So Bag Lady and Shopping Siren are doing some entertaining this summer. Mostly, only of people we like. (It’s a small number.)
If guests are arriving from out of state and we’ve decided we enjoy their company enough to let them use the off-limits-to-people-who-live-here fancy hand towel in the bathroom, to empty the fridge of condiments that expired in 2015 and to unearth the vacuum extension and hit every corner, top and bottom, of the house, then we clearly like them enough to go all out.
By which we mean buy them Fluff.
And some Wicked Fresh toothpaste.
So we shopped for everything you — and we — need for a proper Welcome To Maine gift basket. (Prices as of July 28.)
And if you happen to make a fluffernutter sandwich to celebrate when your guests go home again, we won’t tell.
• Maine Root sodas, 12 oz., Axis Natural Foods, $1.89
In flavors like Mandarin Orange and Ginger Brew. Little known fact: There are absolutely no calories in any specialty food or drink made in Maine. Enjoy!
• Cooked maple sausage from A Wee Bit Farm, Axis, $8.78/pound
Bring a Maine-raised bit of breakfast to the table.
• Moxie, 12-pack of 12 oz. cans, Hannaford, $4.49
The should-not-be-missed official Maine soda. Send ’em home with hair on their chests! Whether they want it or not.
• Labadie’s whoopie pies with gift crate, Labadie’s Bakery, $54.99
A dozen whoopie pies nestled in a Maine pine gift crate. Choose from a variety of whoopie flavors, including vanilla-vanilla, chocolate peanut butter and classic chocolate-vanilla. Too much sugar? The site (not sure about the store) also sells whoopie pie T-shirts for $14.99. Personally, we’re pretty sure our guests would rather have a shirt, so we ate all the whoopie pies. We’re generous that way.
• Marshmallow fluff, 1 pound jar, Shaw’s, $1.99
A New England staple that is the basis of the best regional sandwich ever invented: the fluffernutter. In researching this, we discovered (thanks Wikipedia!) that Somerville, Massachusetts, celebrates the marshmallow creme with an annual festival called What the Fluff? Also, a decade ago, one Massachusetts lawmaker wanted less Fluff served in school while another one wanted to make the fluffernutter an official state sandwich. It’s known as The Great 2006 Kerfluffle.
Now you have some trivia to give your guests along with their marshmallow goo. You’re welcome.
• Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh toothpaste, 4.7 oz., Axis, $6.79
Ahh! It’s very Maine and it’s wicked, a great Maine word, but it’s also infinitely practical for guests after all the sugar we’ve just thrown their way.
• Borealis bread, Axis, $3.90 to $4.90
Loaves of bread in a variety of flavors. We were particularly intrigued by pumpkin raisin, which sounds like more of a fall bread than a summer one, but we’re pretty sure your guests’ mouths will be too full to complain.
• Little Lad’s popcorn, Axis, $2.25
Small bags (1.75 ounces) of Maine-made popcorn in gourmet flavors like herbal corn, snacker jack and sea salt and sea veggie. For a welcome basket, we recommend garlic buttah. Ayuh.
• Tourmaline Hill Farm goat milk yogurt, 32 oz., Axis, $9.79
It’s hard to be more Maine than a goat farm in Greenwood.
Best find: Maine Balsam Fir pillows, Axis, $3.99 to $15.99
Tiny, small, medium or large pillows stuffed with balsam fir by a business right in West Paris. (Our favorite was a small pillow made from fabric that depicted Maine’s famous world traveler sign.) These pillows smell just like a walk through a thick pine forest in July. Perfect way for your guests to always remember their Maine vacation.
Think twice: About being hospitable. You don’t want to go down as starting The Great 2017 Kerfluffle.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who would be whoopie pie traditionalists if they were allowed chocolate) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected]