October 30, 2011

Kool-Aid

This afternoon I was feeling a little parched and decided to get myself a drink.  We have a water cooler, but I passed it to go to the fridge.  My choices were whole milk, Sam Adams Oktoberfest, some Hornsby's Hard Apple Cider, two-year old Possman Frankfurter Applewine, a Dr. Pepper, some Pepsi, and some Fred Meyer Almond Milk.  There was also some pickle-juice, but I was fresh out of Wheaties.*

Crap...nothing to drink.

Well, the Almond Milk was tempting.  I didn't feel like "drinking", so the alcohol was off the menu.  I try not to drink "regular" sodas and the Dr. Pepper belongs to my wife's friend (why it is still in my fridge, I cannot tell you).  The whole milk is for cooking and while I'm not lactose intolerant, I do tend to pass a lot of gas when consuming milk.  I know, TMI.

I need me some Kool-Aid!  Fortunately I have a lot of it at the house.  Allegedly Kool-Aid is just for kids.  I have to call BS on that one.  I've been a sucker for Kool-Aid since I was a kid.  When I was younger I had two things to drink at my Dad's house: milk and Kool-Aid.  I can remember when I made the switch to skim milk and my family went to RAW milk.  Ummm....nothing like having to skim the pure fat off of you milk before you could drink it.  Needless to say I drank even more Kool-Aid.  I don't remember what we had when I was with my mother except Pepsi.  She drank it like it was liquid crack.

Anyway, I liked the Kool-Aid.  Probably around my freshman year of High School I started collecting those Kool-Aid points in earnest.  I had enough points to buy a watch, an alarm clock, and I remember getting the Kool-Aid video game for the Atari 2600.  Does that date me or what?

I honestly can't tell you if I drank much Kool-Aid when I was in the Air Force or not.  I doubt it.  When I got out and moved to Idaho, I definitely picked it back up.  At one time I probably had several thousand Kool-Aid packets stockpiled at the house.  Back in 2003 (or so, I'm guessing) there were a serious of Kool-Aid promotions that caught my attention.  One grocery chain that tends to have higher retail prices than everybody else had tons of Kool-Aid coupons instead of having reasonable prices.  Before you get into me, I spent enough time in retail management to know that generally speaking grocery stores have a very small margin on boxed goods, but when you see such a price discrepancy between chains, there is no way that it can all be chalked up to differences in cost.    These coupons were manufacturer's coupons for $1.00 off when you bought ten packages. Another chain located here in the valley had their Kool-Aid slightly reduced at 10 packs for $1.00.  It was worth my time to get all the coupons I could from one chain and use them at the other.

Technically the Kool-Aid wasn't free since I still had to pay the sales tax.  You know what is even better than getting Kool-Aid for free?  Yes, you are correct.....getting paid to buy Kool-Aid!  Pretty early on in the process I was getting my coupon doubled, so I was basically earning 94 cents to take home 10 packs of Kool-Aid.   You know I took full advantage of that!

It is surprising just how little room those packets take up in a box crammed somewhere in the kitchen.  A couple of years ago I went through and sorted all of the packets, just keeping my two favorite flavors.  I gave the rest away to a family that had a LOT of kids.  Now I'm pretty much down to just a couple hundred packets of Blastin' Berry Cherry.  It is good to know they still make that flavor in case I do run out.

I make mine with Equal (Saccarine) instead of sugar.  Over the years some of the packets tend to have their contents get a bit clumped up and crystallized a bit.  With those I just have to let them sit in the water and give it a good stir before drinking.  Since I only like it cold, I can just make up a batch and stir/shake it when it cools.  Good times.

*When I was in 6th or 7th grade my uncle (3 years older) and my brother conspired against me.  They threatened to lie to my parents that I had done some horrible thing unless I drank this concoction they made that consisted of pickle-juice, milk, OJ, Wheaties, and God-only-know-what-else.  Of course I threw up.  In fact I got so sick they became worried they'd get in trouble.  They promised to do anything to prevent me from telling on them.  Of course I made them drink the same concoction.  That pukey afternoon became known as the Pickle Juice & Wheaties incident.


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