Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 11: A Taste of Nostalgia

Sue suggested a post on childhood treats, and I love that idea!

One of my favorite memories is getting a penny (that's right, youngsters, a PENNY!) from my mom and rollerskating to the pharmacy where a package of Pez cost that amount. It was fun to empty the shiny foil package into the preferred Pez head of the moment, but it didn't matter much, because I always finished the pack before I got home. There was something very particular about the way those babies melted on the tongue...they were creamier than Smarties or SweetTarts, and tasted like nothing in nature. I still love them.

Speaking of powdery stuff, I also loved Necco wafers, especially the "all chocolate all the time" packages. There were like a thousand of them in a roll. I liked some of the fruit flavors, but then you'd hit a green one that tasted like licorice which had been sprinkled with motor oil, and it just ruined the whole day.

It was the Bicentennial when I was 10, so I have some sweet associations with patriotic foods. One was a flavor at Baskin Robbins called Yankee Doodle Mint. It was green (like my still-fave Mint Chip) but had little pieces of clear green candy instead of chips. That stuff was freakin' awesome. I've never seen it since. Maybe I was the only one in the nation who liked it.

Since it was the '70s, we occasionally had boxed baked goods at our house (though my mother denies it now) and I was a fan of Zingers, Suzy-Qs, and the cupcakes with the squiggles. (Funny, I'm obviously not the only one who loved those, because Burger Lounge has a homemade version that looks the same but sadly, I have known Hostess Cupcakes, Hostess Cupcakes are a friend of mine, and they are no Hostess Cupcakes.) In 1976, there were Dolly Madison Stars n' Stripes cupcakes--one version had the stars, the other the stripes. I always got stripes, for some reason, and I'm still craving stars, because those were white with little red and blue stars, and what could be cooler? Sigh. Whither Dolly Madison Stars?

When asked my favorite restaurant, I used to respond, without irony, "Carl's Jr." I loved everything about it, and it remained a hangout well into my teen years. They had individual ketchup packs like tiny pudding cups, which was super-convenient, and also doubled as a puck for salt-and-pepper-shaker table hockey, always a lark, at least until someone's white Izod shirt got splattered in a too-enthusiastic defensive block. Does anyone else remember that the kid-sized cheeseburgers in those days--this was also true at Jack in the Box--had a light-brown sweet mustard-y sauce instead of ketchup? It was the most delicious sauce; I still crave it, and now no one's heard of it. I just wish I knew what was in it! It was probably sugar, MSG and ground-up mouse bones.

Another big family treat was Orange Julius. I hear they still have them but that the formula is not the same. It was this incredibly light, fluffy shake with a delicate orange cream flavoring. Mmmmm. My main memory of the Orange Julius restaurant near our house is their high stools with pointy finials on the edges--my brother (Mr. Accident Prone) slipped getting off one time, slammed his chin into the finial, and within seconds the place looked like the aftermath of a slasher film. Since we had taken the ferry over, we had to be escorted to the hospital in the back of a police car. I have a video-sharp image of being thrown over my dad's shoulder as we made a dash for the door while an employee ran after us, reaching out to give me an orange-shaped plastic coin bank ("Sorry your brother is bleeding--come back and see us soon!") but my dad was moving too fast and I couldn't quite reach it. I was so annoyed that my stupid brother had to ruin my opportunity to get a parting gift.


Caroline said...

"I liked some of the fruit flavors, but then you'd hit a green one that tasted like licorice which had been sprinkled with motor oil, and it just ruined the whole day."

Hee! My father's favorite was Neccos, so I know exactly what you mean. :)

Mmm...Hostess Cupcakes... I still eat them, alas. Enough to know that the kind that come in the box do not taste as good as those in the two-pack sold in gas stations. :)

My childhood was filled with Pixie Sticks, those packets of sour, colored "sugar" that came with white candy dipping sticks, Marathon bars (braided caramel dipped in chocolate), and those pallid lemonade popsicles that schools always gave us as treats.

Sam said...

Oh, Caroline, you have shown me that I left three out! Pixie sticks (yum) Marathon bars (I loved how the chocolate cracked and broke when you stretched the caramel) and, love of loves (I still love them!) Lik-a-Maid Fun Dip (what the hell kind of name is that?) with those scrumptious vanilla sticks.

I have the palate of a toddler. :)

Mary and Paul said...

Yes, Fun Dip! Debbie Way and I would walk to the store with our allowance and buy tons of candy. Fun Dip was a fave.

And, what about Pop Rocks? I was OBSESSED with them. Just never drink soda with them, or they will KILL you!

O.K. and one more-remember Astronaut Bars??? They were kind of like a Power Bar. Those lucky astronauts got all the cool snacks, especially the freeze dried ice cream!

Great Topic!



Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

"[S]till-fave Mint Chip"
You and Laura love Mint Chip.

What about unrolling Ho Hos? No, not rolling hobos, but unrolling Ho Hos. And if that weren't enough of a True Confession, I will admit my passion for canned Chef Boyardee Ravioli. And who didn't walk to the corner liquor store for Orange or Grape Crush in a bottle? Yum.

Argh, the things I say on the internets.

The Wades said...

I'm with you on that vanilla stick for Lik-a-maid fun dip! Delish.

Post idea--you're on death row or whatever scenario would require a last meal--what would it be? Have you done that before?

My friend and I would walk miles for smarties (which we would sort by color) and candy cigarettes. It's funny imagining our own children pretend to puff away now a days.

dena said... the Fun Dips. Truth be told, I still let my children "pick" them out from time-to-time so that I can selfishly enjoy "just a taste". I think I finally have them hooked on the Fun Dip as well! (Hee Hee, devilish plan.)

OK, there was something else that Hostess made & right now the name escapes was basically a chocolate covered Twinkie. Anyone remember them??? They were good. I'm sure I'll pay for eating them any day now with a massive heart attack, but it may have been worth it.

Sam, I'm with you on the Neccos. I still love them. Highly dislike the licorice ones. Occasionally when I wasn't paying close attention, one would slip by and I'd remember that awful taste the rest of the day.

Alright, now that I'm craving everything bad...anyone up for a trip to Walgreens???

Caroline said...


Were they ? My grocery store has started placing boxes of those next to the registers, and I had to buy one last month. :)

Caroline said...

Whoops, that question was, "Were they Chocodiles?" :)

dena said...

Caroline, Yes, Yes! That's it..."Chocodiles"! Did you love it? (I know it sounds like I should say "them", but actually readers, "it" comes packaged one to a package and was always sold separately.)

I haven't seen one since I was MUCH younger & living in CA. They also had them when we were in AZ, but NM never seems to have anything!