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Scratch-and-sniff is food for thought when it comes to snail mail


If you open up your snail mailbox and find that it smells like blue raspberry popsicles, do not be alarmed, and do not call in the HAZMAT team. You may be having a scratch-and-sniff moment courtesy of the USPS.

United States Frozen Treats forever stamps — the first U.S. postage with an aroma — will be issued on June 20. The 10 new stamps feature illustrations of various chill pops.

The Postal Service people plan to reveal the scents on June 20 but indicate that the stamps “will add the sweet scent of summer to letters of love, friendship, party invitations and other mailings.” Will it be Fudgesicle, Creamsicle or tamarindo paleta?

Maybe the real question is: Will it matter, since so few Americans actually correspond by letters and postcards anymore except an occasional card to a cranky, elder relative? You wouldn’t want to waste a sweet-smelling stamp on your monthly ransom payment for medical insurance.

Should this set of stamps be successful, you know USPS will have a sequel. Perhaps fall appetizer stamps are next, including garlic-drenched escargot. There will probably be scratch-and-sniff food stamps for every state. The Colorado stamp could smell like fresh-roasted corn, cantaloupe or peaches, or possibly a terpene-rich sativa.

India offers stamps scented with sandalwood, roses, jasmine and coffee. I worry that too many sorts of scented stamps in any one mail shipment might create more stink than mail carriers want to deal with on a hot summer day.

The Belgian Post Office offered a stamp with cocoa-flavored glue, and Haagen-Dazs teamed up with the Austrian Postal Service for stamps with cookies and cream, macadamia nut brittle and strawberry cheesecake ice cream flavor in the adhesive.

Flavor is unlikely to ever happen with U.S. postage for one simple reason: You have to actually lick them. Nobody does that anymore. Besides, Americans these days are unlikely to lick anything provided by the federal government.

P.S.: Speaking of scent, A.1., the steak sauce-maker, has introduced limited-edition candles perfumed in meat, burger and backyard BBQ aromas. Be happy they are not thinking about scenting postage stamps… yet.

The early history of Boulder paleo diets

You think your diet is super-meaty? Try this recipe for beef tea with hydrochloric acid from The Boulder Cookbook by Mrs. F. W. Leland, published in the early 1900s by the Federal Gas Company:

“Chop fine half pound of round or sirloin steak. Put one drop of chemically pure hydrochloric acid into a cupful of cold water, add this to the chopped beef, set in the refrigerator for two hours to digest; strain, season with salt. Serve in a red wine glass.”

Local food news

The upscale Steakhouse No. 316 will open this summer at 1922 13th St., formerly home of Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub for 17 years, and for 20 years before that as The James Pub. Steakhouse No. 316 has one location in Aspen. … 12 Point Distillery has opened at 802 S. Public Road in Lafayette. … Chipotle Mexican Grill will sever its Denver-born roots when the company closes its Denver offices and moves to California by the end of the year. … Gelato Festival America returns to Boulder Aug. 18-19. Last year the event took place at Twenty-Ninth Street Mall. This year’s festival location is TBD. … About Boulder County’s pristine street cred for natural foods: Sales of J.M. Smucker’s frozen Uncrustables sandwiches are likely to reach $250 million in sales in 2018. Those sales are expected to double when the company’s huge new plant opens in Longmont in 2020. You really don’t want to think about the river of grape jelly and peanut butter that will be flowing into Colorado. 

Fresh at the market

The Lafayette Farmers Market opens for the season this week in its new location on E. Simpson Street between Iowa and Michigan. Early season crops include arugula, asparagus, bok choy, greenhouse tomatoes, green garlic, plant starts, radishes, rhubarb and spring onions. As at the other Boulder-area markets, SNAP benefits are not only accepted but encouraged at the Lafayette market.

Be sure to consult the just-published 2018 Colorado Farm Fresh Directory, which is the most comprehensive listing of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, CSAs, u-picks, farm-to-table restaurants, wineries and agritourism activities across the state from corn mazes to farm/ranch vacations. This taste tour guide includes information on county fairs and agricultural festivals along with a state crop calendar.

‘Farm-fresh’ OK, ‘vegan’ not 

According to a recent national survey by Morning Consult, adult Americans ranked “fresh” as the most-appealing and “vegan” as the least-appealing terms that firms use to market food. “Fresh,” “farm-fresh,” “naturally sweetened,” “high in fiber,” “grass-fed” and “free-range” all rated above 50 percent with consumers. Foods and beverages marketed as “vegan,” “diet,” “gluten-free,” and “sustainably sourced” occupied the bottom rungs of approval.

However, it depends on your generation. Nearly one-third of shoppers aged 18-21 love the “vegan” label. Fifty-four percent of Americans aged 18-29 say “organic” is an appealing label, compared to 37 percent of those 65 and older. If you surveyed Boulder County adults, the results would skew quite differently.

Politically speaking, 78 percent of Trump voters like the “sourced from American farmers” label, compared to 68 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. Identical percentages of Democrats and Republicans like the “non-GMO” label.

Taste of the week

Bliss is showing up at an event and finding out it is being catered by Boulder’s Kathmandu II Restaurant. There was an array of fine Nepali and Indian dishes, but I made a beeline for the saag paneer (aka palak paneer) and warm tandoori-baked naan to scoop it up with. Unlike the heavy creamed spinach dished at steak joints, this saag paneer has a buttery, bright, fresh spinach flavor mildly seasoned with herbs and spices and dotted with chewy chunks of white paneer cheese. When I eat at the restaurant (or its original Nederland location), I always get this comfort dish as the yin to balance out the incendiary yang of the sweat-inducing lamb vindaloo.

Words to chew on

“This curry was like a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that I’d once heard… especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging ‘Joy.’ It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal.”

— Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange

John Lehndorff has hosted Radio Nibbles for more than 20 years on KGNU. Listen to podcasts at: Send comments to: