Tastes of the Past…

Two days ago, I made what is known in our family as “Aunt Jerry’s Green Salad.”  Apparently, a lot of other American families know about Aunt Jerry’s salad too…it’s a mix of Jello pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, Cool Whip, and miniature marshmallows.  I like to put my Green Salad in the freezer…it increases the yumminess factor (some people use coloured marshmallows – I find they taste odd).

"Green Salad" (this one is made with pineapple chunks, which is slightly sacrilegious)...

Here are some other foods I remember from childhood:

1. Cherries.  These were red candies shaped like cherries (go figure!) which were similar to jelly beans.  Every week, I would take my 15-cent allowance to our local store, and watch as the proprietor doled out 45 cherries with his gasoline-soaked fingers into a small paper bag (I’m still alive to tell about it 40 years later!).  Cherries are tough to find now, although Allen’s makes a sour version (yuck!).

My allowance wasn't big enough to buy this many cherries!

2. My Grandad’s Swiss steak…he cooked all the meals at my Grandma’s house.  I really wish that recipe had gotten passed down before he died!  It melted in your mouth, and the sauce was divine!

Grandad's Swiss Steak looked something like this...

3. Chunky.  When I was eleven, my brother and I shared a paper route.  I stopped every day at a gas station and bought myself a Chunky bar as a reward for my hard work.

Chunky in its foil wrapper...

4. Chef Boyardee pizza.  That’s the only kind of pizza we had at home in the ’60’s!  When I think about it now, I don’t think we really realized how awful it was!

Pizza in a box...ewww!

5. Macaroni and cheese.  Not the stuff that comes in a box, but the real stuff…the kind that is creamy and gooey all at the same time!  I’m glad my mom showed me how to make proper cheese sauce.

How macaroni and cheese should look...

6. Beechnut gum.  It came in thin sticks…my favourite flavour was orange.  I also liked Wrigley’s Doublemint gum.  Remember the TV ads with the twins?

An ad for my favourite chewing gum...

7. Popsicles.  Our local store sold them for 7 cents in the early ’70s.  I went back and forth between root beer and chocolate flavours.  We also used to save the sticks, and make our own popsicles with Kool-Aid (another childhood memory).  My brother and I used to set up a Kool-Aid stand out by the road whenever we were strapped for cash (which was most of the time!).

Popsicle logo...no other brands would do...

We never got to buy the kind with sugar already in it...

8. Half Moons.  I think I bought a chocolate milk and a chocolate Half Moon for lunch in the cafeteria every day of Grade Eleven…I could eat anything I wanted when I was sixteen!

This is the vanilla version...a lot of my friends called them "Lune Moons" not realizing that the label was bilingual...

9. Root beer floats.  We always made these at my Grandma’s.  Hires Root Beer is the best kind to use…it’s not as sweet as other brands. 

My kind of float...lots of ice cream!

10. Powdered milk.  Mom used to mix real milk in with it, but it was still gross!  I won’t ever drink that again.

We used to buy the BIG box of powder...

11. Chocolate chip cookies.  My mom could make them without a recipe…just eyeballed the ingredients.  They never lasted long…we felt the need to eat them three at a time!  She used to lay them out on paper towels on the kitchen table to cool, then store them in empty bread bags.

These look like Mom's...

12. Bologna.  Another food I refuse to eat now, unless it’s fried!  Bologna sandwiches were my school lunch for many years.

There was no such thing as a resealable package then...

13. Sugar pies.  My mother would take leftover pastry dough, put it in small foil pans (from pot pies), and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon.  My brother and I would have our own personal little pies.

14. Cracker Jack.  I loved it, but the prizes sucked!

Cracker Jack used to come in a box...

15. Milk Duds.  I used to suck all the chocolate off them before chewing the caramel…it’s the only candy I’ve ever liked that sticks in my teeth!  I picked up a big box on my last visit to the States, and my kids found it…gone!  Talk about upset!

Milk Duds...

16. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Mom used to wrap them around hot dogs to make “Pigs in a Blanket.” That was one of our favourite suppers.

Pigs in a blanket...

17. Tapioca pudding.  That was dessert a lot of nights…not a popular choice for me!

Tapioca...not a fan...

18. Yellow Dog.  My dad made breakfast every morning when I was a kid.  “Yellow Dog” is rice cooked with raisins.  It is served with milk, butter (making it yellow), and brown sugar.

19. Bazooka bubblegum.  I went through a brief phase when I was about ten that involved chewing a lot of bubblegum…I soon grew out of it!  I did enjoy the process of blowing bubbles, but ended up with gum in my hair on more than one occasion!

You can see the comic through the wrapper...

20. Tomato patties.  This was something my mom used to make for supper.  It was a can of tomatoes mixed with egg and some cracker crumbs, mashed together into patties, and fried.  Yummy!

Mom's tomato patties were flatter than these...

21. Cheese balls.  These were at every family reunion we ever attended.  I like cheese, but they were never something I made a beeline for!

Cheese Ball...

22. Hershey bars.  The candy drawer my Grandad had always had mini Hershey bars in it.

Hershey bar...

23. Habitant pea soup.  We ate that for supper, a lot!  I liked it, but the colour and consistency were really not that appetizing.

See what colour it is?

24. Orange/lemon slices.  The candy dish at Grandma’s house (which I have now – the dish, not the house) always had orange/lemon slice gumdrops in it.  I still fill it with those at Christmas time.

Gummy Oranges/Lemons...

25. Candy corn.  It was one of my mom’s favourite candies.

Mom ate this all year round...

What foods remind you of childhood?


Filed under food, memories

8 responses to “Tastes of the Past…

  1. planejaner

    Oh! I am so hungry now! I used to EAT the Chunkys…let me tell you. ALL. THE. TIME! And that salad! In our family we call it “The Icky Green Salad” which does NOT stop us from devouring it!
    I MUST have the mac and cheese recipe. MUST.
    you have showcased many of my favorite foods, from growing up…my mouth waters…I am having a Pavlov, for sure.


  2. I often think of Tom Thumb Potato Chips. The name sticks in my head more so than the chips themselves. Bazooka bubble gum for sure, cracker jacks (I agree the toy was pretty lame) There was also pop from Sussex New Brunswick, ginger ale if memory serves me. Malted Milk was my favorite Chocolate bar for a time.Can you even buy them any more? Wow! I didn’t know I had so many memories surrounding junk food…

    I have to say I’m with you on the Carnation powdered milk. The only way it was good was with Nestles Quick.

    Great photos again, Wendy!

  3. When my ex and I were in grad school, we would stop studying at 11PM. I would make a Chef Boyardee pizza and add ground sausage (Ah, the life of a gourmet). We would eat the pizza while we watched the news, followed by The Tonight Show. No pizza on earth will ever compare to my memories of Chef Boyardee.

    • Oh, my…I must be spoiled…we have a pizza place here that uses local ingredients, and bakes the pizzas in a wood-fired oven…they placed 8th in the 2009 World Pizza Championship in Italy! Delizioso!

  4. What a fun post! We share so many things in common Wendy. My brother and I shared a paper route too. We would stop and buy a day old donut at the 7-11 each morning as we waited for our papers to be dropped off so we could begin delivering them. The 7-11 was where I was first introduced to the microwave and what it could do to a day old donut. Yummy!

    • We were lucky with our paper route, Jeanne…ours were delivered in the afternoon after school, except on Saturdays…sometimes the Saturday paper was huge, because of all the ads! I first saw a microwave at my aunt’s house in the mid-70’s…they always had all the latest gadgets! Wendy

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