April 18, 2009

(Sigh...) Childhood Food Memories

Thought for the day:
"Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?" (author unknown)

I can't believe how different my kids were as far as liking particular foods. One absolutely loved mashed potatoes, while the other would gag at the thought of trying them. Making school lunches could be a nightmare if you were in a hurry. "No mayonnaise...mustard please!...just the plain yellow kind....crusts removed...extra jelly... grape only...did she get more chips than me?!".....yada, yada. Easter baskets and Christmas stockings consisted of one with assorted chocolate, and another with fruit candies, like Starburst and Skittles. I laugh at what I do, because growing up, this "food whining" would never have happened at my house. The house rules were, "try it even if you don't like it, eat what you take, and you get what you get."

Aside from our childhood house rules, food makes us smile. I believe some of the happiest memories we have from our past are connected to food. This holds true for my own children. Sitting in her high chair, my youngest used to wiggle her toes and close her eyes while eating buttered pasta. Her sister would dance around, grinning ear to ear, watching me take a bubbling cheese pizza out of the oven. One bite of a familiar buttery cookie can remind you of grandma's house; a smell, whether sweet or greasy, can take you back to a happier, worry free time that passes by much too quickly.

I can remember when the Post cereal company once offered a Bobby Sherman record on the back of their Raisin Bran box. I absolutely hated Raisin Bran cereal, but at the time, (and I emphasize "at the time") I had the biggest crush on Bobby Sherman, and would have consumed a whole box of the stuff just to get the free record. My mother said that if I really wanted the "prize", I had to eat the cereal. So I did. And I believe she helped too. The cereal really wasn't that bad once you picked out all the raisins.
When the box was finally emptied, I got my scissors, cut out the record, and adjusted it on my little 45rpm player. It sounded horrible, but it was Bobby Sherman, and he was singing "Easy Come, Easy Go." I loved it, and was genuinely happy. Even now, I still think of those times when I eat Raisin Bran. Only now, I leave the raisins in, they're delicious! (But my kids won't touch them.)

I'm sure many of you had a favorite food that still makes you smile. It's even more special when you know you can buy these same goodies today for your own kids. The good stuff will always be around, like M&M's, cheeseburgers, ice cold milkshakes and caramel corn.

Let's get nostalgic.

This is my top ten list of childhood foods I remember loving. Maybe these will take you back. (Like "Dave's Top Ten", we'll start with number ten):

10. Fruit cocktail (I would drink the syrup right out of the can....gross)
9. Cherry jello (with the fruit cocktail added after I drank the syrup)
8. Corn on the cob (I liked using the little corn-shaped holders)
7. Blue freeze pops (giant sized ones, a foot long. I would ride my bike with one in my teeth)
6. Kool-aid (any flavor, sometimes just ate the powder like a pixi-stix....gross again.)

5. Barnum's animal crackers (loved the little box with the string handle)
4. PDQ drink mix (little chocolate pellets would float to the milk surface...yum)
3. My mom's coconut-pecan chocolate cake (gooey and delicious)

2. Fluffernutter sandwiches (still make 'em, still eat 'em)

And my number one all time favorite childhood food memory:

1. "Mister Softee ice cream" (I could hear that annoying jingle about five blocks away)

That was sooooo much fun. Now let's get really disgusting, and talk about least favorite:
10. "Tang" breakfast drink (I don't care whether the astronauts drank it or not.)
9. Watermelon (I got A LOT of heat for not liking this one. I think it was the seeds.)
8. Peeps ( a blatant Easter basket disappointment)
7. Scooter Pies (especially the strawberry ones.....made me.....flinch. Go figure though. As previously stated, I love fluffernutters)
6. Liver and onions (the name says it all)
5. Ribbon candy (sorry Grandma, you might as well have filled the candy dish with glass shards...same difference, only sticky.)
4. Chipped beef gravy on toast (in my house, this was a Thursday night staple. I won't go into details what the appearance, taste and smell were like, but I had a dog, and she wouldn't eat it. The army called it S.O.S. for a reason.)
3. Sugar Crisp cereal (I don't know, I just didn't like it. There were brownish puffs, and they floated, and turned my milk tan.)
2. Beets (as God as my witness, they should still be banned!)

And the number one, least favorite, most hated childhood food of mine (drum roll pleeeze):

1. Candy Circus Peanuts (let's think about this, they're orange, they're big, and they have nothing in common with anything "peanut")
When life gets crazy, think back to a simpler time, and see if you can try to recreate that contentment for yourself today. Now friends, if you'll excuse me, I have a sandwich to make.


greengirl said...

Ahh, this made me smile. I am totally enjoying your blog! Keep up the great work. G

Anonymous said...

My mom used to buy us babyfood desserts as a kid. The original, totable lunch snack! Pudding was my favorite, but my sister like the strained plums! It probably came about with teh addition of my brother, eight years younger, and us having to feed the baby. You know, pretend to eat the food and then feed it to the baby! Sally