Sunday, October 03, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Ode to Pero

Two and a half years ago, in a post called “Ode to Postum,” I waxed romantic about the beloved coffee substitute. I reported that I and my partner of the time had come to enjoy a hot cup of Postum after dinner and that, no more than six months after we had established this pleasant routine, Kraft Foods had discontinued Postum. A product first introduced over a hundred years ago had been snatched from our hands just as we had fallen in love with it.

Much has happened since Ode to Postum. I am now drinking my hot beverages alone. But, especially as the weather turns cooler, I find myself yearning for a Postum-like beverage in the evening. When tea is not enough and something heartier and a bit sweet is required, I miss my Postum.

It has taken a while, but I’ve made the transition to Pero, a Swiss-made instant coffee substitute. Soon after the demise of Postum, I sampled a few of the other Postum imitators on the market. Most were undrinkable. Pero was acceptable but suffered by comparison with the memory of Postum. Pero was smooth and rich tasting. Its primary shortcoming was that, unlike Postum—which contained molasses—it was not naturally sweet. But sweetness is easy to accomplish. I typically drink both coffee and tea black, without sugar, so adding sweeteners does not come naturally for me. But a hot cup of Pero with a teaspoon of brown or white sugar is a very pleasing beverage. It may also help that, two and a half years after my last cup of Postum, the memory of its deliciousness has faded somewhat. Now, if the Pero and sugar are mixed just right, I can imagine I am drinking a cup of C.W. Post’s wonderful elixir.

On one level, the forgoing represents an unsolicited product endorsement (“I’m not a doctor, but I impersonate a PhD in real life”), but I hope you will see that is it much, much more: another installment in a long series of sonnets in appreciation of simple—in this case, domestic—pleasures.

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