Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Case of the Missing Nutella

Summer mornings for weeks proved hectic around our house. Grandkids attending day camp needed to be awake, dressed, fed, and out the door with a backpack stuffed with bathing suits, towel, sunscreen, lunch and snacks. 

Hailey’s last day of camp was a bittersweet one. She would soon be settling into her new home along with the rest of her family over a thousand miles away in the semi-tropical, barely-breathable Florida swampland.  

Hailey requested a Nutella sandwich for lunch on her last day of camp. Nutella was never on the menu at my house growing up, but I cannot blame my Mom. The product did not appear on grocery shelves until 1964. I never bought the spread for my boys, and we did not miss it or feel deprived.

Over the past few decades the item became a staple in many American homes. The sweet chocolate hazelnut concoction is not my idea of a healthy breakfast or lunch, but TV ads declare otherwise. Or they used to. Ferrero, the company that makes and markets the stuff, paid a $3 million fine in 2012 for promoting the spread as ‘part of a nutritious breakfast’. But accepted wisdom lingers on.

I knew our jar of Nutella was getting dangerously low, but that was fortuitous planning. The jar would remain on the shelf indefinitely once the kids were gone.

I hastily gathered everything Hailey needed for camp. The lunchbox was stuffed with borderline healthy snacks. I grabbed two pieces of whole wheat bread and opened the cabinet door.

No Nutella in sight.

I rummaged around, specifically remembering placing the jar in this cabinet, on the first shelf, a couple of days earlier. I began taking out the shelf contents and placing bags of pasta, spices, rice, juice boxes, and bottles of salad dressings on the counter. Everything but Nutella.

Maybe I put it in the bottom cabinet.

I spent more than a few minutes searching the bottom cabinet, taking everything out and spreading cans and bags of food on the floor. Still no Nutella.

It was getting late. I soulfully looked at hub, busy doing I have no idea what.

“Hailey really wants Nutella for lunch today. I thought I had some but can’t find it. Would you mind walking down to Rite-Aid and buying a jar?”

Anything for his granddaughter. He was out the door. Luckily the drugstore is two blocks from our house.

Meanwhile I ply Hailey away from the TV set, making sure she is dressed, teeth brushed and breakfast consumed.

Hub returns with the coveted jar. A couple of minutes later the sandwich is made, backpack filled, and Hailey and I are on our way to camp.

Returning about a half hour later I put all the food back in the cabinets, breathe a sigh of relief and sit down to enjoy a quiet breakfast and cup of coffee.

My son Matthew walks in the door at that moment. In his hands is a jar of Nutella.

I stare at the container.

“Steph took the Nutella last night to make a sandwich for Sami this morning.”

Mystery solved!

What a relief!

I am not going crazy or senile! I recalled correctly exactly what I did with the Nutella. Both jars were safely deposited in the cabinet.

A couple of weeks later my niece visited with her two-year-old son.

“Does Noah like Nutella?”

“I love it. Eat it all the time.”

I handed her the two jars.

Now there were none. Until next summer.


  1. Nutella? Heard of it; never tasted it. Guess I'm too old. (But you've got me intrigued -- maybe I'll try it!)

  2. The first time I ever tasted it was in a B&B in England. Loved it, but had never seen it on the shelves here. Now it's everywhere... and grandkids do love it.

  3. I've seen it advertised but I've never tasted it. I don't think I'm going to start, after looking at the ingredients! :-)