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Jan 29, 2014 08:28 AM

Old Lunchbox Favorites

I just stole one of my kid's Handi-snacks, the square of cheese with the crackers. OMG! Not only did it taste wonderfully bad for me, with nothing natural in the ingredient list whatsoever, but it gave me a flood of memories of all that lunchbox food from back in the day.

I'm avoiding the requisite carrot sticks and other healthy items....

Pudding in a pop-top can
Donald duck orange juice cans
Hostess fruit pies
Twinkies, Ho-Hos
Goober-Grape sandwiches- do they still make that awesome gross swirled heaven?
Chicken in a basket crackers with the old brick Velveeta, cubed (blush from shame)

Help me remember some oldies but goodies!

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  1. My mom was a healthy and unconventional lunch-packer. I was the kid who'd come to school with a can of sardines and saltines and eat happily, or the one with liverwurst on rye or the leftover eggplant parm. Always celery/carrot sticks on the side, and an apple. Sometimes an oatmeal cookie. Thermos of whole milk, always.

    But ONCE in a while I'd get a little beloved Ring Ding (many similar products, but I maintain the superiority of that snack) or a royal blue juice box of original Hawaiian Punch....or a little container filled with a kid size portion of Planters Cheese Balls...don't even get me started on those...
    So, my big three?
    Ring Ding
    Planters Cheese Balls
    Original Hawaiian Punch

    7 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      Planter's Cheese Balls!!!!! So good. I could eat the entire can.

      1. re: nothingswrong

        Yes. And they have all kinds of cheesy puffs/cheesy crunchies now but none are quiiiite as good.

        1. re: pinehurst

          Totally agree. The balls were the best :)

        2. re: nothingswrong

          Those were always a beach or vacation food for us. My mother would'nt pack something so blantantly junk food. But they are the most amazing thing.

        3. re: pinehurst

          You're lucky if sardines were the most unconventional lunch you'd get. My dad used to pack us halal lunches at a time when there weren't many good, child-friendly halal products commercially available so I'd open my lunch box and find he somehow tried to jam a whole tandoori chicken thigh in there. Or when they started making halal bologna, he thought the red plastic casing was meant to be eaten so he'd make us sandwiches filled with choking hazards. His tomato paste, American cheese and cut up hot dog on a pita pizza still elicits shudders.

          You can only imagine how longingly I would stare at the kids with Lunchables who got to trade their bland crackers and cheese for Mondo or fruit roll-ups.

          1. re: JungMann

            Ooh, that pizza image! You're right. The sardines were yummy, but the smell and the idea of whole-ish fish made me not a favorite dining partner.

            I'm laughing at the red plastic bologna casing. Not funny in the choking hazard sense, but still! :-)

          2. re: pinehurst

            My mom was one of those creative lunch packers too. :-) It was the early 70's and she made "wraps" for my lunch way before tortillas were mainstream...peanut butter and grape jelly or bologna and Kraft single rolled up in a tortilla. "Lunch meat" on a hot dog bun with mustard is another memory. The occasional pudding in a can or Ding Dong would occasionally show up in my lunch. So Snack Pack pudding and Ding Dongs are my lunchbox favorites. :-)

            1. re: Tara57

              Oh yes the Capri sun! I was notorious for stabbing the straw right through the back.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I remember when Capri Sun hit the market - so much cooler than juice in a box.

            2. Vienna mash on bread – canned Vienna mashed with mayo, relish and mustard (my brother still makes this for nostalgia)
              Gushers – gummies with the sticky syrup inside
              Cheese strings (still eat it now once in awhile!)
              Bubble gum tape – waterlemon (not necessarily lunch but I used to take it to school with me!)
              Bagel and cream cheese (won’t touch that now with a 10 foot pole, ate it every day for 2 years)
              The best was the rare occasion when mom would show up with McDonalds

              4 Replies
              1. re: pumpkinspice

                I don't think there's anything better in life when you're a kid than your mother showing up with a Happy Meal at school. It somehow tasted infinitely better.

                Gushers, I LOVED Gushers.

                And the bubble gum tape! Forgot about that stuff.

                I still eat string cheese and bagels with cream cheese all the time.

                1. re: nothingswrong

                  Absolutely! Suddenly every kid was jealous of you and everyone wanted to be your best friend so they could get a fry! :)

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    Gum tape, no. Big League Chew...oh YEAH!

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      The strawberry and the blue gushers were the best.

                  2. They do still make Goober-Grape.

                    I loved the Kangaroo Dippers in icing. I could go for some of those right now. I also used to drink this diet chocolate cherry soda.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: bugablue13

                        I think it was called Canifield's....but I do enjoy a diet red pop every once in awhile.

                        And I remembered those snacks were called Dunkaroos.

                      2. Hmmmm...I ate at the cafetira most of the time, but....if we had a field trip (THE NE Aquarium was the BEST!), I got Andy Capp fries, and for dessert, Chuckles candy.