collected at the bottom of the jug, it was only because my parents/co-chefs could not conceive of the cream staying fresh long enough for us to consume it at a moderate rate rather than binge-drink it before the cream’s “best before” date. (I know, right? How could they not understand that whisky kills EVERYTHING?)
My homemade liqueur’s label may also have played some small part in its relegation to the back of the fridge—you be the judge, as I don’t have a marketing degree; I’m just a small bear with two brain cells. But whether or not anybody deigned to drink it, I considered our Canadian Cream a glorious concoction, worthy of a second act.
In other words: Liquorstore Bear’s Homemade Kahlua Knock-Off.
Now, Hershey’s people, if you’ve ever had this particular hooch, you know it’s coffee-flavoured. So my mission this Christmas was to combine coffee-type ingredients with, well, any kind of hard alcohol.
My first impulse was to use actual espresso, brewed in a stovetop Bialetti. But my mother, who is lazy, instead presented me with a bag of coffee-flavoured Chipits. These, she said, we could melt the same way we’d melted regular Chipits for our Canadian Cream. It would be faster, the melted chips would impart a creamy mouthfeel, and no one would have to bounce off the walls after drinking the leftover espresso.
“Awesome,” I said, and got the vodka ready. This involved beating a plastic mickey against a table until the cap broke off. (I don’t have any thumbs.)
Meanwhile, my mother melted the coffee-flavoured Chipits. (I am not allowed to use the stove because I am irresponsible.)
As your product melted (correctly, in a double boiler), a most offensive odour began to drift through our kitchen. “That,” I said, “does not smell like coffee.” Yet, in a weird way it did. But in an even weirder way, it really did not. I peeked at the ingredient list:
hydrogenated palm kernel oil
natural and artificial flavours
modified milk ingredients
OMG, Hershey’s! Notice anything? Like…pssst! There’s no coffee in these coffee-flavoured Chipits! Not a bean!
How in the name of all that is furry can I make my own Kahlua with these weird little palm kernel oil pellets that contain no coffee? Holy crap, Hershey’s, it’s a Christmas miracle that there’s even COCOA in them!
So here’s what happened next: My Kahlua knock-off project got aborted! Which left me with a bottle of vodka to pound. In other words, it was a win for me.
Not so much for my mother, though, who foolishly used the melted Chipits to make a cheesecake for Christmas dessert. Go figure, she thought those freaky little coffee-fakers would blend into the other ingredients and perhaps mellow out. But OMG, no. They did not mellow out at all. In fact, just one cup of those wretched little coffee-flavoured Chipits ruined dessert—every single guest left it uneaten! Not even to be polite would they eat that cake.
Those coffee-flavoured Chipits are an abomination.
So anyway, Hershey’s, you kind of wrecked Christmas dessert for us, which meant we had to get drunk instead. Which, in all honesty, I didn’t mind, but my family thought it kind of sucked.
My mum took my Canadian Cream liqueur and baked it into a cake for Scarybear’s birthday. This goes against everything I thought we stood for—allowing good alcohol to burn off in a hot oven.
I tried to stop her but she said, “Buddy, no one was drinking that liqueur.”
“But there was nothing wrong with it!”
She just shrugged. “It was taking up space in the fridge.”
“We could have drunk it!”
Another shrug. “I know. It smelled fine when I put it in the cake.”
“Then why? Why???”
“I just couldn’t work up an urge to drink it. And neither could your dad.”
“It might have had something to do with the branding, LB.”
My Fellow Inebriates,
I had nothing to do with this. I don’t eat solids, especially fellow mammalian pests. But if one of those pesky vermin is going to prognosticate more winter, it might as well put a target on its furry back.
- 2 lbs groundhog, preferably one that’s seen its shadow
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock (do not be tempted to use wine)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- Bunch parsley
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme/rosemary/whatever
- Ketchup if it still doesn’t taste right
- More broth if it’s too thick
Okay, so you solid-foods eaters know how to make a stew, right? Chop up all the vegetables and fry them in oil or butter. Then add your “wild game.” This is a good day to find groundhogs. If you see a local news van, they probably have one still hanging around after their annual “soft news” Groundhog Day feature. They’ll probably just give it to you. After all, they can get a new one next year, and they’re not that cute.
It may seem really wrong to cook up a groundhog, but chances are you’ve eaten all kinds of fellow mammals. Be really quick, and use a sharp knife so it doesn’t suffer. (OMG, that’s hard to really write—blame my evil typist.) Remember to get a groundhog, not a bear (my friend Scarybear looks sort of like a groundhog). And…hey…enjoy yourself.
Oh wait, I forgot the most important part!
You need wine.
Groundhog meat is red and sort of gamey. Choose a big, bold red with lots of tannins. This is the time to bust out a good Cab or Zin—maybe even a Shiraz with some sort of marsupial on the label.