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Food Memories

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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!