Not to be irreverent or distract from the serious issues of our days, but there are some frustrations dear to my heart.

We had a shortage of a few items in our home that are almost impossible to find for delivery or pick up.

For instance, peanut butter — JIF, and only JIF — is a staple in our cupboard. We usually purchase a 2-pack of 48 oz jars, just to be sure we are adequately stocked; therefore, we almost panic when we’re down near the bottom of the second jar.

This happened recently, and we found that peanut butter happens to be an item that people are hoarding. We have been unable to successfully add it to our pickup orders.

One way I’ve been dealing with the low stock of ‘nutter is to scrape the jars clean. I am the only one with the patience to do this. With diligence, I can scour out an extra tablespoon or two. That doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a difference when you are in the midst of withdrawal.

I was hard at it today, scraping up enough to coat my apple slices, when I realized that I need to have a serious conversation with the J.M. Smucker company about the jar design. The jar has shoulders, hips and a belt pulled tightly around its waistline (which might be where the plastic melted when the hot fluid was poured in). It also has a distinctly bulging bottom. No matter what kind of spatula blade used, there is always be a smear of this precious condiment left in the jar.

We were able to find a 2-pack at Sam’s recently, thankfully. We were so excited that we put two packs of doubles in our cart, only to be reprimanded by the Peanut Butter Police for our greed at check out. Neither one of us had seen the “only one” sign. We had been able to control our desires concerning paper products and other restricted items, but it was unthinkable that we could not stock up on JIF.

There are unusual items that appear to be on the hoard list, like white thread. I can’t find it anywhere — which, in retrospect, is a good thing. There are surely lots of folks in the Auburn-Opelika area who are sewing face masks and need that thread. The problem for me is that I had to switch from sewing masks to sewing a quilt for our soon-to-be born second grandson, and that’s on hold until I can find more white thread.

Another random item that cannot be found is bread flour, the kind with extra gluten that makes for a denser, chewier loaf. I made Challah successfully — without bread flour — but used up all of my yeast.

Bread flour and yeast are scarce. Have all these home-bound folks suddenly become bakery wizards? It’s been years since I’ve desired to bake bread; however, just before this COVID-19 fiasco hit, I had a great yearning to make home-made yeast bread.

There’s also the scarcity of toilet paper, of course, which I still don’t understand. We personally don’t expect to have a shortage, but I am counting sheets now — just to be sure.

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at

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