Wednesday, January 10, 2024

A Message from the King and More From Real Life

No, not that King.

Wikimedia Commons

Or this one.


You may recall my holiday baking hit a snafu when I found alien matter in my King Arthur flour. 

I wrote to them, explaining the situation and was impressed that they immediately sent a "got your email" notification bot, saying they would respond within 24 hours. It took less time than that. I had an answer a few hours later.

"From your photo and description, what you found in your flour is called bin scale. It happens when the flour becomes compacted and moisture gets introduced somewhere. That can occur anywhere between storage at the silos to the shipping and storing process. The pressure from all the flour in the silo compacts bits of flour - it can be so compacted that the chunk almost looks shiny, giving the impression of plastic or even ceramic pieces. Bin scale is simply compacted flour.We have filed a report with our quality assurance department and mailed you vouchers good for a free replacement.We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will continue to enjoy King Arthur Baking Company products."

And, true to their word, several days later I received coupons for two five-pound bags of King Arthur Flour. 

I'd call that pretty good customer service. (And by the way, some of you who mentioned it might be moisture-related were right on target!)

In other news....

We had a very quiet post Christmas season (or Twixmas, as Jan of "Low Carb Diabetic" calls it!). One of the most fun parts was our annual Christmas song exchange with friends Mark and Jan. This year the song was "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and our gifts had to connect to lyrics of the song. Among the things we found for them were Bugle snacks (little tin horns); Santa-wrapped chocolates; a colorforms "Battleship" game and two little matchbox cars ("elephants, boats and kiddie cars, too") and funny glasses ("he sees you when you're sleeping.")

We received really cute, sparkly Santa hats, naughty and nice glasses, a set of "lists", naughty or nice socks, a car coaster with "naughty or nice" on it, and best of all, Santa specs.

What, you might ask, are Santa Specs? They are cardboard glasses, similar to the kind you used to get in a vintage 3-D movie. 

When you put them on and look at lights on the tree, they become little Santa heads! (Sorry for the lousy photo -- I hope you get the idea!)

On New Year's Eve we went to see the movie "The Boys in the Boat," about the 1936 rowing team -- underdogs to the max -- who ended up going to the Olympics and winning the gold. It was very good. After, we came home and had dinner. I set a nice table using my Royal Doulton Royal Gold china, mom's silver and crystal and a tablecloth that my up-north friend Kathy gave me when they moved. It was simple but pretty. We had Ina Garten's 45-minute oven risotto with sauteed shrimp and salad with peppermint stick ice cream for dessert. (I'll be sad to see that go -- and it will be a good thing!)

After dinner, we found the American Experience documentary about the 1936 team and watched it. (It's available at They were pretty close to accurate in the film, with some of the events compressed for timing and perhaps dramatic narrative. I'd like to read the book it was based on. Recommended. 

On New Year's day  we went to the movies again, this time to see "Maestro," the film about Leonard Bernstein, which focused equally on his marriage and his work. I found it fascinating and Bradley Cooper's performance as Bernstein and Carey Mulligan as Felicia were both spot on. You can see it on Netflix too, (but if you want the big sound, see it on the big screen.) The scene in Ely Cathedral of Bernstein conducting Mahler's second symphony deserves to be heard full-tilt.

Now we are back into the world of the "now." Doc appointments, attacking the dreaded basement, and more. I just started reading "My Name is Barbra," (aka, the Streisand book), a Christmas present from Rick. I am loving her conversational writing style. 

I don't know if Costco carries the same books everywhere but this one was about $6 less expensive than Amazon and lots less than the local store. They also had this wonderful Ina Garten cookbook for $20. I need another cookbook like a hole in the head, but Ina's recipes always work and I couldn't resist. We'll be eating well.

The frame of my glasses broke so I'm back to wearing my old ones till I have cataract surgery in February or March. The script is old and not terribly effective but probably better than nothing (though the verdict on that is still out.) I'll get new ones after that -- at least, I am assuming I'll need them.  

And I started -- and finished -- a new jigsaw puzzle -- Christmas cats! This was a fast and easy one -- only 500 pieces instead of the usual 1000! But it's very cheery!

We got a bit of snow a couple of days ago and a little more last night -- the sticky kind that looks pretty!  Now I'm on to another -- and at the moment I'm contemplating putting it back in the box!


We really haven't had any at all this year, apart from some light dustings (the grass even showed through) and one wet one that melted by the end of the day (but it was pretty while it lasted.) More is predicted so Rick is ecstatic. I'd be happy to stop with this!

Meanwhile, this one is just happy that her birds are being fed -- and that she can enjoy her "Bird TV." 

Wherever you are, keep cozy!


Anonymous said...

What an interesting and fun gift swap idea. You have a busy and fun holiday season.

Tom said... folks sure get into the Christmas spirit.

Boud said...

Good old King Arthur! I like them and Bob's for flour and customer service. I'm glad there was nothing ominous in your flour, too.

gigi-hawaii said...

I would love to see Maestro. David's favorite composer is Mahler. Bernstein came to Hawaii decades ago and conducted the New York Philharmonic. And of course, we all love West Side Story.

Anvilcloud said...

You seem to live a good life, and that is very ... um ... good.

Yesterdays storm is being followed by melting here in this crazy winter.

DVArtist said...

What a fun time for the holidays. I am so happy to know that KA took care of the situation. It is also interesting to know about bin scale. Ohhh I have loved Barbara Streisand since I was a little kid. My parents had all of her albums. I think this photo on the book was actually on one of the album covers. Nice puzzle too. I am so happy I don't get snow here. Well once in a great while. Have a cozy day today.

Mae Travels said...

Costco definitely has good prices on books, but small selection. Good place to buy gifts, especially for exchanges where it needs to appeal to more than one possible recipient. I love your set table!
best, mae at

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'll be curious to see what you think after cataract surgery. My mom was so thrilled after hers because everything looked so much more bright and vibrant! You can't detect something like that that slowly changes over time. But all in all I think she'd give the surgery a 10/10!

I don't own an Ina Garten cookbook! But I should. I know she has great recipes. The risotto one you mention sounds great! I'm all about easy things you can just slip into the oven and don't need to constantly monitor like a traditional risotto recipe requires. I could use some new recipe inspiration so maybe I will buy an Ina Garten book for myself for my birthday.

Glad you are enjoying the Barbara book! The length is equivalent to 2-3+ books!

Anonymous said...

Ha! I have been on my local library "hold" list for the Barbra book ...and still holding, lol. I just looked and I am down to being the 25th hold out of 91 copies available. Maybe I will get it by next month finally.
Dawn P. Albany, GA

Arti said...

Glad you took the time to write to the King and got a King reply so promptly. Good ending to a troubled episode. As for Barbra, I listened to her narrating, so, was awed by her casual, conversational style. What an enjoyable volume of candid self disclosure. After you've read Rick's gift, listen to the audiobook and tell me, did she actually write all the 'you know...' in her book?
As for Maestro, that's a highly anticipated movie for me but I'm afraid I have to admit it was a bit of a disappointment. Will let you know what I think when I write up a post on the Oscar noms for 2023 movies.
Have a great year!

Red Rose Alley said...

You got some snow! I love to see it in your area every year. It sounds like you've had an eventful new year so far. The Barbara Streisand book sounds like a good one. I've always like her, especially in The Way We Were. The puzzle with the cats is delightful, and me and Francesca did some puzzles while visiting with family, and she put them together so fast, while it took me longer haha. Your table setting for New Year's Eve is so lovely, Jeanie, with the gold plates. I hope the new year brings you much goodness, and I do hope it's a good one for you and me. I look forward to reading more of your wonderful posts this year. It's always a pleasure to see the happenings in your life.


Rustic Pumpkin said...

I'm glad you got such a favourable and prompt response.
Winter has descended both sides of The Pond now...

Divers and Sundry said...

Hoorah for the King. I'm impressed :)

I love the Santa hats! What a festive table setting. I haven't been to a movie theater since B.C. (Before Covid lol). We do streaming and disc only these days. We do have to wait, though. Ina Garten is fun. I unerstand why you found the book hard to resist :) Snow! Lovely! We may get some next week.

DUTA said...

Barbra Streisand- great singer and personality!
The Christmas cats, looks like a lovely jisaw puzzle!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Jeanie, it wasn't surprising to read that King Arthur sent you not only an explanation but the coupons as that is the sign of a company acting responsibly. We like the fact that it is an employee-owned enterprise as well and we buy their flours exclusively, along with Bob's Red Mill products. The gift exchange after Christmas sounded like a fun way to continue the holidays in a creative way.

We watched Maestro on Netflix and I did not know it was also in theaters. I read The Boys in the Boats years ago and wanted to re-read it, but with the movie being out, both audio and hardback copies are on the library's wait list. I plan to see if the Barbra S book has a long wait. I am also waiting to read The Astors by Anderson Cooper.

Our 15-inch snowfall over the weekend was mostly washed away by overnight rains on Tuesday.

Valerie-Jael said...

Gad you had a great response from King Authur. I am not fond of snow, but the ice and snow here just now looked realy pretty today, I have some more photos for Friday's post. Hugs, Valerie

eileeninmd said...

It is great customer service from the King Arthur flour company. The coupons are a nice bonus too. I like the fun Santa glasses. I have watch Ina's cooking show but I do not have any of her cookbooks. Love your sweet Lizzie and the cat puzzle is cute too. Take care, have a great day!

Sandi said...

That was quick on the flour! They sound like a good company.

I smiled to see Ina Garten here. Love her!

roentare said...

You really celebrate the festive period well.

Rita said...

The information made sense and the promptness and coupons from King Arthur was admirable. Nice to hear. I always liked them and Bob's Red Mill. Excellent companies.

So much going on! Friends, puzzles, movies, big book, and snow (which I envy because we can still see grass through our little bit). Hope you're feeling okay. I'm on the mend. Don't bounce back as quickly as I used to--lol! But am better. Hope you are, too. :)

Sandra Cox said...

You set a beautiful table. Sounds like the holidays were fun and festive. Good luck with the cataract surgery. I suspect it will go smoothly.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

What a lovely post of your times, Jeanie. King Arthur Flour is a wonderful company that I believe is still employee owned. Good to hear that they still care for their customers. Your recommendations sound great. Maestro is on my list to see and to read Barbra's book---love her! Happy New Year!

My name is Erika. said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun during Twixtmas. I love the theme gifts. I haven't seen those Santa glasses before. They are cool. And both movies look good. What I like about Ina Garten cookbooks is that she always has some really great dishes that you don't have to go through hours and hours of effort to make. Your New Years table looks beautiful too. Have fun with your puzzle, and hopefully your snow will melt. hugs-Erika

Carol said...

What a fun Christmas gift exchange! I might recommend that to my friends next year.

Prims By The Water said...

What fun Santa specs and love the idea of the game. That puzzle looks adorable. Janice

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

The customer service from King Arthur is impressive. Glad they took care of it for you. I saw Maestro and although Bradly Cooper played really well, I just didn't love it! You cat puzzle is adorable and you and your friends look like you really had fun together celebrating!

Gretchen Joanna said...

What a cute puzzle! Have you started another one yet?

I am loving King Arthur more all the time. Have they had their great website for a long time? Seems like I only discovered it a couple of years ago. I have ordered some things from the website but also bought their flours elsewhere....

Happy baking!

Lorrie said...

The gift swap sounds like a lot of fun! Very creative. It's good to know some companies provide excellent customer service. Hooray for King Arthur flour company. Your table setting is very pretty. Setting the table is one of my favourite parts of having guests.

Joyful said...

I enjoyed reading what you've been up to. NY dinner sounds very good. I started to watch Maestro on Netflix awhile back but didn't get very far. I need to try again. I'm enjoying the autobiography by Barbra Streisand but I can't for the life of me figure out why it says (on Overdrive) that is the book is just over 2300 pages long yet all page counts for Kindle books and other format is under 1000 pages. This book does seem much longer to me as I should have finished it by now if it was 1000 pages or less yet I'm only at about 65%. It's a good thing I'm enjoying it, lol. I'll have to check out the other movie you mentioned as I haven't heard of it. Take care and enjoy the rest of your week. As for me I'll be trying to stay warm. It's supposed to hit minus 17 Celcius tomorrow night and I'm having a hard time believing that.

Karen M said...

King Arthur is a great company, have heard so many good things over the years and their recipes are great! Glad to see all is well in your world :-)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am a great fan of both Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler, so I would probably enjoy this movie, but going to a crowded theatre sitting with all those people tempers the appeal. And I can enjoy both Mahler and Bernstein on You Tube, so I think that will have to do.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You live such a fun life, finding delight in setting your beautiful table and inventive gift exchanges.

I bet you even find a way to get pleasure from That Basement! lol

La Table De Nana said...

I agree you live the good life:)So two of my friends had cataract surgery and both say it's a miracle:) Like a giftof seeing so clearly again.Eyes are so important.I recently went and she said I had pressure in my eyes,,(20 yrs ago I was told that..saw a specialist all was good)..Anyway she sent a referral and I saw a pro with all the latest technology..all is ok.I mean I need glasses to see from far..but the rest ok.One worries when sent to a specialist..
I want Bradley to win the GG but I have not seen Oppenheimer.
I do want to see The Holdovers:)Fun times with your buddies! Interesting as to the scale.I had a Quaker Oats product:)Did not know what it was..
Have a great weekend:)

Iris Flavia said...

Wow, you did a lot over the end of year time! I got a bit breathless ;-)
Nice of the flour company to act so fast but yikes on the glasses!

shoreacres said...

I'm glad you heard from King Arthur, and that there was a reasonable explanation.
I've not seen Maestro; I suspect it tends toward the hagiographic. I couldn't help thinking of Tom Wolfe's portrait in Radical Chic. It's a rollicking good story; it might even be available as an online text now. I have the book, where it's paired with "Mau-mauing the Flak Catchers," a tale that's equally great. I was working in Oakland in social services at the time, and believe me: there were plenty of us inside "the system" who howled at the humor -- and the truth.

Sharon in Las Cruces NM said...

Love this fun and festive post. Hard not to smile when reading it. thanks for sharing your love of life and your fabulous sense of humor Jeanie. Have a blessed New Year. Hugs from New Mexico! Sharon G.

NGS said...

It's good to know that KA has such good customer service. I've recently started dipping my toes into the gluten free flour from KA and it works pretty well for a lot of things.

I adore that cat puzzle! Perfectly cheery for this time of year!

Marilyn Miller said...

What a nice review of the season. It sounds just lovely.
The gift exchange with your friends just made me smile, how creative.
Your NY eve dinner table was beautiful.
I just watched Maestro on Netflix. I can imagine the music would have been wonderful in the theater. I thought both actors did great too.
How fun to just stop and do a puzzle for awhile, especially with a bit of snow out the window and cozy indoors.
Happy New Year, dear Jeanie!

Pam said...

Snow, snow, snow......we are expecting some maybe on Tue. Looks like you have been busy, as always.

Susan said...

I got my husband the "Boys in the Boat" for Christmas and he absolutely loved it. He couldn't wait to get to the book during his reading time every night.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I love King Authur Flour. I buy their scones and bread 'kits'.

I read the book, The Boys in the Boat and really enjoyed it. Can't wait to see the movie.

Your table setting is fabulous!!!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Sorry your glasses broke. My husband had cataract surgery and the other eye is scheduled for this month. He said it is amazing! No issues. Hubby saw Oppenheimer and said it was so boring and he is an engineer. The Christmas cat puzzle is darling. Stay cozy after your snowfall.

This N That said...

Glad King Arthur came through..That's why they have such a good reputation..
I think I would enjoy those movies..
Your gift swap sounds like fun..
We had just enough snow to enjoy it...It was gone the next day..Perfect..

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

So glad the flour issue was just compaction and not plastic! I have Maestro on my Netflix to-watch list. Send some of that snow my way! Love the Santa glasses, how fun to see all those Santa faces!

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

I’m so happy you liked the movie of The Boys in the Boat. I read the book a few years ago and just loved it. We’ll probably wait until we can stream it. I hope the movie is equally good. I’ve only make risotto on the stove top. I guess I should try it sometime in the oven. It would be so much easier to not stir it almost constantly. I’ve started tackling my side of our lower level where all my art and crafts are located. I’m being very diligent to get rid of so much this time. I only spend about an hour a day, but everything I touch and don’t want to keep will be either donated, or put in a pile to try and sell or put in the trash.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Catching up reading blogs, I had yours mixed up with the last blog I read. Then I Rick in the hat, thinking that guy looks just like Rick! LOL!
I then realized this is you posting.
Sounds like y'all had a wonderful holiday.
"Boys in the Boat," is a must see. Brings back memories of the rowers on the Charles River in MA when I was a kid.

Carola Bartz said...

The Santa specs are fabuous and so much fun! I loved your gift swapping when you wrote about it last year, and I love it again just the same. This is such a lovely idea. I like Ina Garten's cookbooks, there are several on my shelf and they all have little marks for "favorites" sticking out. The cat jigsaw puzzle looks like fun as well! What a lovely post, Jeanie. Hugs - Carola

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, the gift swap is a cute idea. King Arthur seems to have taken the unidentified particles seriously and sent coupons. I love when that happens. I had cataract surgery and the results were amazing. It was as if everything changed from gray to explosions of color. Enjoyable post dear one! said...

Love the gift swap tradition, how much fun!! So glad what you found in the flour was just compacted flour, that was awful thinking it was shards of plastic or something! I'm so glad King Arthur handled it so well and promptly~ You had a lovely Twixmas~ We're supposed to get snow early next week, I sure hope not! I love Lizzie watching her Bird TV, so sweet!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Oh what fun with the Christmas carol exchange! Those Santa specs....Mr. P & I went to a very nice state park that always has a huge festival of lights, and we bought a package deal which included those specs for the tram travel. Ohmygosh, we laughed so hard with others on the tram as we hit the lights with our various glasses - some had gingerbread men, some snowflakes, etc. It was hilarious!
Maestro was fantastic! Now waiting for Boys in the Boat to hit one of our streaming channels.
Ina's great, and so is Jennifer Garner when she does one of Ina's recipes in her pretend cooking channel on social media.
Happy Friday! Wind's whirling like crazy here!

Lowcarb team member said...

As always loved reading your post and catching up with your news.

That was a good response from King Arthur.
Love the cats puzzle.

All the best Jan

PS Thanks for the mention and the link back to the low carb diabetic blog :)

anno said...

The cats puzzle is totally adorable!
And I always love hearing about your Christmas-carol based gift exchange -- fun like that only happens when you have years of practice!

Sounds like you had a wonderful in-between time -- sounds like you planned well!

CrystalChick said...

Good response from the flour company.
We have a few pairs of the holiday 3d glasses. Santas, but also maybe stars and something else. Didn't get them out this year though.
I've always enjoyed Ina Garten, and watched her cooking show Barefoot Contessa for many years. I do have one of her cookbooks.
Cute puzzle. Haven't done one for a while. A couple years ago I was gifted a giraffe with a Santa hat one this is under the couch right now. I glued it, and would like to hang it up eventually, but running out of wall space.

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