Friday, July 15, 2005

Childhood Food Memories

Amy at the wonderful blog BeautyJoyFood has tagged me for a food memories meme. For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept, "meme" (pronounced meem) is an alteration of "mimeme" and is defined by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person." Various memes are always bouncing around the food blog community, usually offering a personal glimpse into some aspect of the food blogger's life. They also give you a chance to discover new blogs.
This meme asks for five food-related things you miss from your childhood. At first I drew a complete blank, but then some amusing, long-forgotten little tidbits began to leap out from the past and onto my notepad. I even started having fun. Although this is a little different from my usual posting style (and I'm not sure if anybody else will actually find these memories amusing), I decided I would take a risk and join in. So, whether you're ready or not, here are five food-related things I miss from my childhood:
1. Always knowing exactly what kind of ice cream cone to order: Blue Bubblegum.
This one's pretty self-explanatory.
2. Five cent suckers from See's Candies.
These were big, square, awkward chunks that you could barely fit in your mouth. They tasted delicious and seemed to last forever--a terrific bargain for a kid at the mall on a limited budget. The hardest part was deciding between chocolate or butterscotch. As the years went by, I remember the price getting bigger and the suckers getting smaller, but you still couldn't beat them. I haven't had one in ages, as I am more of a Milk Chocolate Bordeaux girl these days when it comes to See's Candies. On a lark, I went to the See's Candies website to see if the suckers are still being made. They had some little "gourmet lollypops" that looked as if they might be the diminutive great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren of my beloved childhood treats. Caffe Latte and Vanilla must be new flavors. Twelve dollars for 1 lb. 5 oz.
3. That Mashed Potato Stuff
I love sauces and gravies and food that is all mixed together. I would have done very well in a household that stir-fried everything. But when I was growing up, nine times out of ten, the answer to "What are we having for dinner?" was (literally) "Meat, vegetable, and something else." With rare exception, these three things were never touching one another, let alone mixed together or drowning in a pool of gravy. Not long after I met him, my ex-husband (who is a very good cook) offered to make me and my brother absolutely anything we wanted for a special dinner. We both immediately screamed, "LASAGNE!"
And so it was always a thrill when my mother announced that my brother and I would be eating dinner on our own, because this meant we would get to sit on the floor at the big coffee table in the family room, watch TV, and have That Mashed Potato Stuff. I do not know if this dish has an actual name. I do not know if it was based on an actual recipe. It was a pile of instant mashed potatoes which had a large crater formed in the center. Into this was poured a ground beef-gravy mixture that I believe was made with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup. I absolutely adored it. You cannot cringe until you have actually tried it. This is a far cry from my current eating style, but I know that if my mother handed me a plate of That Mashed Potato Stuff right now, I would probably gobble up the entire thing.
4. Total nutrition ignorance, calorie unconsciousness, & completely guilt-free eating of absolutely anything (like blue bubblegum ice cream).
Need I say more?
5. And finally, Not having to do the dishes!
Because this is a meme, I now get to tag fellow food bloggers and send them back into their childhoods. Obviously no one is obligated to participate, though I am hoping these people will. I know at least two of them grew up outside the U.S., and I am looking forward to reading what everyone comes up with:
Anne at Anne's Food
Shuna at Eggbeater
If you are tagged, here's what you do: Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog’s name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross-pollination effect.

Next: select new friends to tag and add to the pollen count.
Then list your memories.
And if anyone else has a childhood food memory they would like to share, feel free to write about it in the comments section. Or post it on your blog and leave a comment here with the link.
Have fun!

17 comments:

  1. Those See's Candy suckers were the best. They don't have the peanut butter flavor any longer! But they are still too big for your mouth. (Maybe they didn't get smaller, but our mouths got bigger.) That bread looks tasty!

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  2. Hi Wendy,
    Hmmm. I am vaguely remembering the peanut butter flavor now that you mention it. I think my mother liked them. Sadly, I haven't been in a See's Candies store in 11 years (since I left California). Maybe they still sell the original big suckers there, and the ones I saw online are just fancy little things. That would be nice.

    Thanks for the bread compliment. Oh, it IS tasty. I can (and have) made a meal out of it! Well, with butter of course.

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  3. Farmgrl
    that was really nice! and see now I know asll sorts of things about you I didnt before... like you like instant mashed potato... well I guess I can forgive you ;)

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  4. Oh no, no, no. Beep! Beep! Clare! Back the mashed potato bus up! :)

    Um, no, sorry (and absolutely no offense to anyone who does like them), I do not eat instant mashed potatoes. About ten years ago I came into posession of a gigantic free box of them, and I couldn't believe how much they tasted like chemicals to me. Scary.

    These days I grow my own potatoes and eat them within about an hour of digging them up. (My favorites are the Yukon Golds.)Slightly more work than the instant, but totally worth it in my opinion. So, no forgiving on your part is necessary!

    Actually, that's the thing about memories, especially ones from childhood. I think they're better left alone, because if you try to re-create them, you usually end up disappointed. Though I still think I might gobble up a plate of That Mashed Potato Stuff if offered one! :)

    P.S. Sorry about not being able to comment last night; don't know what the problem was. Glad you were able to today. Always so nice to hear from you. Oh, and today I turned a foodie friend (who absolutely loves all things Australia) onto your site--and she thinks it's wonderful!

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  5. "Back the mashed potato bus up..."

    Between that and Clare's "oven of infinite sadness" this morning, I've been laughing all day. Oh my, the blogs are funny today.

    I'm so glad you completed the meme--I've enjoyed reading your answers and I'm totally on the same page with #4 and #5. It's hard being a grown-up sometimes. *sigh*

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  6. Living out in the country as a child limited my food selections. Everything came from my dad's "general store" and we rarely bought anything from the closest supermarket in "town" 25 miles away. Culinary delights that added any variety beyond canned vegetables, iceberg lettuce, and one of any 10,000 variations on ground chuck were always a thrill to my naieve yet curious pallet! Ah! And the days of caloric ignorance that permitted the sheer pleasure of enjoying food sans guilt or any awareness of consequence!

    1. City Chicken. I have NO IDEA what this stuff was (DOES ANYBODY???), but it was on a stick, breaded, and probably anything but chicken! My grandma used to buy it for us -- even yummier with some ketchup!
    2. Rainbow ice cream. It was really just incredibly delish vanilla ice cream with enough artificial dye to make any mother call her doctor for some Valium!
    3. Pieroghi -- lots of variations on the spelling here, but a true Eastern European delight smothered with butter and onions. And no, Mrs. Paul does NOT make pieroghis! You need to find a good "studda bubba" to do this!
    4. Peanut butter fudge from G. C. Murphy's "Five and Dime" store. Nobody can touch this...
    5. Cotton Candy -- and lots of it, especially the blue, especially a day or two old!

    BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL LOAVES!!! ARE THEY GLUTEN-FREE???? HA HA???!!!

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  7. *sigh*
    I am so glad!
    I remeber going on , hey wait I will put this in my childhood memories post lol...

    Farmgrl absolutely no offense meant.. that's why I was so confused... those awesome looking homegrown new potates and you eat what? Glad I dont have to lose respect for you (childhood is one thing, now is another entirely) Thanks for sending your Aussie loving friend over! I am so glad she like my blog too!

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  8. home grown potatoes dugged and within few hours turned into a tasty mash,,, whoa... then with my husbands homemade sausages...

    I miss the farm the country

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  9. Clare: Thank goodness I've redeemed myself in your foodie eyes! :)

    BB: Great memories list. Slightly scary, but great.

    Amy: There's nothing better than reading about food and laughing all day. Well, reading about food and laughing and EATING all day! :)

    Schatzli: Homemade sausages? Now I'm the one who's jealous! :)

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  10. thanks for the tag
    I will do it next weekend as Ihave too many post lined up til then.
    PLently of time to think of some good answers.I just thought of one already. ha ha ha

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  11. OK, DD,

    Now you know the real reason I became a dietitian! To atone for my childhood chemical waste intake!

    Now, for the sugar-high Fridays....hum....this may cause a relapse!


    BB

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  12. Hey Susan
    permalinks don't work for me on your site
    which ever page I go to - it just shows up as
    http://farmgirlfare.com/

    ???

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  13. Hi Sam,
    Funny, Amy at Beauty Joy Food had the same problem with me earlier. My computer ignorance strikes again--in an annoying way for others more adept! : )

    What I told her is that I don't yet know how these permalinks work. When I want to link to a specific post of mine or somebody else's, I go to the sidebar and click on the archives or previous posts or whatever. When the post opens up, at the top shows what I guess is the permalink address--I just know it's a direct link to the post. I paste that into the link I'm making. If you've read any of my Food Blog S'Cool questions or comments, you'll know that I am like below pre-school level with all this blogging stuff. That above description was just how I blindly figured out how to get a direct link address. Does any of this make sense? Hopefully I'll figure out permalinks soon. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    Guess this means you're working on your chilhood food memories meme. Can't wait to read your answers. : )

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  14. Great memories, Farmgirl. I got tagged for this and have already done my five but each person's five memories is bringing other memories from my childhood flooding back.

    Your mashed potato stuff reminds me of something my husband calls a volcano. A deep hole is put in the center of mashed potatoes and gravy is poured into the cavity. He says that his mom always asked him if he would like a volcano whenever they had mashed potatoes and gravy.

    Blue bubblegum ice cream? Yikes! (I guess it's no worse that the turquoise coloured popsicles I used to get if the livid lime coloured ones weren't in the store freezer. For seven cents a popsicle!! Can one buy anything for seven cents now?)

    -Elizabeth

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  15. City chicken is popular in my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. It is alternating cubes of Veal and Pork on a wooden skewer.

    It is usually dipped in seasoned flour and egg wash. It is fried in vegetable oil and then liquid is added to the pan, heat is lowered and it is braised until tender, meanwhile, making it's own pan gravy.

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  16. My favorite childhood food memory is a toasted english muffin topped with fried spam,and a grilled pineapple slice all covered in a melted velvetta sauce. Yummm Love your blog

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  17. I know this post is about 4 years late, but I just found your blog. I grew up in China, and one of my favorite food memories, was going to the market down the street and buying a ceramic jar of yogurt, which had a piece of wax paper coverinig the opening, held in place by a rubber band. The market man hands you a straw, which you poke through the wax paper. You have to slurp up all the yogurt goodness right then and there, because they don't let you walk away with the ceramic jar. To this day, I have not found any store bought yogurt in the US that replicates the yogurt I enjoyed as a child. My dad is sending me a yogurt machine, which is due to arrive this week - hopefully I can recreate this fond memory soon!

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