Nostalgia IV

Yep, it’s another one of those mornings. I’ll read something (in this case, it was Harper’s) that’ll get me thinking about other topics, and before I know it, I’ve got 16 browser tabs running, and I’ve forgotten what drew me to the magazine article in the first place. I love it. Free association, literary style.

Today’s side trip went back to my childhood years. As kids of the 60s and teenagers of the 70s, we experienced many of the then-incredible developments in the food and entertainment industries. In particular, I have vivid memories of new toys and snacks that were just so new and groovy (not to mention marketed with total Mad Men hipness and appeal), you just had to bug your mom to buy them — which, of course, was the entire point. Bait dropped; fish hooked. Ching! It seemed like there was a new product every day, hard-sold to a nation with little to no concern for trivialities like loads of processed sugar, preservatives, red dye, lead-based paint, and other sundry contaminants that lurked beneath the shiny, colorful, chocolaty surfaces.

From the “Remember When” category, behold some gems from my wasted youth:

Yes, Mavis and I each had one. And did you know that hula-hooping is now one of the hottest new fitness crazesHow about that. Everything old is new again.

And how about this awesome stuff that my mother refused to buy?

I think she allowed us to get it once or twice, actually. The taste is not particularly memorable to me (I can’t recall it at all, truth be told), and with no refrigeration, it couldn’t have been anywhere near pudding-like in consistency. Mother was probably wise to veto it.

Never got these, either. What could possibly be wrong with sugar-drizzled sugar inside a sugar cone? *thumbs up*

Never had these, either. What could possibly be wrong with sugar-covered sugar in a sugar cup?

I wonder if anyone else's family called this "Kraft Dinner." Although I don't buy it anymore, I still have to catch myself before calling it "mac & cheese."

I wonder if anyone else’s family called this “Kraft Dinner.” Although I don’t buy it anymore, I still have to catch myself and instead refer to it as “mac & cheese.” It was the 70s version of Ramen noodles. When I was in college in ’77, whoever made this in the dorm’s community kitchen was instantly popular.

And I thank my mother for never doing this to us.

A huge thank-you to my mother for never doing this to us.

Do you remember any of these? Over the years, as I’ve waxed nostalgic about foods here at RtB, I’ve found that much depended on the region where you grew up. What are some of your favorite prepackaged food/toy memories? Were they delightfully tacky, tasteless or dangerous to play with, but you loved them anyway? Like Jarts and Chuckles? You know — the “adult toy” (shyeah right) that had the words “Missile Game” in the title, and the little squares of sugar-coated rubber? Excellent. :-)

10 thoughts on “Nostalgia IV

  1. Greg

    Ah, yes, the nostalgia of youth! Jujubees, the rubbery like candy available in theater concession stands? Remember those? I’m a bit ashamed to say I used to buy these at the free Wednesday summer afternoon movies at our local theater. I didn’t really eat them but they were great for filling one’s mouth, gumming them around for a few minutes to get them nice and gooey and then spitting them from the balcony onto unsuspecting kids below. Sugar Daddies were also popular. I recall licking them until the tips were fiippy-floppy and hurling them to the main floor, landing on some kid’s butch haircut, the confection wrapping over the kid’s forehead. Most that know me well aren’t really too surprised by this!!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Not surprised at all. You could have said you’d done this LAST WEEK and we wouldn’t have been surprised. HA

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Whoa — I’d never heard of that one (and I see you got the code to work — WP is nice that way!). No surprise, since in 1977 I was a high school senior/college freshman girl. Good ol’ Wham-O — brilliant garbage!

  2. David

    I loved Chuckles…I have not thought of those in years,too funny.

    The thing I remember about our food and snack stuff is that it was all packaged, processed or canned. I grew up about a decade earlier than you Ms Fink so we were a bit before the packaged “just add water and heat” craze. We were definitely the “canned” generation though. I have no memory of ever having fresh veggies other than sweet corn in the summer…seriously everything was canned. I personally believe that canned spinach was the inspiration for the movie The Blob, that stuff was grotesque. I was in the Army before I knew that Chef Boyardee did not invent spaghetti.

    I grew up in an all German household which means we were a roast beast and dumpling family; we had gravy on everything. Our biggest treat as a child was buttered Wonder bread with sugar sprinkled on it…all 7 of us kids loved it. Which was what led me to my life of crime as a 12 year old boy…I became a fruit thief. We lived in a neighborhood that had lots of backyard tiny orchards; apples of every variety (golden delicious my fav), plums, raspberry bushes, currents, strawberries, pears and rhubarb. Everyone had them except us so…I robbed fruit, daily. Single handily I emptied Mrs. Manzers raspberry patch one summer; that score cost me dearly as I had to shovel her 90 ft driveway that entire winter for free. Many times, me and my “gang” got caught up in an apple tree and dragged home by the ear. Man, those were the days.

    Thanks for making me think of all these memories.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      You were a little thuglet! hahaha you make me laugh

      But I’m glad you got to revisit those fun memories. Our childhoods (even though they were a decade apart) were much simpler times, ja?

      And I’m sure Mrs. Manzer forgave you. Shoveling a 90-foot drive in Appleton in the middle of winter, though? That’s a little harsh!!

  3. Mavis

    Great memory ride, Bird! I can remember my Hula Hoop. Favorite thing to do back then. As I remember, we were pretty darn good at it, too! ;-) I also remember my first pair of Go-Go boots. Aunt Janet gave them to me after begging Mother to let me have them. I thought I was the hippest chick in the neighborhood. Good times.

    Oh my. I DO remember that Shake-a-Puddin junk. BLAH! We tried it and hated it. Don’t remember the Caramel Cone, though.

    Kraft Dinner. How many times did Mother make this for us. She made everything else from scratch, don’t understand why she didn’t make mac ‘n cheese from scratch. Yours is awesome, btw, Birdie.

    I agree with you about the Jello thing! I remember Grandma J. made it, though. Gag.

    I remember my first Slinky! Do you remember Mother taking us to “Ben Franklin” store to get penny candy? We were allowed to spend 5 cents, and it almost filled up our bags to the top!

    Thanks, Bird. I love thinking about the 60’s and 70’s. A much simpler time.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      It was a simpler time! I loved it. I have way more fond memories of my pre-adolescence than my post-Wisconsin teenage years, by far. I think when we moved to Ohio, many things changed. I still look back on our BD life with great love.

      I thought Mother took us to Woolworth’s candy counter (??) I know there was a Ben Franklin in what, Zion? But I have very little memory of it, as I was pretty smallish back then, so you probably have it right. Regardless, I remember always being really good on shopping trips, in hopes I’d get my quarter pound of chocolate stars, and you’d get yours with M&Ms. Member dat? How awesome were those years?


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