The French Vanilla Ballet

Most people have their own little quirky holiday traditions and indulgences. Before Christmas each year, I splurge on a food product that somehow just makes me happy in a small way. There’s an aisle in the Kroger that I usually avoid. Somewhere between the cookies and the crackers, there lives a section that exhibits the delightful Pepperidge Farm products.

You have seen the display. They are exquisite little cookies packaged in little fancy white bags with the fold-over top. The cookies pictured on the bag resemble a cookie you would likely see on a silver tray at a wedding reception.   I wasn’t raised to buy them unless it was a special event that involved putting out pretty cookies to impress your friends and neighbors.

Even the names on the little white bags sound fancy: Brussels, Geneva, Bordeaux, Tahiti, and Milano. Are these cookies or cities? The picture on the bag is my only clue of what kind of cookie is actually in the bag. These are not “every-day” cookies. These are “fine china” cookies. These are cookies to be talked about and celebrated.

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When I see these little bags with their fancy names, I know to start looking for the tall round tins from Pepperidge Farm that say, “Pirouette”. They are tall round wafers with a French Vanilla flavor filling. This is my quirky Christmas tradition to buy one tin of Pirouettes every year as a Christmas Gift to my coffee. I stir the coffee with them as they melt. The coffee turns a wonderful flavor as the wafer melts. This is special ME time while watching a favorite holiday movie. And yes, I’d like to think that my coffee appreciates the thoughtfulness and sends me a thank you note.

Each year I scan the small cities in Europe until I find the Pirouettes. Why do you confuse me Pepperidge Farm? Wait, that’s it! Pirouettes! Isn’t that a ballerina spin? What does a ballerina have to do with my French Vanilla coffee wafers? Is this a “Nutcracker” reference? Every year I have this conversation in my head as I stand there in the Kroger aisle searching for my holiday tradition, and thankfully no one else is hearing this conversation.

There are many ways to mark the end of the Christmas season. Is it a date? Is it Epiphany? Is it when the tree becomes a fire hazard? My quirky Christmas tradition is officially over when the last Pirouette has melted in my coffee during the second week of January. I treasure the last Pirouette and cling to my holiday tradition. After that, Christmas is indeed over. And it’s a very sad day for the French Vanilla Ballet.

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