Kathleen Purvis

What’s with the shortage of peppermint ice cream?

Limited edition, indeed: All the other peppermint ice cream fans keep snapping up all the Edy’s Peppermint.
Limited edition, indeed: All the other peppermint ice cream fans keep snapping up all the Edy’s Peppermint.

All right, Harris Teeter. It’s time we have a talk. There is a seasonal miscalculation you keep making and it’s time someone brought it up:

What’s with the shortage of peppermint ice cream?

At first, I thought it was just a coincidence. Maybe a case of poor holiday inventory control. But it happens every year now: Just about the time my neighborhood Teeter fills its aisles with gingerbread-house kits and giant bags of Christmas-shaped pretzels, the peppermint ice cream appears. And for a couple of weeks, all is right with the world, until suddenly, the small stock of peppermint vanishes faster than a snow flurry in October.

Throw in a couple of precious boxes of Candy Cane Joe-Joes from Trader Joe’s and you could pretty much head straight for Dec. 31 as far as I’m concerned. The rest of the holiday season is a minor inconvenience, as long as there is peppermint ice cream. And no, the Edy’s version that Harris Teeter stocks isn’t as good as the Sealtest and Howard Johnson’s versions of my youth, with their big chunks of red and green peppermint. But if there is only one brand of peppermint ice cream, I can make do.

I don’t even understand why peppermint ice cream only appears at the holidays. Wouldn’t a nice cone of tingly fresh peppermint be even more refreshing in July? But no, for logic that must be far above my pay grade, the world has decided that peppermint can only appear in ice cream between Nov. 25 and Jan. 1.

And that would be OK, if we could settle this inventory problem. Apparently, I’m not the only person who prowls the ice cream aisle, waiting for the seasonal appearance of those red-and-white cardboard tubs. By the second week in December, with weeks of holiday madness ahead, the peppermint ice cream supply is always wiped out.

No matter how many times I paw through the case of holiday flavors, the only things left are sad, ignored tubs of eggnog ice cream.

Eggnog ice cream is what they serve on the Island of Misfit Toys, Harris Teeter. There’s a reason there is always plenty of it – because no one actually wants it. You can’t jazz up eggnog ice cream with bourbon, and everyone knows the only reason eggnog exists is as a delivery system for bourbon.

This year, I’m taking back the sleigh reins. After coming home empty-handed once again, I got out my ice cream maker, cracked a few eggs and put together a batch of homemade ice cream, flavored with a big dose of peppermint extract and a heaping pile of crushed candy canes. (By the way, your stock of candy canes is getting pretty depleted, too. You know that no one really wants the cherry-flavored candy canes, right?)

So there is peppermint ice cream in my freezer right now, firming up for Christmas dinner. At least one house in my neighborhood will have a decent supply on Christmas Eve.

I bet Santa himself will head straight for my chimney when he hears the news. I’d offer him a cup of eggnog with it, but he’s driving. And he can forget the Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s – I’m hoarding those.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis

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