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Food Memories

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  • Kathleen Jun 24, 2004 04:46 PM
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The discussions about chains, cokes, and fast foods got me thinking about this phenomenom, which I haven't seen addressed here before. For me, there is a whole category of things I like to eat because I remember them as being a great treat when I was a kid. There are some foods that intellectually I know probably don't taste very good, but I still just love to eat them, albeit not often. A couple of examples, for me, are Van de Kamps frozen battered fish filets; and spam, broiled with a canned pineapple half on top, and barbeque sauce over the whole thing. My husband loves tater tots with Lawry's seasoned salt. I was talking to a friend of mine about this. She is easily the greatest chowhound I know, yet she confessed to still loving frozen macaroni and cheese. I'm curious to know if other chowhounds, who generally avoid fast food, processed food, and pre-prepared food, like the plaque, have a (no longer) secret love of some food that you know you wouldn't like if you tasted it for the first time now. And Mr. Taster, for me this is an aspect of our love for some foods that would generally be considered mediocre. I am quite certain I never saw an advertisement for spam with canned pineapple and bbq sauce! Whaddya think?

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  1. For many years when I was a child, my favorite sandwich was Velveeta, iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise on soft white bread.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Judybird

      Hey, that reminds me of another great treat! My mom made a grilled sandwich with cubes of velveeta and cubes of hard boiled egg, glued together with mayo and a little mustard. On wonder bread, of course! Grilled egg n cheese sands. I don't think I could eat that today.

    2. Absolutely! Though most have faded with time, I still get cravings for Nutter Butters, PopTarts and Pineapple Delight.

      Pineapple Delight, for those of you who were deprived as children, is a bag of minimarshmallows, soaked overnight in a can of crushed pineapple. Just before you serve, you fold in unsweetened whipped cream. The sour tang of canned pineapple, the sweetness of the softened marshmallows, the rich cream coating it all... I haven't made it in about four years, but it may be time for another nostalgic indulgence.

      4 Replies
      1. re: curiousbaker

        My aunt made something like that, except it had the exotic ingredient of pistachio instant pudding added. I'm not sure if there were marshmallows or not. She called it a "salad" (hell, it was green!) and put it with the other veggetables at family dinners. I could see my Mother giving me the evil eye as I dug into it.

        Of course, Mother was no saint herself in those days. We got fresh fruit salad rendered unhealthy with the additions of mini-marshmallows and sour cream. I wish I could remember what this was called.

        1. re: danna

          Sounds like what my relatives used to call "Ambrosia Salad"

          1. re: danna

            in my family, that green stuff was called watercress salad. I couldn't stand it, but those were all the ingredients. I remember the name because when I was little (back in the 70s) i got confused and called it watergate salad.

            1. re: shan

              Actually, Watergate salad IS what everyone called the green stuff. I never heard it called watercress salad. Are you sure about that? It didn't have watercress as an ingredient did it?

        2. Olive loaf on Wonder Bread and LOTS of yellow mustard.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sudiepav

            Chicken loaf on wonder bread and then smashed so it all sticks together - didn't tast a bit like chicken but I have yet to find any thing else that tastes like it.

            1. re: Aimee

              Are you talking about Weaver Chicken Roll too????? Oh how I miss that stuff. I dont really care or want to think about what was in it lol, maybe thats why they dont make it anymore. You were able to mush it up, I guess its the liverwurst of chicken. I used to love to put cornchips or tortilla chips and mayo on the wonder with it. Sheesh

              1. re: Val

                Ha Ha - yep that is it - I would add Snyder's chips for crunch

          2. Of course. Swanson's Frozen Turkey Dinner. My husband can't believe it. What can I say? It's probably a once a year thing, best eaten in front of Brady Bunch reruns on a Friday night.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dipsy

              I thought that I was the only insane person who had an annual graving for this. The worst part about this is that my Mother never fed us TV dinners, and could not understand why I wanted it (and only the turkey, nothing else) when she could make me a great dinner in a matter of a few minutes.
              I just had one a few weeks ago, and it is a shadow of its former self. They tried to dress it up, and it just isn't the same.

              1. re: Sthitch

                I agree. It was never the same once they changed from the foil tray to the microwaveable one. The potatoes just don't get that extra crispy "skin". Perhaps best left as a memory after all!

              2. re: Dipsy

                One of my all time favorites, and the fried chicken entree with that apple cobbler too.

              3. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner (the one in the box). I loved that as a kid. Actually, we hardly ever had any processed food in our house. My mom was and is a "scratch" cook.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Seattle Rose

                  I loved (and still eat sometimes w/ salsa and black pepper) Kraft. My mom abhorred the stuff and couldn't understand why I turned up my nose at her homemade mac and cheese!

                  1. re: Seattle Rose

                    maybe it is the salt, or something...but my kids also preferred the box kind to my homemade!

                    and (sigh) they weren't even sophisticated enough to prefer Kraft to the generic brand! :-)

                    as for me, I love to eat canned vegetables (peas, corn, beets, sometimes spinach) straight out of the can with a little bit of salad dressing on top...and they are even better mixed together in a 'salad'! my hubby just looks at me like I am extremely strange......

                    otoh, my best childhood food memories were not of wierd processed foods, but of a few really good meals I had as a kid: like the time we went to visit a friend of my father who had been a cook on a cruise line, and apparently a good one, because I have never before or since had fried chicken with gravy that could even PRETEND to come close.....even thinking about it makes me want to cry in recognition of the sheer perfection of it all!

                  2. Haven't seen these in years but...

                    Rath Black Hawk frozen breaded veal steaks

                    Those frozen chopped square beef steaks that were packaged with a pat of butter on each piece

                    Campbells frozen cream of potato soup

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: HDK

                      >>Those frozen chopped square beef steaks that were packaged with a pat of butter on each piece<<

                      I totally forgot about those! What were they called? We ate those when I was a kid, too.

                      I'm with those who like Swansen's frozen macaroni and cheese -- it has to be cooked in the oven so it gets a little brown crust around the edges, and topped with a slice of cheddar toward the end for extra cheesy goodness. I also still ocassionally like the Van de Kamps battered fish filets, served with the little powdered tartar sauce packet that you mix with hot water and mayo. Good with a side of homemade coleslaw. I probably went a good 15 years without eating either of the above, but in the past 5 years or so, will have one or the other every couple of months, when I'm tired and feeling the need to curl up on the couch and "veg-out."

                      1. re: DanaB

                        When my mom went out, she would leave one of those chopped steaks for the babysitter to make. Were they called Swiss steaks? But I don't really like them anymore. The fish filets are good, though. And when I was pregnant, I had cravings for tuna noodle casserole.

                        1. re: Chowpatty

                          oooh yea, tuna noodle casserole made out of Campbells cream of mushroom soup, Velveeta cheese, canned tuna and noodles. My mom made it quite "gourmet" with the addition of pimentos. We called it nuna and toodles. I'm loving this thread!

                        2. re: DanaB

                          I grew up in L.A. I don't remember the Black Hawk brand but we had Camp's Frozen Chopped Steaks, either beef or veal. Two oval shaped chopped meat patties were packaged with the butter pats.

                          A dish from a recipe that used Camp's chopped veal steaks was one of the first meals that I learned to cook when I was in my early teens. Onion and bell pepper slices were sauteed, then combined with a can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup and some white wine. The Camp's steaks were browned in a skillet and the sauce was poured over them. Fond memories!

                      2. Nostalgia may be the most potent flavor enhancer there is. (And I'm right there with you on the Kraft mac & cheese Seattle Rose.)

                        1. Anyone remember Howard Johnson's Frozen Chicken Croquettes?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Chas

                            I loved Howard Johnson's frozen corn sticks and blueberry sticks; so did my kids - you put them in the toaster. Then lots of butter. Great!

                            Speaking of great, I still love Sugar Frosted Flakes. Go, Tony.

                            I go way back to the original Swanson TV dinners in the '50's - in the metal trays - the turkey and dressing was my favorite. Perfect while watching I Love Lucy or Superman. D.

                            1. re: Chas

                              With the boil-in-bag sauce? Ohmygod I loved those. I actually searched for them at the supermarket last year but no luck.

                            2. Chicken pot pies from the frozen-foods section! No name-brand. Mom always gave me two. Stir the crust into the first pie, and eat it in front of the TV. Repeat.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Browniebaker

                                I'm with you! Swanson's - they had the best crust!

                                1. re: Sweet Pea

                                  Yes, Swanson's was great. Another one for me is Rice a Roni, fried rice or chicken flavor. Kraft Italian bottled salad dressing. Canned cranberry sauce, the jellied kind. Stuffing mix. Pop tarts, preferably raspberry without frosting, toasted lightly with a little butter.

                                  1. re: Sweet Pea

                                    My husband asked me to make my homemade chicken pot pie resemble Swanson's, of which he had fond memories. I added yellow food color to the filling, that seemed to do the trick!

                                  2. re: Browniebaker

                                    I loved those - except when there was no bottom crust - what a dissapointment!

                                    1. re: Aimee

                                      That's why we always got Swanson's - foil container with all-around buttery browned crust. Dumped it out like a pineapple upside down cake. YUM.

                                      1. re: Sweet Pea

                                        Agree. All-around crust is a must. That's the type mom always bought, and even when I make a pot pie now, I have to make top and bottom crusts. You need the right crust-to-filling ratio.

                                    2. re: Browniebaker

                                      I loved those too as a kid; the crust was the best part.

                                      I tried them again a few years back (hadn't eaten them in years) and they're just not the same. The filling is about the same but the crust isn't as good as I remember.

                                    3. My-T-Fine Regular Chocolate Pudding (the kind where you had to add milk and stand at the stove and stir for a long time) with Reddi-Whip whipped cream out of the can

                                      Wagon-wheel shaped macaroni (no such thing as "pasta" back then), mixed with butter, salt and garlic powder

                                      "Chocolate Snaps" cookies dunked in milk

                                      P&J sandwiches (Creamy - never chunky - Skippy or Jif with Welch's Grape Jelly) on Arnold's white bread

                                      (Yes, and I did sing the Jelly Beaner song)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Cara

                                        I always keep some Wagon Wheel pasta (and butter) around for exactly those "comfort food" moments.

                                        Still I'm amused that these days the only Italian companies that seem to still make that shape. Somehow, I don't see my mother ever opting for imported pasta to feed her brood.

                                        1. re: Cara

                                          My mom would make a 7-layer "torte," layering graham crackers and My-T-Fine chocolate pudding in a loaf pan, letting it set in the fridge, unmolding it and then covering the whole loaf with canned whipped cream and slicing it to serve. I loved it!

                                        2. My mom would slice a hot dog down the middle, load on mashed potatoes and top it with a slice of American cheese. Then pop them into the broiler to get the cheese melty & brown. Yummmy!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Pssst

                                            Reminds me of a Girl Scout recipe - slice the dogs down tthe middle, stiff with cheese pieces, wrap with a slice of bacon, and put in the oven until the bacon is cooked.

                                          2. p
                                            Passioante Eater

                                            Your question is great. I like to think I'm a great cook who searches out the best produce and organic meats, but here are my secret indulgences:

                                            Kraft macaroni and cheese (the blue box). I actually must confess to disliking any "gourmet" homemade mac and cheese. The blue box was my friend when I was famished after swim practice in high school. I think it is associated with joint feelings of accomplishment and indulgence.

                                            Frozen ding dongs are my comfort food when I am really depressed. When frozen they have a crackling chocolate outside and a firmer "cream" filling. This is something I could NOT have when I was growing up, so I think I like them because they are forbidden fruit!

                                            1. Most of the food of my youth is lost. Weaver Chicken Roll, Sara Lee Brownies, Sunshine Peanut Butter Wafers (the square ones). Buitoni toaster pizza, anyone remember? I emailed the company and they said they never carried that product. I favor Mrs. Pauls and my kids will only eat Kraft Mac.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Val

                                                I remember the Buitoni toaster pizzas. Sometimes when they popped up they were still cold in the middle. Do they still make those?

                                              2. Gauchos..... a peanut butter filled crunchy cookie that I think was baked by Kleeblers. The Girl Scouts had a similar cookie for a few years but alas nomore.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Letsplay1

                                                  Well, they have one but it bears no resemblance to a gaucho anymore. Alas.

                                                2. My mother wanted to be a scratch cook, but I think it was too hard with six kids, each a year apart! So she was a pioneer of what I think they call "quick scratch" (?), with canned soup being the most important ingredient. My favorites were chunks of chicken cutlet in Campbell's cream of mushroom soup over Jiffy cornbread; and shrimp in Cross and Blackwell shrimp bisque over rice. Her secret ingredient in all these dishes was a liberal dash of cream sherry!! That could very well be why I liked it so much, seemed so exotic. She was also big with Pillsbury crescent rolls, take leftover turkey or whatever, mix with some cream chees and spices to fill, roll in melted butter and breadcrumbs and bake. Yummy!My father was actually a better cook, and one of his specialties was Campbell's tomato soup, made with half milk and half water, with lots of wide noodles in it. The most satisfying meal in the world to me and all my brothers and sisters to this day.
                                                  On a similar note, I've always noticed that of the best chefs I know, if you ask them their favorite food, it is NEVER something upscale, it's either White Castle, chicken wings from a certain local joint, Kraft mac and cheese, etc. At least in my experience. I guess if you look at the fancy stuff all day, you can loose your taste for it.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: coll

                                                    Campbell's cream of shrimp soup used to be my default seafood sauce. Haven't seen it in years. --Too bad, it was very useful (and nobody knew what it was unless I told them) ;-).

                                                    1. re: Sharuf

                                                      Seriously? I dont remember exactly why I ended up stopping in a store in a spanish neighborhood a few months ago, but spied a can of the Cream of Shrimp. Still dont know what to do with it. Theres a recipe for shrimp dip on it, probably saving it for that.

                                                  2. Great post. Kraft M&C, chicken rice a roni, the peanut butter and bacon sandwiches my grandmother used to make for me, stouffers frozen macaroni & cheese or noodles romanoff, devil dogs, tuna noodle casserole, Sara Lee coffee cake, pound cake and brownies, yankee doodles...I know there is lots more but I can't remember. When I lived in the midwest for a few years, my then boyfriend and I went on a crazy nostalgia food binge for months. I remember one drunk night, making Kraft M&C with the ghee I had made that day, because I was out of butter and we just had to have it. Wow, that was fantasic! Gained a few pounds, needless to say! My parents were both scratch cooks, and my older brother was veg, so I grew up with mostly very good food. Still, being a kid in the 60s and 70s, I ate plenty of this stuff too. Oops, I just gave my age away!

                                                    1. Definitely Kraft Macaroni & Cheese from the box. I'm pregnant now and during my first trimester it was all I wanted to ease the morning (actually evening) sickness.

                                                      It didn't taste quite as good as I remembered, but it sure was comforting!

                                                      1. My wife confesses to having been partial to Franco American spaghetti sandwiches(!) as a child. She would put the gloppy, orange colored stuff as it came out of the can between two slices of bread (Wonder white bread, of course)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Far Far

                                                          Ahh - that reminds me of pizza sandwiches, the 8 of us would have these before payday when the budget was tight. Wonderbread buttered on the outside, leftover canned spagetti sauce(usually Prego) and a slice of American cheese grilled until crisp on the outside gooey in the middle

                                                          1. re: Aimee

                                                            We used to do English Muffin pizza the same way, I forgot how much I loved them!

                                                        2. The Horn and Hardarts cafeteria (or was it an automat?) in NYC. I loved their crispy, whole wheat powdered doughnuts and their cream cheese sandwiches on toasted raisin bread. My idea of fine dining as a 5 year old.

                                                          And since its summer: marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. We were only allowed to have this in the summer. Time to get fluff...

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Ellen

                                                            Maybe it was Chock'Ful'of'Nuts across from Macy's for those whole wheat donuts.

                                                            1. re: Letsplay1

                                                              You're absolutely right. It was CFON across from Macy's -- that's where I'd get my Easter frock. It's nice to know someone else remembers those doughnuts. They just don't make em like they used to.

                                                          2. I have fond remembrances of the standard balogna and white bread sandwich and of the grilled cheese sandwich/tomato soup combination. And then there were my mom's homemade fried scallops and french fries . . .

                                                            1. In our dormitory dining hall they would sometimes serve what we called "dog biscuits" and most of the gals professed to loathe them. I actually liked the things - they were pinwheels of biscuit dough stuffed with mystery meat and topped with brown gravy. I have an old Sunset Magazine cookbook with a recipe for something of the sort, and will try it when I'm in a nostalgic mood.

                                                              After college, I discovered Swanson's chicken / turkey / beef / (and I think pork) pot pies, and the love affair with those continues. I also discovered Mrs. Paul's crab cakes, which were the height of pre-fab elegance. Alas, they haven't been seen in many years.

                                                              1. A group of us were just talking about this yesterday at lunch.

                                                                One gal said her mom made chick in a hole. It turns out to be what my mom called chick in a nest. Cut a hole in the bread with a glass, then butter both sides, put in a fry pan, crack and egg in the middle,
                                                                and cook, flip over, and cook until done.

                                                                I also remember fondly Sarah Lee pecan swirl coffee cake (frozen section), but don't have much of a sweet tooth any more. It was either that or Helm's bakery french twist donut or maple bar.

                                                                I also remember her making a chocolate pudding cake from a box. Pour the dry mix in a pan, pour water over it, bake in the oven. No mixing. My brother and I are still seeking it out. The closest thing I have found to the deep and creamy chocolate flavor is the chocolate souffle at French 75 in Laguna Beach.

                                                                The spicy end of a pot roast.

                                                                Corn fritters with maple syrup from Henry's (chicken restaurant in Pasadena).

                                                                Kraft mac and cheese is a favorite and I usually make it and indulge when I am baby sitting Angela. But, the frozen Stouffer's is pretty good, too. They have that brand in the hot deli at Ralph's market.

                                                                Cocktail meat swirls - packaged meat spread with cream cheese - maybe a green olive with pimento slice - and rolled up.

                                                                Green jello salad with cottage cheese and celery mixed through it.

                                                                Beef stew with a bay leaf and the bone marrow (that Nana would spread on a cracker for her, swoon, then for us).

                                                                1. My high school cafeteria made something called gloirfied rice, it was a rice pudding with maybe maple syrup, crushed pineapple and whipped cream? Something like that, it was divine.

                                                                  Then there were potato chip sandwiches. Humpty Dumpty chips on soft white bread, Hellman's or Kraft and then smashed together.

                                                                  My mom always kept that Kraft Mac and Cheese on hand, I never cared for it but my siblings did. She made great homemade mac and cheese and I never understood why she kept that around. When she insisted on serving it I always had to doctor it up with lots of fresh cheddar.

                                                                  1. Every 4th of July my mom still makes "meat spread". A hunk of good bologna, put through the meat grinder. Then hard boiled eggs through the meat grinder. Add sweet pickle relish, a little yellow mustard and mayonaise. It's great on those small dollar buns, but I love it so much that I eat on toast for breakfast!

                                                                    Mom bought me an antique meat grinder at an auction so that I could make it for myself, but of course I never do. Only hers tastes "just right".

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: AnnyM

                                                                      My mother used to make the same thing with spam- funny, I haven't thought about that for years. But I used to love it!!

                                                                      1. re: AnnyM

                                                                        Omigosh Anny. I haven't thought of that in many years. My mom used to make it, too. I remember her old-fashioned meat grinder. Actually, they still make the same kind, I think. What a great memory jolt. Thanks!

                                                                      2. Can't remember the brand name but those canned beef tamales - I love those! Kinda crazy as I'm in L.A. and there's fresh tamales sold all over the place including a push cart that comes down my street once in a great while.

                                                                        Potato chips and mayo sandwich Candy? Remindes me of my sister who likes ice cream and chips together.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Rae

                                                                          I'm with you on the canned tamales. They are admittedly way inferior to and nothing like the authentic tamales that are readily available. Still, every once in a while, I get a craving for those same canned ones I had when I was young. If I were tasting them for the first time now, I'd probably not like them. Hormel is the oldest brand I remember. I've also had the Gebhardt and Paramount brands. Not much difference between them.

                                                                          1. re: Rae

                                                                            Yeah, potato chips and mayo, There was also crunchy peanutbutter and Mrs. Fanning's bread and Butter pickle sandwiches. My mother always swore by peanut butter and mint jelly. I thought that was pretty weird.

                                                                            1. re: Rae

                                                                              Yes, canned tamales. A guilty pleasure. I think my dad used to buy Aus-Tex brand in So. Calif. Here in the Seattle area we have Nalley's and Hormels.

                                                                            2. I just thought of something else from my youth...

                                                                              I have no idea where my Mother came up with this but on occasion she would heat up a packet of Lipton's chicken noodle soup mixed with a can of Campbell's bean with bacon soup. I know it sounds somewhat horrid but it actually tasted pretty good. To give the soup some legs she would sometimes put some "coins" of Oscar Mayer hot dog in it...

                                                                              1. This post made me realize there are quite a few foods that I associate with childhood and have a fond attachment to which is way beyond how they taste. I am not sure if I want to try them now, and maybe lose the powerful memories?
                                                                                Supposedly the sense of smell is the strongest connector to the memory areas of the brain. I don't know. All I have to do is think about the flavor of Blueberry Sara Lee Coffee cake, which my grandmother served as a treat when I stayed with her during summer vacation, and I can picture everything about sitting at the table with her, the bauer dishes, the morning radio going.
                                                                                I probably wouldn't be too excited about that coffee cake if I bought one today, but I might, just to see.
                                                                                I have spoken with my brother about some of the foods I remember our parents making for us a kids. The same things I remember fondly he is grossed out by. Not sure what this means....for his therapist to decide.... :-)
                                                                                There are some foods I remember that stood out and still would, like my grandfathers amazing homegrown melons
                                                                                But this is the junk foods list I confess:
                                                                                Chef Boy Are Dee Cheese Ravioli, I will even eat these cold from the can.
                                                                                Chocolate Pudding Cake from a box
                                                                                BBQ potatoe chips

                                                                                1. This isn't exactly a positive food memory but I had a college roommate who was saving up for a receiver so the only thing she would buy with her food allowance was spagetti, margarine and garlic powder. I swear she ate this every night for months! Thank god I was on the (only slightly better) school meal plan. Perhaps we need a worst food memories thread.

                                                                                  1. Those shortcakes that they sell in the produce section beneath the strawberries to make strawberry shortcake. Mom would pour a little milk over the cake to moisten it up, slice a few strawberries over it, then spray on the Whipped Cream out of an aerosol can.

                                                                                    Baskin-Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Mousse Royale flavors.

                                                                                    Homemade rice kripies treats.

                                                                                    Fudge brownies made from a mix.

                                                                                    Kraft Mac and Cheese.

                                                                                    Mom's Chicken Divan which was broccoli, chicken, mayonnaiase, cream of chicken soup, topped with bread crumbs and baked. Mmmm.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                      Forgot one! The potato knishes that came in the freezer in the blue box... don't recall the brand... anyone remember those???

                                                                                    2. Elio's frozen pizzas
                                                                                      spaghettio's
                                                                                      Ding Dongs
                                                                                      Tater tots
                                                                                      Squeeze cheese

                                                                                      1. My dad grew up in Rochester and when I was a kid and we would visit my grandparents at their place on the lake, my grandfather would barbecue Tobin's Redhots and Whitehots. The whitehots were minibrautwursts. I remember that there were all kinds of foods we would eat at Oma and Opa's that seemed incredibly exotic - noodle salad with the tiny ring noodles, Nancy's Mustard, Schweps Bitter Lemon and for the adults, Genessee Cream Ale.

                                                                                        You can find Nancy's and Gennie pretty much anywhere now, but the others, particularly the Tobin's Whitehots have an illusive, Shangrilah-ish quality to them. I'd love to find some and send to my father as a special treat someday.

                                                                                        1. p
                                                                                          peppermint pate

                                                                                          Great thread. For me, it was Chef Boyardee canned ravioli. We never had food like that in our house but a friend of mine did. When we were 11 or 12, she and I used to play this game called "restaurant" at her house. One of us would survey everything in her house and make a menu and the other would be the customer, choose an item and the "chef" would make it. No matter what else she put on the menu - ever - I always ordered the ravioli. One time she didn't put it on her menu and I had to make a special request. Mmmm.

                                                                                          And of course, Kraft mac 'n cheese. I would mix 3/4 of the cheese powder with some milk to make a cheese sauce. Tossed the macaroni in a bit of butter with pieces of a Kraft single, then added the cheese sauce and the remaining cheese powder to finish. Sometimes with tuna. So so good.

                                                                                          Oh yeah, and my mom used to sometimes make this side dish with chicken. She would take canned peach halves and fill them with mini marshmallows, topped with shredded coconut and then broil them in the oven with a bit of oj/peach juice in the pan. Those were great.

                                                                                          1. Here is an American Meat Institute "luncheon meat" ad from 1947 - complete with pineapple and barbeque sauce :-)

                                                                                            --
                                                                                            Best
                                                                                            Greg

                                                                                            Link: http://www.ephemeranow.com/av/av231.htm

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: GEM

                                                                                              Wow does that look, um, good, yea, good! Well, I wasn't born yet when that ad came out, but my mom may well have seen it. The pineapple juice seems to have morphed into pineapple slices in my family, but there's the spam and the bbq sauce, just the way I remember it. Wow, what a find!

                                                                                            2. My all-time favorite frozen food when I was a kid in the 50s was Stouffer's Lobster Newburg. The original version was just a frozen block which had to be defrosted and heated for serving in a double boiler. Big chunks of lobster meat in a lovely, thick, winey sauce. I'd eat it over toasted and buttered Pepperidge Farm white bread. In later years, it was reincarnated as a ghost of its former self - a few scrimpy pieces of lobster meat in a much thinner sauce in a boil-in bag. Now I guess it's been discontinued altogether. What a shame...

                                                                                              1. To this day, Smucker's Seedless Red Raspberry Jam makes me happy; I always have it in the house. As a child, it had to be on untoasted Pepperidge Farm white bread with butter. These days I prefer it on toast with butter. Oddly, I tend to buy "fancier" jams and jellies in other flavors.

                                                                                                Fritos. I don't really like them but, once in a while, mom would make hot dogs (no buns) and Fritos for dinner. Since mom didn't use a lot of pre-packaged foods, this was rarity when she was at her wit's end. Sometimes, Fritos just sound good.

                                                                                                I could probably think of a bunch of other things that I like more from happy memories than because they are all that great, but those two come to mind first.

                                                                                                Great thread.

                                                                                                1. I know this is gonna gross out a lot of people, but one of my most cherished food memories was of prechewed toast and coffee. Yep, that's exactly what I said, prechewed toast and coffee. When my brother and I were little tykes (probably no more then three or four), both my father and grandfather would feed us this concoction. First, they'd take a bite of toast and give it a few chews. Then they'd take a sip of REALLY sweet coffee, chew the bolus a couple more times, and then put it on a spoon and give it to one of us. I don't recall that we fought over it, but I do remember really wanting my share. Now, 40 years later, my mom says she always had to leave the room, and my wife thought I was kidding until my grandmother confirmed it. If I close my eyes and think about it, I can almost feel it in my mouth, and I'm awash in warm feelings.

                                                                                                  The other day, tho, my dad asked if I wanted some prechewed toast and coffee, and I said, "Uh...no thanks."

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                    ok, yes, that grossed me out!

                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                      Oh, I thought it was pretty sweet. Not much grosses me out these days though, what with two toddlers hanging around. ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                        You have to wonder whether that is exactly how our ancient (and maybe not so ancient) ancestors fed their toddlers eons ago.

                                                                                                        This thread brought to memory a little slice of heaven from my childhood: a plain slice of buttered white bread smothered with sugar. A friend of my great aunt would always give me some whenever my great aunt visited her with me in tow. I think I loved that treat more than just about anything else, even ice cream. It must have been the origin of my sweet tooth.

                                                                                                      2. School cafeteria food. Love it! The first time I had cream of wheat, it was in my elementary school cafeteria. I'd never had it and I still remember how incredible I thought it was. I don't have many vivid memories of my childhood but that is one memory that stands out- how sad is that? I also loved the cubed turkey and gravy that the cafeteria served up. I also loved my mom's fried spam and boiled hot dogs. I often long for KFC from the 1970s. My grandmother insists they haven't changed their recipe but everytime I have it now, it's really awful and I recall a crisper and tastier fried chicken in my childhood. Am I crazy? I'll always adore Ruffles and Lays potato chips.

                                                                                                        1. Mine would have to be
                                                                                                          -Hot dog roll-ups made with pillsbury crescent rolls.
                                                                                                          -I don't think they make it anymore but...Whip-n-chill or Jello 1-2-3.
                                                                                                          -Pop tarts

                                                                                                          1. Agree with tater tots. With lots of ketchup. Buttered egg noodles. Campbell's soups with grilled cheese. Mashed potatoes and gravy (my husband makes a killer version with garlic. Old and newer tastes. Doesn't get much better than that). Mac n' cheese, especially with Velveeta. Ice cream with hot fudge. Tuna casserole, which my mom still makes. All of these foods are true comfort foods to me.