Because of a Coffee Pot
I’ve said earlier that I didn’t get my biscotti recipes from Grandma. I kept making them because it was something different, that she wasn’t already a master of, that I could share with her and the rest of my family. But that wasn’t the initial trigger. It was because of a coffee pot.
In the spring of 2000 I officially moved out on my own (with 2 roommates). I had lived off campus for a year in college, so I had a lot of stuff to outfit the apartment already, but I didn’t have a coffee pot. Convinced I would be throwing regular dinner parties where everyone sat around drinking coffee long after the table had been cleared, this was going to be a crucial acquisition.
There was one catch however...I didn’t drink, or even like, coffee. Whatever I got wasn’t going to sit on the kitchen counter to be part of my morning routine. I was torn between not really wanting to spend money on something that wasn’t a necessity for me personally, and needing it to properly serve my hypothetical guests at dinner.
My dilemma was solved when I found an ad for a free(!) coffee pot. It was the gift for signing up for a subscription to Gevalia coffee. I could sign up, get the free coffee pot, and then cancel the subscription - this seemed like the perfect solution.
Anyone who remembers Columbia House or BMG CD clubs from college knows how this turns out...I didn’t cancel the subscription. Every few weeks a package a little larger than a shoebox arrived with 4 boxes of coffee in it...usually French vanilla and a dark roast if I remember correctly. These boxes stacked up around my room, threatening to take over, or at least topple over. In my defense, cancelling was harder than it would be now...this was around 2000, there was no online account to login to. I was going to have to open one of those packages to get the paperwork, find a stamp, actually go to the post office. I don’t even know how long it was before I finally got myself organized to send in the cancellation form, and at that point I was buried in coffee. So much for a free coffee pot.
Once I had stopped new boxes from arriving, I still had to figure out what to do with all the existing coffee. There was no way I was going to drink it all, I wasn’t even a coffee drinker. A-ha! Christmas presents! But I felt like I couldn’t just give people boxes of coffee, even if it was kind of fancy, there needed to be something with it. Well, what goes better with coffee than biscotti? Having never made biscotti before, I dug up some recipes and worked on figuring out this new baking process...2 rounds of baking for each batch meant using lots of cookie sheets and finding lots of horizontal surfaces for cooling biscotti. But once I got into a rhythm for cycling trays in and out of the oven, I found the biscotti were easier to make than dozens of drop or cut-out cookies. I tied up little bags of biscotti to go with a box of coffee, and I gave them to everyone I knew. Well, the biscotti were a bigger hit than the coffee, and so, as they say, the rest is history.
Oh, and yes, I still have the coffee pot.