Handle with Care Packages

As of yesterday, Molly and I have achieved a perfect record for delivery of inedible care packages.

Harry and David we’re not.

Once, it was easy to ply our loved ones with homemade goodies. We just scraped them off the pan, set them on the counter and watched them disappear. Back then the hardest part was keeping grubby fingers out of the dough, and our patented you-screen-while-I-scoop maneuver took care of that.

But, one by one, our family scattered beyond the reach of our cozy little kitchen.

Sadly for them, we appear to be missing the gene that allowed my Grandma to ship perfectly prepared packages of apricot cookies and walnut rolls. Her tools were not sophisticated — cardboard boxes, re-used Styrofoam, newspaper and packing tape. But Grandma’s baked goods were more obedient than ours and, for the 40 years she sent them, every single thing arrived intact and fresh.

Not so the lovingly prepared box we sent off to Charlie last week.

My friend Debbie, a care package veteran, tipped us off to a nifty number called the “priority flat rate box,” something that would have been handy when we sent Grandma Peggy her $100 chocolate cake last year.

Overconfident, I packed it full of Molly’s homemade pumpkin biscotti, my granola, Wisconsin’s honey crisp apples and strawberry rhubarb jam. I wrapped the box with a jaunty swipe of Packer duct tape and sent it off. Simultaneously, Charlie’s sister Katherine sent him homemade pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from her apartment in Chicago.

More than a week later, limp and exhausted, both packages arrived.

Turns out it’s not a good idea to send a care package into the aftermath of a historic hurricane.

This is three-year old me cooking with my Grandma who sent out professionally packaged goodies every Christmas and Easter.
See how nicely we lined the biscotti tin with Lambeau Field paper towels?
We helpfully topped it off with a Packer schedule refrigerator magnet and a current roster.
Like a Greek tragedy, someone in this story went just a little too far. Perhaps the Packer duct tape doomed this package.
These poor cookies did not survive their treacherous trek from Chicago to Manhattan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy…
…and the granola wilted en route as well.
This is what the box that contained my $100 chocolate cake looked like when it finally arrived in Florida.
…and here’s a chocolate cake only a Grandma could love. Shipping goodies is not our thing.

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