Like Resistance fighters noting the position of enemy gun emplacements, readers have been sending in reports from the field.
“Our Martin’s supermarket has a plentiful supply of butterscotch pudding mix on their shelves,” wrote John McClurken of Cross Junction, Va. “All is not lost.”
Jan Kochansky wrote: “As of two days ago, Jell-O butterscotch pudding mix was available on the shelf of Weis Market in Boonsboro, Md.”
A reader named Tina said the Harris Teeter in Olney, Md., was well-stocked with the elusive butterscotch pudding mix. “I didn’t go looking for it, but there it was staring back at me,” she wrote.
These members of the Butterscotch Army were responding to my column last week lamenting the absence of butterscotch pudding mix on the shelves of my local Giant.
Brian Hannigan located Jell-O Butterscotch Instant Pudding & Pie Filling at the Harris Teeter in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center in Arlington. More importantly, he said it also carries Jell-O Butterscotch Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling. He insists the cook-and-serve is superior to the instant.
“I accept your admission that you are not a ‘pudding guy,’ because a true pudding aficionado would never blur the distinction between instant and cooked pudding,” Brian wrote. “You are indeed a pudding naif. And I say that in a nice way.”
My rumination on something I could once find easily made readers think of their own favorite now-vanished comestibles.
“How about the once-ubiquitous onion salt?” wrote Tom Kenney of Glen Echo. “I cannot locate it in several stores where I looked. In fact, I can only find it online and at the Food Lion on Route 3 in Locust Grove, Va.”
Laidler Campbell of Springfield, Va., wrote: “My disappearing item is canned apricots, which are a nice change from peaches, pears and pineapple. My husband has taken to ordering a dozen cans at a time online.”
Madam, your postal worker must think you’re stocking a fallout shelter.
Ron Klayton of Oakton, Va., says his Holy Grail is Fleischmann’s Original Soft Margarine. “It used to be available everywhere, but now I can no longer find it in the local area or in eastern Pennsylvania,” he wrote. “Whenever I visit my daughter in Pittsburgh, where it is still available, I buy several packages.”
Kathleen Moody of Vienna, Va., never cared much for butterscotch pudding, but as a “sentimental baby boomer,” she has a hankering for Tab diet soda, which she said disappeared from Giant and Wegmans shelves several months ago.
“My inquiries as to why with Coca-Cola, the local stores and the ‘local’ bottling company/distributor have been wholly unsatisfactory,” she wrote.
Jane E. Shafritz’s heart longs for butter cream mints. “I can’t seem to find them anywhere,” she wrote. “Do you have any suggestions?”
I found them online, where they go by the name butter mints. One website — nuts.com — had a testimonial from a customer: “These are the best butter mints! I ordered them for my Mom’s 90th birthday party — that’s what she wanted.”
There’s no getting around it: Nostalgia for certain flavors and food items may be an indicator that you, too, are 90 years old — in spirit if not in body. In the words of Mark Gladstone, a self-described “official olde fahrt” from Bethesda: “The love of butterscotch is a sign of extreme aging.”
And finally, while we’re on the subject of butterscotch, Ellen Ternes of Fayetteville, Pa., wanted to share a butterscotch treat she rightly figured I may never have tasted: butterscotch oatmeal. She discovered it during a visit to Scotland.
“I’m in line at the hotel breakfast bar to get my genuine Scottish oatmeal — or porridge, as they call it,” Ellen wrote. “I scooped it in my bowl, then saw the accompaniments waiting by the pot. Brown sugar, butter and then — what hae! — a mostly full bottle of whisky, which I was told you pour over the butter and sugar that were melting over the porridge.”
Ellen tried it and found it delicious, not to mention “a nice mellow way to start the day.”
Her travel companions — who had chosen more conventional egg-based breakfasts — were intrigued.
“The next morning, when I arrived at the porridge pot to repeat the previous day’s treat, the whisky was gone,” Ellen wrote. “Gone! And all my travel buddies were already at the table eating butterscotch oatmeal. Last time I’ll reveal a secret like that.”
In yesterday’s column about Fahrney’s Pens, I gave the owner a new first name. He’s Chris Sullivan, not Chuck.
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.