Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Cup o' Joe

One of my favorite indulgences is a good cup of coffee.  Long before Starbuck's was around, I was enjoying gourmet coffee.  In my late teenage years, General Foods came out with their International Coffee flavors.    Each flavor was inspired by flavors associated with various countries and came in a cute little tin, decorated with the colors of the flag of each country.

My favorite was Suisse Mocha.  Inspired by Swiss chocolate, this flavor had the most inviting aroma.  I also liked Cafe Vienna which was flavored with cinnamon and Orange Cappuccino, from Italy.  All you needed was a cup of hot water, a tin of coffee and a spoon.  Money was tight for my parents back then.  My brother & I didn't know it at the time because they always provided for all of our "needs" and most of our "wants".  So spending hard-earned money on fancy coffee was probably a big stretch for my mother, but she did it anyway.  Truth be told, she enjoyed it as much as I did!  When I went away to college, Mother would send me packages to lift my spirits.  She called them "goody pokes".  They included candy bars, cookies, or other supplies that I couldn't find in the small village of Cullowhee, but there was always a tin of International Coffee nestled among the other items.  A cup of that coffee would transport me back to my home and I could almost picture Mother sitting across the table from me enjoying a cup.  
During the recent Christmas holiday, I organized my kitchen pantry and discarded out of date items.  As I burrowed deeper into the pantry, I uncovered a bag of ground, chocolate-flavored coffee.  I instantly remembered that Mother had put it in my Christmas stocking years ago.  It was still sealed so when I opened it, the fresh aroma filled my nostrils.  I wasted no time in readying my single-serve coffee maker and brewing a cup.  I added a detail that was a trademark of Vera.  She always liked to drink her coffee or tea from a china cup.  No clunky ceramic mug or Christmas cup would do for her.  She wanted a dainty, china cup.  In fact, she loved china cups so much that she started collecting them.  I am proud that she entrusted them to me several years ago and I proudly display them on the buffet in my dining room.

So this morning, as I drink my customary cup o' joe, I am remembering many times in the past when Mother & I shared coffee, laughter, and most of!

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