Friday, November 13, 2009

Trader Joe's Gingerbread Mix

Deep, Dark, Gingerbread Cake & Baking Mix with Molasses & Ginger
Trader Joe's, $2.49

I just bought 5 boxes of cake mix.

I discovered this mix last fall and came to take its spicy comfort for granted. I even figured out how to cook it in a slightly undersized pan so that the center would come out puffy and moist, like a gingerbread souffle.

When it disappeared from the shelves shortly after the holidays, I was caught off guard--but I really shouldn't have been. While few sweet treats remain tethered to their original seasons or occasions, many of those associated with the winter holidays remain resolutely unavailable at other times--though whether they're unavailable because they seem inappropriate, or vice versa, I can't say.

In Sweetness and Power, anthropologist Sidney Mintz observes that holiday treats are among the oldest continuing food traditions; as the mix box notes, "In the Middle Ages, intricately decorated gingerbread cakes were given by fair ladies to knights going into tournament battle. Still popular today, gingerbread abounds during the holidays as a celebration of the season."

I look forward to having a little bit of Christmas cheer in July--that is, if my 5 boxes last that long.

[Note: if you don't happen to live within Trader Joe's territory, Hodgson Mills makes a boxed gingerbread mix that was my previous favorite.]

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