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General Discussion

Foods from your childhood that seem laughable now


General Discussion 212

Foods from your childhood that seem laughable now

Gracemama | Sep 6, 2012 12:22 PM

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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