Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Cranberry: $0.49/Kroger

cascadianfarms_cranberry (4)So yesterday was 3/14 or Pi Day and while I didn’t make a pie or perform any complex math equations, I did eat a Cascadian Farms Dark Chocolate Cranberry bar that reminded me of the non-rectangular, round dessert, namely, something that happened last fall. So last minute grocery shoppers for holiday meal supplies are hilarious. I’ve been there, but learned to begin the shopping, and even mis-en-place’ing, days in advance, if anything to avoid the cluttered aisles. Much nicer when a supermarket has an entryway display of the most commonly used ingredients for whatever classic meal is approaching. In this case, it was Thanksgiving, and I did have to go to the store the day before, but thankfully it was the Kroger down in Atlanta near my Dad’s, a sprawling store with a produce and natural department to rival that of the Whole Foods around the corner. And the bar aisle? SWOON. So of course I had to pick up a few bars while I was in there, but not before encountering a very loud mother-in-law type from New York who couldn’t find canned cranberry and was biting the head off of a young man with a broom. I politely intervened, suggesting that maybe the canned cranberry wasn’t with the canned fruit and applesauce area, but was possibly in the baked goods aisle next to canned pumpkin and other pie-type gelatinous fillings? My gentle suggestion elicited a grateful smile in my direction from the employee as he scampered off, floating on his broom like the girl from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, probably thrilled to not have to converse with crazed Thanksgiving shoppers. Now that I had the attention of this brash heavily-perfumed New Yorker, I chortled that I was expected to bring my homemade cranberry salsa to the holiday table every year, but that I grew up on the canned stuff and wasn’t snobby about it. Wrong thing to say because I guess she WAS a snob about it as she launched into the defensive about making cranberry jello mold fruit ring. Is that still a thing? I can see it in my head, a wobbly semi-transluscent bundt cake shape with suspended bits, chunks and hunks of questionable fruit floating in its amoeba dome? Some recipes are delicious in their retro simplicity and I enjoy both making and eating them, but a cranberry jello mold just sounds awful.

What wasn’t awful (but not good enough to earn a repeat in my bar-book) was the Cascadian bar that had Kroger’s yellow “WooHoo!” clearance sticker on it. The dark chocolate wasn’t pronounced enough to balance the tart cranberry, nor was there enough of either flavors to make up for the dry oats that were the dominate bulk of the bar. It is a bar that I’d nibble and share with Louise, but not one that I’d got out of my way to get again. Same goes for cranberry in jelly, jello, jam, or jiggly form at all. Fall is fine for my cranberry salsa, but I can’t imagine making it in the spring to eat alongside anything. Tom and I used to have friends over (you know, before we all started squirting out kids) for “Fakesgiving” in the summertime; we’d all potluck a Thanksgiving-themed side dish as long as it was infinitely easier to prepare than the real thing. Think green bean casserole with frozen beans, ground turkey made into a meatloaf as the main, a side of instant mashed potato flakes, and pumpkin pie made with canned pumpkin. I hope that the spunky bedazzled-sweater, high-heel clacking New York broad was able to serve her cranberry jello mold with success, but given the choice, I think I would pick the WooHoo Cascadian Farms over a WahWah Antiquated Side. 2/5

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