Sunday, February 17, 2008

Don't Know Whatcha Got 'til It's Gone

Never in my life has that '80s-era Cinderella song meant as much to me (melodramatic much?) as it does tonight.

A frantic a-googling of "postum" tonight (after my third failed attempt to locate a jar of the coffee substitute at a suburban Vons store) brought the news: Postum is no more. Kraft Foods (the bastards!) has pulled the plug on the 113-year-old product due to declining sales.

Postum, glorious, caffeine-free powdered grainy and molassesy Postum. Preferred hot beverage of grandmothers, Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists (and me), gone forever! I'm rending garments and wailing like a cat over here.

Two months ago, Kraft (the bastards!) made the announcement, but I just found out tonight. Had I just been better at keeping my ear to the coffee substitute ground and my finger on the pulse of the processed roasted beverage industry (there should be some kind of news source for endangered food brands, an emergency alert system for the powerless consumer), I'd have known it was time to scour the shelves and buy up all the extra jars I could. And now it's too late. TOO LATE! They're gone. ALL GONE!

Why, oh why did I recycle the last empty jar I had before making sure I could replace it? Stupid environmental conscience! Never again will I take down the completely style-less and totally uncool jar of dusty, weird powder to make myself and my little daughter a soothing hot drink on a chilly morning before work. Never again will I hear the metallic swish-grind of the lid as I twist open the glass jar, a sound I never realized I loved until facing the fact that I'll never hear it again.

Sure, there are other roasted grain-based coffee substitutes on the market. Another quick googlefest gave me a few names to try. And try them I will. But it'll never be Postum.

I used to be sheepish and embarrassed when making Postum at a workplace. When people asked me what I was doing or what I was drinking, I'd say, "Oh, it's this weird gramma drink called Postum" and then I'd shuffle back to my desk with my warm, sweet mug of Postum before they had too much time to belittle me. I wish I could take back every word, every second of time I wasted being embarrassed.

To those of you who have a secret love, I urge you not to hide it or be ashamed, but sing out to the mountains and to the seas, for one day, when you least expect it, it could be ripped from your life forever. For serious. RIP, Postum.

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