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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Memories - Vintage Foods From Years Gone By

Food is a huge part of life.  See my article Family, Friends, Food & Fun.  Fun foods from our younger years can bring back wonderful memories of family, special events, holidays and what life was like at that time!

Ahhhh, memories of when I was a kid and I could eat "normally."  For me, these memories are even more precious because even if I wanted to, I can't eat those things anymore.


My mom always made healthy meals.  Every night for dinner there was something from all the food group. From a young child, I've loved vegetables.  She limited our "junk food" and the foods displayed here were not eaten often.


Snack Pack chocolate pudding in a CAN!!!!!  It just doesn't taste the same in plastic.  This brings back memories of elementary school.  I would eat my lunch, my fruit and save the pudding for last.  I still save the best for last.

Hearing the pop of the cover and the aroma of the pudding hitting my nose just made harder days a little easier. I NEVER traded my pudding with anyone!


Jiffy Pop!  The kids today have no idea what they are missing.  My children, when they were young, were appalled that I had to actually stand over a stove and shake a "pot" to get popcorn.  It was completely barbaric in their opinions.

Jiffy Pop was a treat.  We were never allowed to eat anywhere in the house but the kitchen, except at certain times.  During the holidays, when the children's shows were airing, mom would let us eat popcorn in the den while we watched.


Gerber baby food.  I am the oldest child.  My cousins and I would "steal" the baby's food and eat it as desserts.  The Custard pudding was delicious. I remember sitting around the kitchen table giggling with my cousins.  Mom started buying it for us to eat as a snack, so the baby didn't go hungry (just kidding, no one ever went hungry.)  She bought it for fun.


Chipwich - What an ingenious idea!  Take two existing products, put them together and become a millionaire!  The Chipwich was invented, if you could call it an invention, in 1981 by Richard LaMotta. Ahhhh, the Chipwich - I have fond memories of this ice cold treat.


I worked on Wall Street in New York City during the summer during high school and college.  I was a paid intern for the company my dad worked for.


There was a Chipwich cart a few feet from the front door of the building, The lines went down the block and it was impossible to buy a Chipwich during lunch hour.  So.... my friend and I would take a "bathroom break" every so often and go down to the street around 3 p.m.to buy a Chipwich.  There were plenty of giggles as we planned our adventure. I think our boss knew but didn't mind.

Me, one of the summers I worked on Wall Street as an intern.
Whenever I see a  Chipwich, I have fond memories of the fun times working summers on Wall Street and of my good friend for several summers.  I still remember her name, Sharon. Her dad was also a long-time employee of the company and she too was an intern.  Sharon was a black girl with the most gorgeous skin, the best smile and the greatest personality.


If it had been today, Sharon and I could have easily stayed  in touch. Back then, I lived on Long Island, she lived in The Bronx, that was a long-distance call and they were expensive. I wish I could remember her last name, I'd love to look her up.


Hostess Fruit Pies.  My grandmother used to buy these as a treat.  She loved to have one in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.  Us kids would pop in and had to have one.  We sat around Grandma's table, nibbling our fruit pies and had great conversations. Sometimes she'd tell us about the "old days", which led to breaking out her old photo albums. I'd give anything to sit at the table one more time over a fruit pie (even though I can't eat it anymore) and chat with Grandma.


Fluff was never my favorite.  I think I tried it once.  However, if my mom would have let her, my sister would have lived on Fluffernutter sandwiches.

I have fond memories of my sister trying to convince mom that eating a fluffernutter sandwich daily was a good idea.  My sister didn't win that one.


Nutter Butter - My mom enjoyed these.  I wasn't a fan.  Seeing the commercial (see video below) brings back memories of life in the 1970's.



We moved into the house my parents still own in the early 70's and life was good.  We lived in a great school district, a beautiful neighborhood and it was a fun time to be a kid.


Mrs. Paul's Fishsticks - Old fashioned people of Italian descent still followed the old-school 'Catholic rule of no meat on Fridays back in the 70's.  We would go to my grandparents' house on Friday nights.  Grandma would make spaghetti, fishsticks and salad for dinner. 

I haven't eaten a fishstick in about 30 years, (I certainly can't now) but they will always remind me of Friday nights at my grandparents' house.  


Pizza - Once myself and the older cousins became teens and started going out with friends on Friday nights, mom turned Friday into pizza night.  By then, my grandparents were living with us. The rule was, us kids had to clean the kitchen and feed the dogs every night .  We were in too much of a rush to eat and go out.  Pizza on paper plates solved the clean up problem. Friday nights have been pizza night for 37 years (unfortunately, I can no longer partake).  Yes... they do order meat on the pizza now.


Stuffed artichokes!  When I was a kid, every Sunday we drove from Long Island into Queens to my paternal grandparents' house for dinner.  Sometimes, along with all the other traditional foods, my grandmother would make stuffed artichokes.  

My grandmother was an amazing cook.  She could make a cardboard box taste good.  Artichokes were eaten after the first course of pasta and gravy meat and the second course of a roast with vegetables and salad. 




Eating an artichoke is messy but delicious.  As a kid, I'd share with relatives and listen to the banter around the table.  Anyone could pop in.  It was loud, confusing, and sounded like people were fighting. They weren't,  You felt loved and safe. 


Hamburger Helper - The marketing worked.  We kept asking mom to try this. She wasn't a fan, however, that silly hand got to us.  We were convinced it would make mom's life easier.  It wasn't a gourmet meal but it excited us.  My mom is an exceptional cook, yet, when she would make Hamburger Helper, we thought we hit the jackpot. 


Hershey's Chocolate - those delightful little chocolates bring big memories.  Their delectable scent is embedded in my brain.  One whiff of a Hershey's Miniature Chocolate and I'm back in Queens at my grandparents' house.  My grandmother used to keep candy in her dresser drawer and all us kids knew it.  She left it there for us!  Grandma also put a bowl of candies out in the evening, along with bowls of  fruits and nuts.  


Prince Spaghetti Commercial - I don't think anyone in my family used this brand.  In fact, sometimes there would be homemade pasta on the table and us kids used to help make it!  This commercial always gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Even though we lived in New York, not Boston, the commercial is very authentic.  The family scenes are like my family.  As a kid, seeing this commercial just "brought me home."  

Seeing foods, smells, the taste of foods, ways of preparing foods, recipes, all play a big part in forming who we are and cementing lifetime memories of more than just a meal.


What are some of vintage foods that bring back some wonderful memories?  Leave a comment on this blog post.  
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