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Foods from your childhood that seem laughable now

The other day, I got to reminiscing about foods from my childhood.  The kind of thing that's more fun to reminisce with others about.  But then I live in Europe, where no one would have the foggiest what I was talking about if I said to them: "Wonder bread" (Lucky for them, right?!)

So I guess I just was just wondering if anyone else has memories of the foods I recall eating a lot of back in the day.  And I was also curious about what foods you guys remember from your childhoods.

The first thing that came into my head(and made me laugh and got this whole thing started) was our idea of "Italian" home meals back then.  Which usually consisted of Creamette pasta, served with corn-syrupy Ragu or Prego brand sauce, and topped with a mound of that comfortingly stinky canned parmesan cheese! My parents were relatively cultured people who had traveled abroad, liked middle-eastern food, etc. so it surprises me some of the things we regularly ate in our household, but then I think it also had a lot to do with what was available then.  Nowadays, in the same grocery stores by them that used to stock only the above mentioned, you can now buy pastas and sauces imported from Italy, and fresh Sargento parmesan.  Which any Italian would still snigger at, but it sure beats the stuff in the green comet-cleanser can....
We also ate Kraft mac and cheese a fair bit, often with canned baked beans or franks and beans.  Also frozen "fish sticks" ...not sure if those had real pieces of fish in them or were just some extruded fish-product made from stuff swept up off the factory floor?  And "tater tots"...I remember loving those, but they certainly seem like another food quite possibly invented to make use of the waste of other food products.
Spaghetti-o's, anyone?  Just the thought of them kinda makes me shudder!
My mom often bought canned mandarin oranges.  I'm not entirely against those, but they were always kind of weird, particularly if you think about real mandarin oranges...

Once in a while, my Mom bought us chocolate Ovaltine.  I think she thought it was healthy for some reason, but don't remember the details on why.  I always thought Ovaltine was somehow vaguely icky.  Maybe it was just the unappetizing name "Ovaltine", or the unsettling thought of it being healthy...(healthy? eew, gross.). But in any case, it was still sweet and chocolate flavored, so I wasn't complaining too loudly.
For a while when I was in elementary school she bought chocolate Malt-O-Meal for us.  It was a quick breakfast she could whip up before sending us off on the school bus.  But somehow she never figured out how to make it smooth/lump-free.  And ironically that became my favorite thing about chocolate Malt-O-Meal; finding and biting into those sweet, gummy lumps.
Still on the topic of things that are sweet and chocolate flavored, have any of you gone back as adults and re-tasted those foil-wrapped hollow brown chocolate easter bunnies and santas?  Of course now you can buy Lindt versions and what not, but if you try the classic unbranded ones, some of those are just awful.  Gritty, don't melt in your mouth; they just bead up and turn into waxy globs on your tongue that you swallow not because they seem food-like in any way, but more just to get them out of your mouth.  It seems amazing to me now with what joy we recieved and ate those as kids, just because they were sweet and festively wrapped. And kids today seem equally undisturbed by their nastiness.

My best friend's mom used to make this thing she called dirt cake.  I think it was basically just ground oreo cookies mixed with gummy worms, but I'm not sure.  I guess that is kind of cute and fun for kids, if you think about it.

Speaking of gummy candies, does anyone happen to remember "pet rats" ?  Oh, man, what a terrible idea! I can laugh till I have tears in my eyes, just thinking about those things. They were these milk-white gummy rats, literally the same size as, or even larger than, a real rat, basically much more than any child would be able to eat at once.  Which means you nibbled it for a while, had enough, dragged it around by it's tail and ended up forgetting it somewhere, where the gummy, partially gnawed and saliva dampened thing would collect all the dust, bits of gravel and pet hair.  Some adult would wash it off and give it back to you.  But only after exasperatedly trying to establish a strict system in which you were to always return it to a designated "pet rat" plate on the kitchen counter when you were done nibbling on it, or something.  And maybe the system would even work for a while.  But you were a kid.  Eventually, you would wander off with it, get distracted and and again leave it somewhere.  And then, months later, while vacuuming, your mother would unearth it from the deeps beneath the couch cushions, half chewed and coated in lint and hair, and throw it away. Yuck!

My Grandma, who was actually a very good cook in many respects, always had Wonder bread and American cheese on hand.  And Velveeta.  And Jell-o, which she made with the likes of the aforementioned canned mandarins in a jell-o mold.  What can I say?  She was of the "better cooking by science" generation.
She also frequently bought those Pillsbury biscuits-in-a-can.
I actually remember thinking, at the time, that those were pretty excellent.
But the idea of ready-to-bake biscuits exploding from a can with a loud pop does strike me as a little sci-fi.
But enough of my recollections.  How about you guys???

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  1. Ecto-cooler, and it was awesome. I'm absolutely positive I wouldn't drink it now, but back in the day, that was the drink.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zitronenmadchen

      I haven't thought of that in years! I didn't get juice boxes much, but that stuff was good.

    2. Velveeta. Velveeta was considered pretty top-of-the-line in Germany in the 1950s (at least among non-upper class people), and Germany certainly has its own cheese traditions. The same goes for the Puerto Rico of the 1950s--Velveeta: wow! Modern! American! I'm pretty sure that jello (or I should say gelatine desserts) are totally relateable for people from various parts of Europe and Latin America, certainly gelatine foods (both savory and/or sweet) are eaten there.

      Talking about ridiculous: Nutella. Yum for kids, but to me it seems like kids' food. And, though Nutella and Wonderbread are two totally different things, a Nutella eater criticizing Wonderbread is living in a glass house I think.

      1. Wax lips...WTH? The mere idea is disgusting to me right now and the sticky sweetness of pixie sticks. Have Mercy! And that slicky taste of Hostess products truly sickens me right now. It's incredible how our tastes change!

        3 Replies
        1. re: SweetPhyl

          Ha, hadn't thought of wax lips for years. Also those weird little wax bottles filled with neon-colored who knows what.

          1. re: Samalicious

            Oh those wax bottles. Of course you chewed the wax right?

            1. re: Goatjunky

              Yes, Lik'm Aids they were called. My list of others: Fizzies. Hostess pies. Chef Boyardee Ravioli. Dinty Moore beef stew. Morton pot pies. Frosted Flakes. Turkish Taffy. McDonalds. Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches. Cap'n Crunch. Slurpee's.

        2. The first thing I thought of was Nuna and Toodles (tuna noodle caserole) made with canned tuna, canned cream of mushroom soup, and velveeta. In my memory, it still tastes good, but I don't know how I'd feel if I tasted it now. Another thing I used to love, that I invented myself, was to make cinamon toast with white bread, and then when the cinamon part was just crispy, cover the whole thing with marshmellows and put back under the broiler until the marshmellows were toasted. I also loved marshmellow cream, right out of the jar.

          1. Swanson's TV dinners - We all thought they were the niftiest idea way back when, and my mother was so pleased to have a night off from cooking.

            Canned vegetables boiled to death. Mushy texture and zero flavor, except for the metallic taste of the can. Despite my protestations, I usually managed to clear them off my plate after being told there would be no dessert for me if I didn't.

            Fish sticks. We had them about once a week. I gladly gobbled them up after drowning them in half a bottle of ketchup!

            Chef Boy-ar-dee ravioli. I looked forward to having this for dinner. Funny that after all these years it's being advertised on TV again.

            Maypo. I thought it was disgusting when I was a kid. I'm sure I would find it just as revolting now.

            Lots of cakes and brownies made from a box. My mother preferred Duncan Hines brand. When you think about it, it's not much more difficult to make these desserts from scratch and get a much better result, but the boxes were really popular back in the day.

            Kool-Aid. I loved the stuff--every flavor. Now I can't get past how artificial it tastes.

            And, of course, Velveeta and the grated cheese in the green can and Wonder bread. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano wasn't sold in supermarkets when I was young and the bread offerings were pitiful compared to what we can buy today. I often asked for a slice of toasted Wonder bread with butter when I came home from school. I remember being in France 40 years ago and listening to people make fun of American bread like Wonder bread while making a sour face.

            15 Replies
            1. re: cheesemaestro

              Maypo. I thought it was disgusting when I was a kid. I'm sure I would find it just as revolting now.
              HAD to laugh at this remark. I've been hunting down Maypo lately and my one source left for this delicious hot cereal is only Shop Rite. They carry Maypo on regular basis. I enjoy it often with warm milk, honey or maple syrup and cut fresh fruit.

              As a child, I had a sweet tooth and loved fruit jellies, raw Jello powder straight out of the box, Ovaltine cupcakes, Fluffernutter, PB&J in the same jar, toasted marshmallows, s'mores, bread with chocolate sprinkles, Strawberry Quik and Chunky.

              1. re: HillJ

                The Vermont Country Store sold Maypo at one point. Their catalog (print or online) is a wonderful place to visit to find foods and other products that you remember from way back but didn't think still existed. I just bought ten rolls of Necco wafers from VCS for a friend who adores them, but couldn't find them anywhere. VCS extracts a high price for nostalgia, though. The products may be just as we remember them, but the cost sure isn't.

                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  Thanks for the info. If the day should come that local no longer works out...I'll be online ordering Maypo. Even my college age child asked me to ship Maypo to France while he studied abroad last year.

                  My one brother loved Necco wafers as a kid. I recall Halloween Necco's was considered quite the score. I was busy nibbling black licorice.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    I wanted Maypo as a kid, and my mother never got it! I didn't even know it was oatmeal, till I bought some last year. I thought it was like Cream of Wheat, only maple flavored. As I've moved on to steel cut oats these days, I've been throwing the Maypo (and the chocolate Malt-o-meal) into granola bars. It's just too sweet for my taste now.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Necco wafers are available at Cracker Barrel stores, too, along with 2 of my favorites: Zero bar and Skybar.

                      1. re: pine time

                        I have a roll of Necco wafers in my car right now. I dole them out to my grandchildren. CVS has them here in NY.

                        1. re: pine time

                          Zero bars were kept in the fridge at the snack bar at our neighborhood pool. That's the only place I ever had them as a kid, and now I can't eat one without feeling cold, wet and sunburned.

                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                            Same thing--Zero bar from the pool snack bar, and refrigerated, too! Still like them.

                      2. re: cheesemaestro

                        VCS is outrageously expensive. Catalog's fun to peruse, though.

                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                          Couldn't agree more on VCS prices. A couple of year back they carried Bon Ami for $3.99 per can. The same size at my local supermarket was $0.89.I guess others discovered this disparity, too, because the no longer carry it.

                          The only time I order from them is if I can't find it somewhere else and I can't live without it.

                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                            If any of you live within striking distance of Cincinnati, you can find lots of nostalgia items at Jungle Jims in Fairfield, OH. However, I have yet to be thrilled with anything I bought, especially in the candy dept. It all tastes so artificial. And be careful of what you buy from Vermont Country Store, they sell Pear's soap, 3 bars for $14.95 + shipping. Dollar Tree sells it also, for, you guessed it, $1.00 a bar.

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Hannaford supermarkets carry Maypo. I didn't eat it as a kid, but I bought it on a whim last winter and actually liked it, once I got past the ground-up oatmeal texture. It only has a little maple flavor and isn't very sweet. I put mixed dried fruit and some chopped nuts on it (like you get with Starbucks oatmeal if you've ever had that). I'll probaby buy another box this winter.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Haven't seen a Chunky in years. I loved those!

                            2. re: cheesemaestro

                              If my parents went out, we got a swansens frozen dinner. And we got to pick. Funny how it was so cool. I recently bought some ceramic plate replicas of the trays becase of the nostalgia

                              1. re: Goatjunky

                                Yes! Even when some of the peas and carrots got into the mashed potatoes or apple cobbler.

                            3. Manchurian peekie toe crabs braised in a Peruvian tamarind and guava nectar reduction, topped with sea urchin foam and Gambian passionfruit aioli. All organic, naturally.

                              1 Reply
                              1. I can see by some of the posts that I am a wee bit older than some CHers - my 'back in the day' was way back in the day.
                                Our only Chinese food in the east side of Columbus Ohio in the 60's was the double can of LaChoy Chow Mein. My sisters liked it over those hard squiggly noodle things, but my mother would make rice, too, for those of us who thought the crunchy things were not food.

                                20 Replies
                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                  That brings back memories. My first experiences with Chinese food was also the double can of LaChoy. Boy that stuff was vile.

                                  1. re: redfish62

                                    My sil would make a mock version of Chow Mein using the LaChoy double can...and my brother would tease her relentlessly..........vile...........gooey..........odd product.

                                    1. re: redfish62

                                      I just had a friend of my mother's ask (stating that she didn't like to cook like I did) if I had a recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad. The one with mandarin oranges and crunchy noodles. I hadn't thought of that one since I was a kid. I did e-mail her a recipe I found online that looked fairly simple.

                                      1. re: tracylee

                                        Wow, haven't seen or had that stuff in about 2 decades!

                                      2. re: redfish62

                                        Yep. But I loved those La Choy and Chun King mini egg rolls. They disappeared from the frozen foods section only a few years ago, much to my chagrin.

                                        1. re: redfish62

                                          Remember their jingle?

                                          "La Choy makes Chinese food....
                                          SWING American!"

                                          Um, no.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              Oh my, a double entendre? It was the sixties. ;-)

                                            2. re: redfish62

                                              Particularly the egg fu yung. My mom still misses it

                                              1. re: redfish62

                                                My parents still have a picture of me from 1965, sitting in front of an untouched plate of LaChoy grimacing. I'm thinking they bought it because it was cheap, as no one in the family really liked that stuff.

                                              2. re: jmcarthur8

                                                When I finally ate at a Chinese restaurant in my late teens, it was a revelation for me. Nasty, nasty LaChoy chow mein, but I always loved the crunchy noodles.

                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                  I don't know about older, but maybe just regional differences? I grew up in the 60s and 70s, but in Queens. It was all about bottled gefilte fish, kasha, and frozen blintzes, even though mom was from Nevis in the West Indies, and dad from Alabama.

                                                  What company made the frozen blintzes?

                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                    We used to buy either Goldens or Ratners. Dang....it's been many years. I think I have to pick some up tomorrow. The cheese ones, of course.

                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                      Golden's, and apple please! As a kid. I think I want cheese now! And how about that pickled herring. We always had with AND without sour cream. Uh oh.....now I'm craving chopped liver.

                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                        Got the cheese, yesterday. Ratners, but they're now owned by Manischewitz. Gonna have some for lunch, today.

                                                        Herring was Vita, with wine sauce. For New Year's, my mom would get severak schmaltz herring, soak them, at room temperature, for several days, changing the water daily. She'd them cut them up and cover them with a ketchup-onion sauce that she had cooked.

                                                    2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      What, no frozen pierogies, too? I grew up in Nassau, next to Glen Oaks.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        I happened past a Polish church that was holding a festival today. I cleaned up on bags of cheese, potato cheese, meat, meat and kraut pierogies made by the hands of little old Polish ladies. Had the meat for dinner. Yummy. Blintzes are having to wait until tomorrow.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          I can't recall ever having a pierogi. I had those things that kind of looked like bulky knishes, but were filled with some kind of whole wheat cereal. Not my favorite. And halva of various persuasions. Also not my favorite.

                                                          Veering seriously off topic, but I think back in the day, Queens, or at least Jamaica, Queens had more Caribbean influences than Polish. So we had more Chino-Cubano food, and Jamaican beef patties. Are these things we've been describing Polish? I think of them as generic "deli" food, or maybe "Jewish".

                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                            kasha knishes, YUM! Buckwheat groats.

                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                              I'd say central and eastern european, and basically peasant food, not necessarily religious. Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Orthodox, the foods are basically the same, smoked and pickled fish, smoked meats, grains such as kasha, dumplings whether pierogies or kreplach, potato kugel or kugelis, dairy. I've always referred to this as my "soul" food because at times when nothing tastes good, I'll head out to a Russian/Polish/Jewish grocery/deli and get something that sets the world aright, again.

                                                      2. Circa 1960-Lightly toasted white bread (Sunbeam, Wonder, etc) with just the right slather of cold Miracle Whip. This was at least 5 years before my first case of munchies.

                                                        1. Oh, man! This is hilarious! Wax lips! And I loved those wax bottles, and how ready we were to spend our dear allowance money on a few drops of sugar water + food coloring encased in wax forms!
                                                          Wawsanham, totally know what you're saying about the nutella. Considering that in Hungarian, we call the stuff "hazelnut cream" I always find it ironic that the gold standard name brand (Nutella )contains only somewhere around 13% hazelnut, and many of the more affordable off-brand "hazelnut creams" contain about 1% hazelnut, it's the last ingredient. go figure.
                                                          Don't think we ever had Velveeta. Probably in its heyday it couldn't penetrate the iron curtain and then by the time the curtain was starting to get more porous, people had come to their senses a bit...?But I will admit that we have certain spreadable cheeses in foil wrapped trianges and plastic sausage-skins that are pretty processed and suspect.
                                                          Hostess! Just the word brings to mind slick, mouth-coating fillings... And loved hearing about the nuna and toodles.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gracemama

                                                            There was also a rootbeer only wax bottles version.
                                                            And frozen rootbeer popsicles were my absolute favorite thing as a kid.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              We only found rootbeer popsicles (along with the banana flavoured ones) on vacation at my grandparents, as they didn't sell them where we lived, so it was a big treat.

                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                I always loved the banana flavored popsicles! Hated the wax bottles and lips, though.

                                                          2. My father always referred to my mother's dried beef with sliced hard boiled eggs in cream gravy on toast as "skinned indian". I was too young to know otherwise, and I ate it reluctantly, in the late 50's.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              "Skinned Indian?" My mom made creamed chipped beef on corn bread with the hb eggs and frozen green peas. It was pretty good.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                What a colorful anecdote- that's the kind of thing that sounds like it belongs in a memoir or short story!

                                                              2. I don't know if it's laughable, but it's more like "I can't believe I ate that stuff."

                                                                It has to do with candy and the amount of sugar that was downed - pixie stix, fruit punch in the plastic barrels, bubble gum and more during Halloween.

                                                                26 Replies
                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                  Speaking of Halloween, candy corn was pretty nast, but Grams always had a dish of that around, come the season. And this isn't Halloween candy, but anyone recall "circus peanuts"??? Blech.

                                                                  1. re: Gracemama

                                                                    Sadly, yes I do remember those circus peanuts and the thought of them makes me shutter. Yuck!

                                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                                      Cleobleach, can you please, please re-post your other comment on this thread? The one about the gummy rats? I got the notification e-mail about it and was so psyched that finally there was someone else who remembered them, but when I clicked on the "read more" link, your comment was nowhere to be found. :(
                                                                      Maybe some kind of website glitch/malfunction.

                                                                      1. re: Gracemama

                                                                        Weird, it is gone. I don't think I posted about anything that would have caused it to be deleted.

                                                                        Anyway, yes I remember those rats well. I laugh so hard reading your memory of them, I had tears rolling down my face. I remember them being sold at gas stations/early versions of convenience stores (in my area) and you are right, they were so large even the most sugar loving determined child couldn't choke it down in one session.

                                                                        Why was it that they were allowed to hang around the house so long? In my case, it was extreme frugality that trumped parental disgust, which is saying a lot considering my mother's intolerance for germs and dirt.

                                                                        Gummie treats were a staple in the house. My dad always bought bags of those gummie coke bottles that had a cola flavoring.

                                                                        1. re: cleobeach

                                                                          Funny, again there was some weird glitch, it seems, where my "nevermind, it's back !" comment(below) must not have posted until after you'd already re-posted! As to the mysterious reappearance of your earlier comment, I was thinking maybe site maintenance stumbled across our little issue and fixed it...
                                                                          Anyways, loved reading both comments! What a laugh!
                                                                          I've also wondered why the folks let the pet rats hang arounf the house so long(I think it was the "we don't throw out food in this house" sentiment for us.
                                                                          But above that, is the question:
                                                                          What posessed our parents to let us have those things in the first place!?

                                                                          1. re: Gracemama

                                                                            I loved the description of the pet gummy rat being kept in a dish because "we don't waste food" - something similar happened in my house with the giant everlasting gobstoppers that I would get at birthday parties a few times a year at this special ice cream parlor, Farrell's. I think they might have cost a Whole Dollar. It was much bigger than my mouth, so the trick was to lick it just on one side, so you could see the different colours appear and then be replaced with...another colour of candy that just tasted sweet. Actually, it really did have a special flavour, but damned if I know what it was. Probably just citric acid and potassium nitrate. I'd carry that thing around all day, licking it until my tongue was sore, and then leave it stuck to the cover of a Trapper Keeper, getting dusty, and then lick it some more the next day, and then my mum would get disgusted and throw it out maybe on the third or fourth day. I'm sure I never got even close to finishing one.

                                                                        2. re: Gracemama

                                                                          Nevermind, Cleobleach! It's magically reappeared! On my honor, it was missing for some days, much to my dismay! Loved finally reading it.

                                                                      2. re: Gracemama

                                                                        Loved the candy corn but hated them thar peanuts.

                                                                        1. re: Gracemama

                                                                          Those circus peanuts are still around. I happened upon this not too long ago while aimlessly googling: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Ci... . I keep an open mind, but I think this might be beyond my ability to ingest!

                                                                          What IS the flavor of "circus peanuts," anyway?

                                                                          1. re: cayjohan

                                                                            Ooh! What a find. That is a truly astonishing recipe, the kind you can't help feeling belongs in a hall of fame somewhere.
                                                                            As to the mystery flavor of circus peanuts, I don't even have a guess as to what it might be.
                                                                            I do remember hearing that the mystery flavor of Dr. Pepper is actually prune, which would be pretty funny it it were true. Can anyone verify or debunk that?

                                                                            1. re: Gracemama

                                                                              I can't verify the prune thing, but that's what Mother told us when we were kids.

                                                                              1. re: Gracemama

                                                                                My Dad, who grew up in the South, explained that it was like prune cola. I didn't want to try it at first 'cause I thought it would taste like medicine...

                                                                                1. re: Gracemama

                                                                                  Dr. Pepper is black cherry. There's another soda from North Carolina like unto it, called Cheerwine. Dr. Pepper has always been about my favorite kind of pop; my currant fave is Moxie, which should confirm my taste for weirdness.

                                                                                  The marshmallow "circus peanuts" are (artificial) banana flavor. I have no idea why, except that they couldn't find a cheaper flavor; banana was one of the first ones invented.

                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                    Fake banana? No wonder they're so icky! Thanks for clearing that up.

                                                                                    I also like Dr. Pepper, on the rare occasion I decide it's time for a sugary soda.
                                                                                    My Dad told me that back in the day they reccomended serving Dr. Pepper HOT, with lemons, though, which I thought was hilarious.

                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      No wonder Inhabe always hated Dr. pepper. I dislike artificial cherry.

                                                                              2. re: dave_c

                                                                                And our Halloween stash was never doled out by our parents. We controlled it and over-indulged at will.

                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                  Nowadays, parents dole out the candy. I can depend upon parents bringing their children's candies to work the day after Halloween, usually the pure sugar stuff - lollipops, jolly ranchers, candy corns, licorice... etc.

                                                                                  That stuff sits around for a least a month were people pick at it. Eventually, we just toss it out.

                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                    I got wise to the parental confiscation when I was 9, and began stashing half my candy loot in my tree house before I returned to the adult house. I worked too hard for it.

                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                      That is smart and wily.

                                                                                      I was the dumb kid that brought it all in to show off my haul for the evening.

                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                        You are the ant and dave_c the grasshopper.

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          shoot, I ate about 1/2 of it before I ever got home!

                                                                                    2. re: dave_c

                                                                                      Lewis Black on candy corn-

                                                                                      "Candy Corn is the only candy in the history of America that's never been advertised. And there's a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911."

                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                        There's an Alton Brown recipe for homemade candy corn. While I've only eaten the commercial stuff (only when all the good candy was gone), my question to Alton is: Why?

                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                          Why? Because Alton is one eccentric pup, but in a very nice way.

                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                            I made homemade candy corn once, caught in the throes of a mad curious phase. Burned the heck out of my hands while dividing/shaping it, and it took a long time, but the flavor was actually nice. The recipe I used was from Tasting Table.

                                                                                        2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                          If you eat a couple salted peanuts with each candy corn, it tastes like a Payday bar.

                                                                                      2. Tang. I didn't like orange juice and I was actually able to convince my mother that Tang was a viable substitute. Do they even sell it anymore?

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                          The box has been redesigned but I've seen it in ShopRite from time to time. I think it's tied to a specific time of year.

                                                                                        2. My lunches in the 90s, looking back, we're seriously laughable...

                                                                                          Thermoses of icky Campbell's chicken noodle soup, which then and now tasted nothing like real chicken noodle soup (though maybe that's just me?).

                                                                                          Lunchables. We literally died over these when I was a kid. If you had one for lunch you were automatically awesome. Especially the make-your-own-pizza ones, which came with deliciously soggy "pizza crusts", chewy pepperoni, shredded cheese that tasted like plastic and tubes of tomato sauce. The best part was the dessert pizza, with the chocolate sauce and candy. Lunchables nachos were the second coolest. Yum fake cheese.

                                                                                          Lunch snacks were always traded. High value snacks included fruit by the foot, fruit roll ups, gushers, dunkaroos, spice girl lollipops, rice krispie treats, oreos, chips ahoy, ritz bitz, combos (pizza ones were prime), pringles, pop tarts, any kind of character-themed fruit snack, handi-snacks (yum more fake cheese).

                                                                                          Of course, the classics: Easy Mac, Chef Boyardee, Spaghetti O's. Dinosaur chicken nuggets. Fish sticks. Yogurts with the little containers filled with toppings (m&ms, granola, oreos), bagel bites, Trix yogurts.

                                                                                          Seriously sometimes I wonder about how I grew into a functional human being based on the stuff I ate as a kid...

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                            Loved reading this--oh, the memories! Times were tight for my family back then, and my Mom also didn't buy into a lot of the "kiddie food" stuff- but I absolutely remember my suburban friends having the supremely cool lunchables, the gushers and fruit roll-ups, the pringles and the little sticks you dipped in the fake cheese, etc. My school lunches consisted of sandwiches made from thick slices of homemade bread with uneven slabs of cheese and iceburg lettuce, or natural chunky peanut butter that made my lunch mates scrunch up their noses. Lunch snacks were carrot sticks of celery sticks...no hope of trading those for a bag of gushers. It all seemed pretty uncool at the time, but certainly stuff I would still be more likely to eat today.
                                                                                            If we ever got sweet kiddie-cereals, they were always the lame off-brand ones, but my friends' parents bought them the high-status ones advertised on TV, and that was one of the fun things about going to sleep-overs was being able to feast on Trix and Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast. There was one high-end kiddie breakfast food that by brother did somehow talk my Mom into buying us for a while though(he must have spoken in poems to her about it) It was "toaster strudels" with the individual icing packets.

                                                                                            1. re: thelittlemiller

                                                                                              Oh wow...you must be young.My kids had so many Lunches, they would say " Lunchables?......again?

                                                                                            2. I used to love dunking chocolate chip cookies in milk and letting part of the cookie break off. I'd let the drowned cookies sit at the bottom of the glass of milk until I'd finished the dry cookies and then I'd savor that puddle of mush. Not so much. anymore.

                                                                                              I hated Ovaltine as a kid, I was a PDQ girl, but I picked up a carton a couple of years ago when I started cutting out hfcs and transfats. And, much to my surprise, I really liked it..

                                                                                              Peanut Butter and Jelly cohabitating in the same jar. Now, my peanut butter and jelly are neighbors and only get together when the mood strikes.

                                                                                              Milk and Pepsi. Thank you Laverne.

                                                                                              Mayo on white bread sandwiches. Just mayo.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                Ooh, Goober Grape! Indeed.
                                                                                                Was the milk and pepsi actually mixed together?

                                                                                                1. re: Gracemama

                                                                                                  Yes, the milk and pepsi were mixed together. It was a safer choice than swallowing pennies and jumping off the roof. Yes, I spent too much time in front of the tv as a child. Laverne and Shirley and the Six Million Dollar Man were weekly staples.

                                                                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                    Heh! I had constant shin splints as a kid from jumping off ledges and making the neeneeneeneenah sound effect.

                                                                                                    I didn't ever try milk in Pepsi but I adore half-and-half in coke. Same thing, right? You gotta watch out that it doesn't overflow, though.

                                                                                              2. Oh, there are several! First, the Chef Boyardee Ravioli - my brother and I would fight if one of us got one more ravioli than the other. One of my mother's "Here kids, just eat this" meals was canned tomato sauce on pasta with cut up hot dogs in it. Mom's the oldest of a huge Italian family, and she can COOK, but this was a weeknight kids meal. (Looking back now, we were quite poor for a few years there.)

                                                                                                And I swear to god, one of my favorite sandwiches was bologna on white bread with mayo, which I probably couldn't even look at now. (Shudders).

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                  It's funny how you don't really recognize poverty as a little kid. Not that we were dirt poor, but there were several lean years, yet I don't recall ever feeling the slightest bit afflicted or deprived.

                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                    I always thought we had stuff like tuna-noodle casserole because it was the best food in the world, and how lucky that it was something we could afford! It was only after reading a sentence almost exactly like that, but written by Kenneth Roberts about the New England foods of his own somewhat impoverished childhood, that I understood I'd gotten it all a bit backwards. I do still love tuna-noodle casserole, however, and when I fed it to Mrs. O (whose own childhood was not at all impoverished, and never included tuna-noodle casserole) she adored it instantly.

                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                      Isn't that an amazing thing about kids?!
                                                                                                      My (Hungarian) husband's family was poor when he was growing up, and there were long periods of time when they didn't have anything to eat but bread and lard. He says at the time he had no awareness whatsoever that they were in a bad situation, and it was only years later looking back, that he realized how poor they'd been.

                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                        I feel the same way - we ate very inexpensively as a child, but because my mum was such an excellent cook, in many ways we ate better than I do now, even though I am so much better off, materially. My mum would always start with basic ingredients and produce the most wonderful homey meals. I'm more apt to start with something semi-processed or to splurge on an overpriced meal out and then, afterwards, realize I could have done better myself at half the price.

                                                                                                    2. Coming from an Italian family, most meals were pretty sophisticated by today's standards, although being a picky eater, I rejected a lot of what was served to me. However, I have a cousin who had done something that we considered to be very exotic -- she had gone to sleep away Girl Scout camp. There, she was taught alchemy, and learned how to cook something we thought was amazing -- Camp Fire Stew. Essentially, it was white toast covered with heated Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable Soup. My father would have barfed at this concoction, so it was saved for those nights when he was working late and wouldn't be home for dinner. I have no idea why this revolting dish was so appealing: white bread toast, which got instantly mushy under its cover of undiluted condensed soup, but both my sister and I loved it.

                                                                                                      1. OMG! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the pet gummie rat story! So funny and so true. Even the most determined child couldn't choke one of those down in one sitting.

                                                                                                        I just made those biscuits last weekend for the first time in years. It rocked my 6yo's world when I let him do the "pop."

                                                                                                        My parents loved all things convenient and my dad especially was a sucker for "treats" and gave me unlimited access to junk food. Those "coke bottle" gummie candies were my favorite. I can't remember the brand name but can picture the packaging in my head. Another favorite was Delfa rolls, which were sort of hard to find but when he saw them, my dad would buy every single one at the store. I remember a birthday where he wrapped up a huge carton. I ate myself sick.

                                                                                                        I went through Nestle Quik by the pound. Looking back on it, I am absolutely disgusted by the amount I would put into a glass of chocolate milk. My mom must have thought "at least she is drinking milk" and let me use half the tin at once.

                                                                                                        I remember eating Tang with a spoon.

                                                                                                        Chef Boyardee products were HUGE part of my childhood diet. A friend of an uncle of a cousin (on and on) worked at the factory and would pass along the dented cans.

                                                                                                        My best friends mom had a Fry Daddy and would happily fry us tator tots, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, etc. all night long. My own mother would never have put that much effort into food so it was a huge treat to eat at her house.

                                                                                                        1. AS a kid, I loved slathering butter on Wonder Bread and pour sugar on it, squish it down, tear off the crust before I would eat it. It always amazes me how soft the bread was. Now I shudder at the that thought. I use to like Hostess Snoballs, but haven't had one for over 30+ years. Over the years, I lost my taste for the really sweet manufactured stuff. I use to love pouring catsup over everything, and now I rarely use it.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: rinkatink888

                                                                                                            We rolled the sugared bread into balls and said "body of Christ....Amen" before we ate it. Catholic stuff.

                                                                                                          2. Things I ate as a kid, likely because they were exotic to me:

                                                                                                            Kraft Mac & Cheese (I still eat that occasionally without laughing at it first or after)
                                                                                                            Cracker Jack... sweet popcorn... just... no.
                                                                                                            Bazooka gum -- that horrid, chewy, sweet jaw breaker
                                                                                                            all kinds of sodas -- canada dry's wild cherry, welch's grape soda, mountain dew
                                                                                                            and yea -- breafast rolls slathered with butter & nutella

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                              Do you like caramel corn? Like...homemade caramel popcorn? 'cuz if it's made right, it's amazing. But I agree that Cracker Jacks are gross and usually stale-tasting.

                                                                                                              1. re: Maggiethecat

                                                                                                                Yeah, the mass-produced thing kinda factors into that, not that it bothered me much as a kid. I've had kettle corn, which I think has a nice balance of sweet & salty, and I've had higher quality sweet popcorn with chocolate or caramel, but I do prefer my popcorn salty.

                                                                                                                  1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                    Kinda like "zonks" on Let's Make a Deal.

                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                  I actually like Cracker Jack and bring it to baseball games, but I never liked the peanuts.

                                                                                                                  I had a box last week during a baseball game, the box was almost all popcorn with only two peanuts. You'd think I'd be happy, but somehow I feel shorted and sad that it's a major change to the product I remember from my childhood. :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                    Maybe your Cracker Jack was a bum box...I been enjoying a bag the last few days and it's loaded with peanuts.

                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                      A fugitive from the law of averages!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                        Yeah I think so. I've visited the warehouse where the stuff is made and the formula is a source of pride.

                                                                                                                        Here they are on Food Tech

                                                                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                        It was a multi-pack. All the boxes had only two peanuts. It could have been a bum batch.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                          And if you return them to CJ's you'll receive a perfect box, I guarantee!

                                                                                                                  2. La Vache qui Rit, fancy, exotic cheese, it was from France, in wax! In French!... BLECCCHHH.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      Is that today's English-fied "Laughing Cow" cheese?

                                                                                                                    2. I have a cousin who, during the 70's and 80's, would bring a jello mold to Every. Family. Event. This was my dad's Italian-American side, mind you. Thank heavens for the aunties who would do cool things with ricotta for dessert, but for years, it was a jello mold. And by the way, the way kids call Gatorade by its colors today (D'ya wanna red or a blue?), we would whisper on the way in , Green or Red, not lime or cherry.

                                                                                                                      I remember an "Ambrosia" salad with the red jello, and pineapple, and I think Cool Whip. Not bad. Then There was a very bad experience with the green that had colored mini marshmallows, green grapes, carrots and canned pears.

                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                        (looking sheepish)
                                                                                                                        I still love jello salad! I made one today. Sugar-free red with cherries, strawberries, bananas, grapes and a layer of sour cream in the middle.
                                                                                                                        ( I'm on Weight Watchers. Real desserts are verboten.)
                                                                                                                        And I love the little marshmallows, but didn't use them today. Wonder if I love jello salads because I didn't get to have them as a kid?

                                                                                                                        1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                          Oh, JM, I've been at WW goal for over 6 years and real desserts are REQUIRED! Have a great very low points chocolate amaretto cheesecake recipe, if you'd like.

                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                            Yes, please. Hubby and I both love cheesecake. He's making us a ricotta cheesecake tomorrow - says it is less sweet.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                              Here 'tis. Under the old points, for 12 servings, came to 2 pts. I don't have recipe builder to see the new P+, but expect it to be reasonable (NI: 99 calories, 2 g. fat, 1 g fiber, 50 mg calcium. Don't have the carbs for the P+ calculation). Friends never know it's a WW recipe:

                                                                                                                              It's not a tall cheesecake, but for a WW cheesecake, a good chocolate fix.
                                                                                                                              Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

                                                                                                                              6- 2 1/2" chocolate graham crackers, crushed (3 whole sheets)
                                                                                                                              2 1/3 c. part skim ricotta
                                                                                                                              4 oz. non fat cream cheese (I rarely use this, but the nf works here)
                                                                                                                              1/2 c. sugar
                                                                                                                              1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
                                                                                                                              1 egg
                                                                                                                              3 Tbl. flour
                                                                                                                              2 Tbl. Amaretto (an extra splash never hurts)
                                                                                                                              1 tsp vanilla
                                                                                                                              2 Tbl. chocolate chips

                                                                                                                              Oven to 300. Spray 8" springform pan. Sprinkle in crumbs.
                                                                                                                              Puree ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, cocoa, egg, flour, Amaretto & vanilla. Stir in chips.
                                                                                                                              Pour over crumbs. Bake about 1 1/2 hr (no need for water bath). Cool on rack completely (will crack). Refrigerate 3 hours. Eat. Smile. If I'm serving for non-WW skinny folks, I add a dollop of whipped cream with a bit of almond extract & chocolate shavings.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                Thanks, pine time! Hubby is going to make your recipe today, instead of the regular ricotta cheesecake.
                                                                                                                                Though I hate to make substitutions in a great recipe, we don't have amaretto , and can't buy it on Sunday, so I will have to use some almond extract and some liquid to sub for the 2 tbs. Any non alcohol suggestions?

                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                  pine time, DH made the Chocolate Cheesecake - it was delicious! I figured the points with PP, and that came to 4 each (12 servings). Since dinner was salad and grilled fish, we chose to cut the cheesecake into 8 slices instead, so 6 PP each. Plus I had whipping cream in the fridge, so I whipped some up with almond extract and a little sugar. I don't even want to remember the points on that.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                    So glad you liked it, even without the Amaretto (did you end up using almond extract instead?) 6 P+ for a nice, large size isn't bad at all. I've made it numerous times, and it's a keeper.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                      He did use almond extract, and that was a nice touch. We discussed next time making a crushed walnut crust, and leaving out the almond flavor so the walnuts are more dominant.

                                                                                                                        2. I'm not from the Northern hemisphere so probably a lot of you don't that "fairy bread" was THE lunch to have in the early - to mid 80's. Fairy bread, so magical. My horrid mother would not allow me to have it, though, because it had no nutritional value according to her. And I thank her now but white bread, butter and sprinkles always look so alluring to an 8 year old.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: dilemma

                                                                                                                            I'm well past 8, and I bought sprinkles so I could try it!

                                                                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                              These were favorites of mine as a kid. Loved the peanut butter best! Such a treat to see them in my lunch.

                                                                                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                Used to love those! The only reason I stopped eating them is because they stopped making them.

                                                                                                                              2. "Tuna Helper", for those weeks when we couldn't afford meat for Hamburger Helper. "Magic Bars", made of coconut, chocolate and something else (Graham crackers?) which were actually delicious. Always had lots of damaged Suzie Qs and Twinkies in the house because Dad worked at the Hostess factory (sometimes). Also, Carnation Instant Breakfast drink (chocolate) because I hated eating in the morning.

                                                                                                                                1. Patio frozen Mexican dinners. I loved those when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                    I loved those cheese enchilada dinners where all you got was six enchies in an aluminum tray. Alas, I haven't seen them in many a year.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                      I wish I could get my hands on some of the old Rosarita mini tacos. We used to call them "dog food tacos", but something about the almost-too-crisp edges of the shell and the gooey meat inside still calls to me. Why, I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                    2. You know those bite size pizza "rolls" that are always touted in commercials as food for hungry teens/after school snacks? Does anyone remember the frozen mini egg roll version of those? More than one New Year's eve, when my dad was working the 2nd or 3rd shift, my mom and I would ring in the New Year with those, a ginger ale, and Dick Clark.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                        We did the same thing in our family home and Mom made "Shirley Temples"....oh gosh I haven't thought about that in years!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                          Yes I do. My mom would stock up on those egg rolls when on sale. It was my first taste of "Chinese" food, or so I thought.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                            Shirley Temples...how cool! I know, for us it was "Chinese food" for New Years, on a tight tight budget.

                                                                                                                                          2. Things from my childhood that are laughable seem to be pool snack bar related and things that my mother rarely if ever would buy for me.. but since I was unsupervised at the pool from noon to five nearly every day of the summer, these are the things I’d buy for myself:

                                                                                                                                            Grey-ish hamburgers with orange cheese slices on a squishy bun
                                                                                                                                            Otter Pops: frozen plastic tubes of colored “flavored” sugar water
                                                                                                                                            soft pretzels, with ketchup and mustard on them
                                                                                                                                            Dip –n-sticks a hard sugar paddle and three pouches of flavored/colored sugar, lick the stick, dip into the sugar and lick the sugar off the sugar stick
                                                                                                                                            As we got older, my friends and I would pull our money together and head a couple blocks from the pool to get a hoagie from the Italian Deli because really, the pool snack bar food was horrible

                                                                                                                                            Going back further… any of the ‘treats” I’d make with my easy bake oven (yuk)
                                                                                                                                            Or the “Incredible edibles” creepy crawlers which made gummi bugs (they were awful, but we LOVED them!)

                                                                                                                                            Snoopy snow-cones… barely chunked up ice with (again) colored “flavored” sugar water poured over top

                                                                                                                                            I vaguely recall also getting an ice cream maker when I was a kid that had some powdered mixes that you stirred with water or milk and then froze

                                                                                                                                            Oh…and pop rocks (why?)

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                              "Oh…and pop rocks (why?)"

                                                                                                                                              Because they rock.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                LOOOVED the dip-n-sticks! And pop rocks. The same corner store that carried those also had ring-pops and those candy necklaces, so you could go around sticky and dirty, and occasionally nibble off the necklace and lick the ring. Yuck!

                                                                                                                                              2. I have to admit that I've used the biscuits in a can to make dumplings to add to chicken soup.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                                  I was fascinated by those cans when I was a kid, and forced my mother to buy them so I could bash them against the edge of the table and watch the dough ooze out. I forget where I was, but I had occasion to try that dough recently (I think it was one of the rolls), and I found it incredibly salty.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                      I am humiliated to admit that the pop of those Pillsbury Crescent Rolls cans scared me as a child. I was thrilled by the idea but terrified by the pop.

                                                                                                                                                      As a kid I didn't understand the difference between baking or cooking from scratch and using quickie mixes. My mom made bran muffins, brownies, cakes, Jello and more from mixes, yet made some types of cookies from scratch. My sister and I loved all of those items fairly equally, then. Today, I would seek out "from scratch" recipes for any of those items, should I want to make them. There's simply no reason in my mind to use the mixes. The ingredient list alone on those packages is enough to keep me away.

                                                                                                                                                      We happily drank Tang, Tab, Old South concentrated frozen orange juice and lemonade, ate popsicles and Mr. Freeze frozen treats, Lolas (which were large frozen sugar water treats in tetra pak material), Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies (from the tube), Reddi-Whip, Zoodles, Campbell's soups, Nestle's Quik, microwave popcorn, Imperial Margarine and later Becel, Lean Cuisine frozen diet dinners and many other convenience items that I now find abhorrent.

                                                                                                                                                      My parents still lean on convenience foods, such as frozen pizzas, microwave popcorn, instant mashed potatoes, bottled salad dressings and Kraft Dinner (mac n'cheese). The last times I nuked a bag of popcorn and ate the KD I was startled at the lingering chemical taste after each bite. You really can become accustomed to anything, to the point that you enjoy and even crave it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. My elementary school cafeteria used to serve something called a "pizza burger." I think it was a hamburger roll topped with ground beef, tomato sauce and American cheese. It was one of the most popular cafeteria items.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                                      Hah! I recall us having to make those in our "home economics" class in middle school. That was the class where we were learning "to cook", which is pretty laughable in and of itself....
                                                                                                                                                      Is smearing canned tomato sauce and ground beef on a sweet hamburger bun, throwing a slice of american cheese on top, and then popping it in oven until the tomato sauce oozes into the bun and makes it all soggy/ mushy, considered cooking?
                                                                                                                                                      I participated fully in the assignment of learning the "recipe"(!) and making the things. But I distinctly recall getting into a very heated fight with my teacher because I did not want to taste the resulting product. I felt strongly that I had done my part learning-wise, and that it was injustice for me (a vegetarian already for nearly a decade) to be forced against my will to eat the things. She felt strongly that I hadn't completed the assignment if I hadn't actually ingested the so-called "pizza".

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 4X4

                                                                                                                                                        Oh. This was known as a Pizza Puff in my Catholic elementary school, minus the beef, as a meatless Friday lunch. We ate them. Some even looked forward to them.

                                                                                                                                                      2. As a kid, I loved all the sugary breakfast cereals.Frosted Flakes was a particular favorite. I recall drinking the leftover milk by picking up the bowl and slurping it. One day after I finished college, I was going through a grocery store and I saw a box and was having a Proustian moment as I looked at the box. Had not had it in years. Bought it, took it home and poured it into a bowl added milk and stuck a spoonful in my mouth. It was so sweet it hurt my teeth. Couldn't stomach it. I poured the rest of the bowl down the sink and threw the box out. A pleasant childhood memory shattered.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                          I recently had a similar experience with Frosted Mini Wheat. Look up the word "cloyingly," and you'll see a picture of me, with a Mini Wheat lodged between cheek an' gum, and an aghast grimace on my mug.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                            LOVED Sugar Crisp and Fruit Loops.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Caramel spread for bread
                                                                                                                                                            Cinnamon spread for bread
                                                                                                                                                            Beep juice
                                                                                                                                                            Square Boys and Wagon Wheels (hated them both!).
                                                                                                                                                            Vico chocolate milk

                                                                                                                                                            1. Just remembered, Underwood Deviled Ham! Dare I try it now?

                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                In college, that might as well have been fois gras. Because I wanted it, and could never afford it. Wrapped in paper? Come on.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                  We were a hardcore skiing family and lunch didn't factor into our days on the slopes. My dad considered lunch, hot chocolate and most bathroom breaks to be for sissies.

                                                                                                                                                                  My mom would pack massive food boxes for the car (we had a giant station wagon) and the Underwood ham always made an apperance.

                                                                                                                                                                  She never used a cooler so everything had to keep at middle-of-winter-in-the-car-all-day temps and that deviled ham slathered on rye bread fit the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                  The beer was stored under the car but the mineral water was always warm and I still prefer it that way today.

                                                                                                                                                                  We wouldn't eat until the end of the day, stuffing our faces out of the back of the car in the parking lot, a tailgate party of sorts. I never thought about it then but I am sure we were quite a sight at some mountains!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                  God, I loved that stuff. I haven't had it in years - I'm afraid it will too closely resemble the Fancy Feast cat food we started feeding our cat...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: khh1138

                                                                                                                                                                    LOL. You think your cat might like it?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                      I have no doubt. She has a thing for potted meat products. That and Frito-Lay Bean Dip.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: khh1138

                                                                                                                                                                        Smelly Cat, Smelly cat what are they feeding you? Smelly Cat, smelly cat it's not your fault

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: khh1138

                                                                                                                                                                      In texture only, Underwood ham is definately more pink than Fancy Feast!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                        That's it. I'm getting some today!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: khh1138

                                                                                                                                                                            Please report on the success of your mission. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Beef-a-roni. The first time mom served it to me and my brother for lunch, we took one look and promptly renamed it BARF-a-roni. Then the fun began. I won't go into details but we were both sent to our rooms, laughing hysterically all the way up the stairs. Funny....we never had it again. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                                                                                                        "yummy yummy in the tummy, that's beefaroni beefogetti beefaroni beefogetti, they're both so good"

                                                                                                                                                                      2. My mom had some comfort foods she used to feed me when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                        Spaghetti with butter and Ketchup. This one stings the most, because a friend who watches that nauseating Honey Boo Boo show, sent me a clip where the mom makes almost this exact dish for Boo Boo.

                                                                                                                                                                        Campbell's tomato/chicken noodle soup: Take one can of Campbell's tomato and one can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup and add one can of water, heat until bubbly and serve with plain Premium saltine crackers.

                                                                                                                                                                        Salmon Croquettes: These were disgusting and I refused to eat them, but my Dad loved them. I think the recipe had canned salmon, eggs and bread crumbs, then you pan fried them.

                                                                                                                                                                        Jello 1-2-3: Oh man, this was my FAVORITE dessert. I used to beg my mom to make this for me constantly. It's scary to think of the chemicals that were in it, in order for it to settle out the way it did, but who worried about that stuff when you were a kid?

                                                                                                                                                                        My aunt used to make icebox cake, which was chocolate wafers ground up and mixed with butter for the crust, and then sliced bananas and vanilla cool whip for the filling. I loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mwk

                                                                                                                                                                          ( Jello 1-2-3: Oh man, this was my FAVORITE dessert. I used to beg my mom to make this for me constantly. It's scary to think of the chemicals that were in it, in order for it to settle out the way it did, but who worried about that stuff when you were a kid?)

                                                                                                                                                                          I was in high school when that stuff came out and we loved it, too. I don't know how long they made it, but years later I found some at a Big Lots store and bought a few. The entire label was in Arabic. It still tasted just as good as ever.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mwk

                                                                                                                                                                            My favorite was the middle layer. Jello created a make-it-yourself recipe. I haven't tried it yet.

                                                                                                                                                                            123 Jell-O
                                                                                                                                                                            Serves 4

                                                                                                                                                                            1 pkg. (4-serving size) of any flavor gelatin mix
                                                                                                                                                                            3/4 cup boiling water
                                                                                                                                                                            Ice cubes
                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 cup cold water
                                                                                                                                                                            1/2 cup thawed whipped topping (Cool Whip or similar)

                                                                                                                                                                            Dissolve gelatin mix in boiling water in bowl. Add enough ice cubes to cold water to measure 1 1/4 cups; add to gelatin mixture. Put in blender; cover and blend 30 seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                            Add whipped topping. Cover; blend until smooth.

                                                                                                                                                                            Pour evenly into four dessert dishes. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or until set.

                                                                                                                                                                            If Jello was worried about chemicals, why use Cool Whip for their make it yourself recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                            Bring back 123

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Ahh, foods from my childhood, the '60s, yeah I'm old

                                                                                                                                                                            Pop tarts, unfrosted, toasted and smeared with butter (frosting came much later)
                                                                                                                                                                            Danish Go-Rounds - another Kellogg's product for the toaster
                                                                                                                                                                            Howard Johnson blueberry toasties, smeared with butter
                                                                                                                                                                            Kaboom cereal, Frosted Flakes

                                                                                                                                                                            My mom was actually a great cook but we still ate packaged products because, well, they were quick and easy when Mom was busy and we liked them!
                                                                                                                                                                            Kraft mac and cheese, in the blue box
                                                                                                                                                                            Lipton chicken noodle soup mix
                                                                                                                                                                            Buitoni toaster pizza rounds, frozen pizza sealed in a dough that went into the toaster
                                                                                                                                                                            Beafaroni, yep liked it back then
                                                                                                                                                                            Hamburger Helper, it's so gross now I don't know why we liked it
                                                                                                                                                                            Jello 1-2-3
                                                                                                                                                                            Zarex, fruit flavored syrup you added to water, loved the raspberry
                                                                                                                                                                            Space food sticks, they may have another name but supposedly the astronauts ate them

                                                                                                                                                                            Favorite dishes my mom made from scratch:
                                                                                                                                                                            Albanian mac & cheese (baked with an egg custard)
                                                                                                                                                                            Albanian lakror (similar to Greek spinach pie)
                                                                                                                                                                            Baked noodle casserole with sausage and lots of cheese
                                                                                                                                                                            Hawaiian pork ( made with leftover pork roast)

                                                                                                                                                                            There was also a period of several years where we got Chinese takeout every Saturday night for dinner. There was one Chinese food restaurant about 3 miles away. Cantonese. Chicken fingers, spare ribs, chicken wings, egg rolls pork fried rice, sweet & sour pork, beef mushroom chow yoke, Hon Sue Gai. We really did order the same stuff all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jpan99

                                                                                                                                                                              "Zarex, fruit flavored syrup you added to water. . ."

                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, it's probably been 40 years since I've heard the name "ZaRex"! I'd completely forgotten about it. I liked several flavors. We'd often mix some up and put it in a jug for picnics.

                                                                                                                                                                              Apparently it's being manufactured again: http://zarexusa.com/

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jpan99

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, my brother, sister and I LIVED on those Buitoni Toaster Pizzas! I to this day will peruse the frozen pizza section in every grocery store to see if SOMEONE got smart and made em again!

                                                                                                                                                                                Tough to get them just right, though- they were usually either burned or still a little frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                                ~sigh~~~ I miss those little beauties.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. The main thing that comes to mind are breakfast cereals with hard little marshmallows in them.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I just LOVED your description of the hollow Easter rabbits in foil- every single word rang so true I could almost taste them! I still love the chocolate covered marshmallow ones, though, bur I doubt that's realy chocolate on the outside. More like a thin layer of Bakelite. They're still something I crave.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                    Last year I had a bagful of generic chocolate pumpkin-decorated candies left after Halloween, and thought yee-haw, I have a private stash! Had one--just awful, gritty, no chocolate taste. Had to toss the private stash.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: budlit

                                                                                                                                                                                      Plus one on tang. I tried that again and was surprised that if you follow the directions it is so sweet it makes me make a face. Loved it alot as a kid and made it stronger than the directions back then. Oh, my teeth hurt thinking about it. It strangely tastes like one of the blue Gatorade flavors. It took me a while to make the connection because the blue color kept throwing me.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. i used to always want my parents to buy me kid cuisine - what a great marketing ploy that was!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. LOL! I have many of the same memories!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. hamburger helper, ravioli, spaghetti o's, peanut butter with peanuts lol!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sundayegirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            Fortunately, my mother is a great cook and insisted on home cooked meals every night. For most of my life, I was jealous of my friends who routinely would have hamburger helper and spaghetti o's. For years, I would get very angry with her when she refused my insistence to make hamburger helper. When I was about 14 years old she eventually gave in and then I had to thank her for keeping me away for so many years. I could barely eat 4 bites and it was quickly replaced by home-cooked meal waiting in the wings. I've never tried it again, though I guess it's always in the back of my mind to give it another chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Circus Animal cookies--with the white and pink frosting and sprinkles. I just had them again for the first time in a long time.. and they did not taste as good as I remember. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree that they aren't as good as they used to be. I think it was the hydrogenated shortening that made them so good in the past (and the same goes for other store-bought cookies.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jjw

                                                                                                                                                                                                I even tried a 2nd brand: still not good. In fact, "Mother's" version is so hyper-magenta, I wondered if they were (in fact) edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. As a Jewish person might say they kept Kosher, we pretty much kept Italian, so anything else was very glamorous to me. When my father had to work late or over a weekend, one of the biggest treats was to have Campfire Stew, a recipe taught us by a cousin who had gone to Girl Scout Camp. Essentially, it was heated and undiluted Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable Soup that was poured over white toast. I thought it was so exotic.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Do you remember the little glass jars of shrimp cocktail with the lid you pried off with a church key? I always had to get one and thought i was so fancy. My mom had a ton of the jars and gave us juice in them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Goatjunky

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh yes, I thought they were so special. But I tried them again a year or so ago and they were nasty. The shrimps were tiny, hard and grey. Some things are best left as memories, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, best a memory. That's how I felt about those little paper wrapped cans of Underwood deviled ham.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just had some of the deviled ham the other day and thought it was great. I had it on crackers with hot sauce.But then again, it was rare in my house when i was a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glad it was good! I didn't get to try it until college, and don't remember it happening often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Most of my usual suspects have already been mentioned. Mom would get big cans of the plain Chef Boy R Dee spaghetti and add hamburger. If we didn't have garlic bread we'd broil hot dog buns covered in butter and garlic powder in the oven as a side. Hamburger helper and tuna helper. My least favorite was the dreaded "minute steaks." Always overcooked and tough. Definitely had the white bread with butter and sugar. Had Ritz or Club House crackers slathered with butter at Grandma's house. Grandma always had those circus peanut candies as well as a mix of those Brach's candies you buy by the pound at the feed store. Jell-o, usually orange with grated carrots inside was a staple dessert. I occasionally was allowed to make Jell-o (plain), let it half set up then beat the heck out of it with an egg beater so there was a big frothy foam on top. Was quite posh!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Drinks were Tang, Kool-Aid, Nestle Quick (not the horrible strawberry flavor) and Carnation Instant Breakfast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Summer pool food was Lik' N' Dips, Pixie Sticks, Bottlecaps and Gobstoppers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  To this day I still have a soft spot for Gobstoppers, Cheez Whiz and occasionally get a craving for Carnation Instant Breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bologna, spray cheese and sweet pickles on Ritz. Does it get any better?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bologna with yellow mustard on white bread. Sometimes just bologna rolled up with mustard and eaten out of the frig.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll see your bologna with mustard on white bread, and raise you to add a bag of Frito's between the bread. Now that's good trash eatin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I would have gone for pringles or Doritos, I will be happy to mush some Fritos right on in there with my yellow mustard!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have Bottlecaps, Gobstoppers and Carnation Instant Breakfast in my cupboards right now. Yes, I have the palate of a twelve year old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would not turn up my nose at any of those items, and have probably had bottlecaps and gobstoppers (the small ones) in the past year. I do get Carnation cravings. I can usually tamp them down with milk or milk with chocolate protein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now if you have some Nerds and some Pop Rocks I will be stopping by later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am a five minute walk to some pop rocks. We have to start with the Oscar Mayer and French's mustard straight from the fridge and work our way up to pop rocks

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Condensed milk straight from the tin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Beans on toast (though I suspect my brother still eats it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chatsworth

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Beans on toast -- you must be in the U.K.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was having it in the 50's and 60's during the summer in southwest Michigan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same time frame in central New Jersey except, for me, it was cold B&M baked beans on white bread with Miracle Whip and lots of black pepper. Now and then, I still indulge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I live in the States (though you can actually get Heinz beans at my local supermarket) but grew up in the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Space Food Sticks -- certainly worth a laugh these days.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think they may have been the most expensive tootsie rolls ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, the candy that ate up my allowance every week! I gobbled up tangy taffy, Jolly Rancher sticks, Nerds, Gobstoppers, Fizz candies, Pixie Stix, all the weird wax things, jawbreakers, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate bars of all kinds (except Big Turk), bubblegum of all kinds, except Thrills, all the penny candy (Big Foot, Hot Lips, Green Thumbs, sour keys, gummy worms, etc. Funny that I hated the cola bottles and black licorice then, but would eat them now. I also hated chocolate with nuts or raisins in them, but would probably also eat them now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm still not a fan of chocolate with raisins in it, but oh, give me a pound of chocolate covered peanuts, and I'm in piggy heaven. Even tho' it is the lowest grade chocolate extant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I posted Space Food Sticks further down the thread. I was a space program junkie (which caused me all kind of problems in school, believe it or not). Space Food Sticks and Tang was my idea of the perfect astronaut meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Fruit roll-ups!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              What a wonderful substitute for real fruit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Sloppy Joes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pigs in a Blanket

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Canned pineapple & cheddar cheese sandwiches on white bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Others have mentioned all of the usual suspects like Chef Boy Ardee and such.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I was a kid my favorites were as follows:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Balogna, pickles, and mayo. My Mom would buy a big hunk of balogna , cut it into chunks and put it in the blender with chopped dill pickles and mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Egg noodles and cottage cheese. My Mom would boil egg noodles. She would melt a copious amount of butter in another pot and add the cottage cheese with salt and pepper. She would add the noodles and mix it together. It is still my goto comfort food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For Christmas my Mom would make the muffin tin cheesecakes with the Nilla wafer bottoms and the cherry pie filling toppings. I used to crush up the leftover Nilla wafers and pour milk on them .