God bless my husband, a man willing not only to grocery shop, but also to stop by the store in 15 degree weather, after a long day at work, to purchase processed cheese for a dish I am making right that very minute. As in, "we're starving, but I seem to have misplaced the Velveeta. So ... we will have dinner as soon as you get home and the cheese melts."
In a pinch, he has been known to find substitutes if he can't find precisely what is on the list. For example, in the past we have learned that Sunny D does not equal orange juice, that Yoo-hoo does not equal chocolate milk, and there is a pretty significant difference between self-rising and regular flour. Now he will call me to determine valid replacements for various ingredients, which is what prompted the following call last evening:
Jake: "They are out of regular Velveeta, but have this Mexican kind. Will that do?"
Me: (Skeptically) "They're out of Velveeta? Seriously?"
Jake: "Out. Of Velveeta. It's Mexican Velveeta or nothing."
Me: "You've checked with the store clerk to see where they are hiding the plain? After looking really, really well for the regular kind?"
Jake: "There is no regular Velveeta. I repeat: There. Is. No. Plain. Velveeta."
Well, my Chicken Tetrazzini is not complete without the Velveeta, so we made do with the Mexican kind. I just assumed there had been a run for Velveeta so we Southerners could sit contentedly by the fire with our Rotel and Velveeta and a bag of Fritos while it was a frosty 5 degrees outside.
Then I came across an article in USA Today that, in fact, there is a nationwide Velveeta shortage. The Kraft Company has no valid explanation, and now the major news networks are accusing Kraft of basically making up this whole shortage business.
I resist this theory on the following grounds: Kraft is based in a suburb of Chicago. I'm assuming the good folks of Kraft have done a bit of research, and that Southerners are a pretty big demographic for their product. I feel that during this research, they very likely discovered that to get between a Southerner and a major component of every casserole and snack food we hold dear is to take one's life into their own hands. A precarious endeavor, that.
Midwesterners are sensible folks. I have lived amongst them. They do not willingly court danger. They want people to be happy, and well-fed. Thus, this shortage is to be blamed upon some sort of shelf-stocking mishap that will be corrected immediately. This could not be some sort of senseless marketing ploy that can only end with a pack of Southern women rioting at Kraft's corporate headquarters, wielding cast-iron skillets and bags of Fritos, backed by a cast of snack-shortage-crazed men and children. Each and every one of them hangry (hungry + angry = hangry), and willing to do whatever it takes to right a snacking wrong.
Let me be clear: this is not a threat. I am not planning a riot. I lived in Wisconsin for 2.5 cold, snowy years, and I would no more head toward Chicago in January than I would assemble some wings with hot-glue and dime-store feathers and attempt to fly to the moon.
Also, I will not negotiate with food marketing terrorists. I'm just saying to the entities responsible ... put the Velveeta back on the shelves and back away slowly, quietly ... and no one gets hurt.
PS -- If you have a fantastic recipe with a key ingredient being Velveeta, please post that in the comments section. Then, once this boxed cheese crisis is resolved, we can all enjoy new and fancy dishes with every Southerners favorite cheesy weapon.
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