Robert M. Price
Is anybody else beside me bummed out by the blatant and shocking absence of Boiled Custard from the supermarket shelves this Christmas season? Yeah, that was me pestering the stock man at Wal-Mart and Food Lion, asking when the precious elixir was likely to come in. I finally called up Maola Dairies in desperation. Might as well get the bad news from the horseís mouthóer, I guess from the cowís mouth. Sure enough, they were planning not to make any!
What? How? Do they have a new manager there this year? Maybe one named Ebenezer Scrooge? How am I supposed to celebrate Christmas adequately without that delicious, creamy treat helping to add three times as many calories as otherwise to my seasonal intake? It took me several years of Christmases to learn just how much of the stuff I could guzzle without getting sick. Lucky for me, my daughter Veronica found she couldnít drink but a sip before getting nauseous. Victoria, on the other hand, hates the stuff, sickening or not. Donít get me wrong, Iím more than willing to share. But this way, I canít complain: thereís more for me. Or there would beóif they were producing the stuff!
How can I forget the first time I tried it? The year was 1986, and my best pal was philosopher and dairyman Alan Thornton, over in Goldsboro (since moved to Atlanta). He worked for Pine State Dairies. (I always used to kid him that, given that pigs in this state were just as populous as pines, they ought to call the dairy "Swine State." What a riot.) We and our wives were in Raleigh for some exposition where Pine State goodies were on display, and here was this cream-colored carton of something called Boiled Custard.
"What the heck is this?" I mused with the astonishment of the true explorer. Was it some kind of recreation of a pioneer-era Appalachian concoction banned along with moonshine whiskey by the Feds? No, explained Alan, as he suggested I take a sip. Wow! Like Constantine on the Milvian Bridge, I was staggered by the revelation and vowed there and then to become a life-long adherent of Boiled Custard. Or, technically, I guess, it would be adhering to me!
But, sniff, this year it will be a Christmas without Boiled Custard. It has the maudlin gravity of a made for TV movie, donít you think?
Oh sure, I could ask my wife to make it, but sheís so busy with seasonal labors already, I just havenít got the heart. (Besides, Iím already planning on asking her to brew up some Hot Wassail, and I donít want to press my luck!)
Why not just swig Egg Nog, you ask? I donít think you would ask that if you had ever tasted Boiled Custard. Once you do, you realize Egg Nog is a poor substitute for the real thing. Let me put it this way: once youíve had a Bojangles sausage biscuit, do you think youíre ever likely to buy another McDonaldís sausage biscuit? Preposterous!
So, Santa, if youíre reading this, Iím pleading with you! Bring me some Boiled Custard for Christmas! And donít wait till Christmas morning! I canít wait that long! And if any dairyman is reading this, consider me a focus group. (Iím almost big enough to count as one anyway!) There must be legions of us Custardians thirsting for the stuff, so why donít you make some? As I recall, the last two seasons, you couldnít keep the stuff on the shelves! And that was just me!
Robert M Price
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