Sunday, October 25, 2015
Luck of the Coffee Drinker
Used to be, Mom bought our clothes at Robert Hall and food at the A & P supermarket, home of lost or now rare enchantments such as the Spanish Bar Cake and red tins of Eight o' Clock Coffee, alongside the foreign and fascinating adults-only object (pictured) resembling a nautical speed control but engraved with weird, haunting, perhaps mystical words; Mom never used it. Today I stock only 2 brands of ground coffee: Eight o' Clock, and Chock Full o' Nuts. These passions are old, deeply set, and based solely on the names and packaging. At eight a.m., all things are possible; I still believe that. Out east, the franchise "Chock Full o' Nuts," so named because it started as a chain of roasted-nut shops in Manhattan, has sold coffee and pastries since 1932. In New England I became addicted to Chock Full coffee, rare and expensive in Missouri, consistently available at only one classy St. Louis grocery at $6-$8 for a small can. I remedied this by ordering a case of the regular coffee direct from Chock Full; the green-lidded decaf was harder to find.
I drink more of the decaf now, when I can get it. The last tin I bought is tagged $6.49. So last week in a supermarket in House Springs I'm stunned to see the "marked down" shelf holding 5 cans of Chock Full decaf at $2.99 each. Ecstatically I bought them all. It was the best luck I had all day.
It might be the "o"s in the middle of Eight o' Clock and Chock Full o' Nuts that have so entangled my coffee-drinkin' heart.