Tastes like Childhood

1 Jul

The other day, as I was in line at the grocery store, I noticed that they had a bag of Cracker Jacks in the “kid tempting, mom torture” zone at the end of the check out lane. I know the whole ‘don’t shop hungry’ thing, but I was and so I bought them. And as I was sitting there, in the front seat of my SUV chowing down, I was instantly transported back to my childhood. Granted, the prize wasn’t as cool and they were in a bag, not a box too small to fit your hand into, but the taste was exactly the same as when my mom would give my brother and I a box as a treat. We ate the popcorn and she ate the nuts. I could almost feel the stone of our front steps in Brooklyn under my thighs.

That got me thinking about how many tastes I associate with specific childhood memories. Iced Tea made from mix always takes me back to Coney Island where we spent so many summer days. We would drink the iced tea served from a yellow cooler into plastic cups while we ate baloney or ham sandwiches on white Wonder bread my Mom brought from home. Toast with cinnamon and sugar will always make me think of my mother; she’s made this for me since forever. Even now, the way she makes it is so much better than when I make it for myself.

And Yoo-Hoo with mini powdered doughnuts recalls the weekends my brother and I spent on my Dad’s boat in New Jersey. The wooden hulled little Chris-Craft never left the dock that I can recall, but every morning my Dad would serve my brother and I Yoo-Hoo with those doughnuts. I could still eat a box, even though they taste much more chemical-ly than I recall.

There are some foods that just don’t taste the same anymore, which really bums me out. For example, Ring Dings. First, they don’t taste the same. But even worse – where is the tin foil? What other snack cake came with a craft project as well? If you were anything like me, you carefully took that foil off, smoothed out all the wrinkles and then made it into a plane, a boat – something. And Alpha-Bits cereal was our huge treat cereal that we got once a year – if that. Imagine my disappointment when I got my kids a box and the letters were all little and the taste – yuck.

What tastes do you associate with your childhood? And what tastes are only a memory? Let me know in the comments!

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4 Responses to “Tastes like Childhood”

  1. Bonnie July 1, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    My grandparents used to buy us Keebler Pinwheel cookies. Graham cracker crust, marshmallow, covered in chocolate. We never called them by their proper name. Instead they were termed “gold” because they were SOOOO expensive.
    When my grandparents came to visit there was a grocery box in their trunk filled with all of our favorite foods – dried apricots, fig newtons, “Gold”, and always black licorice for my mom.

    • Beth - Realist Mom July 1, 2011 at 9:29 am #

      What a great story. My Mom was not a big treat buyer, but when we used to go to my Aunt’s, we would head straight for “the drawer” which was a treasure trove of snack cakes. I think we could actually hear the angels breaking out in chorus.

  2. lexy3587 July 7, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    My mom used to make me toast with cinnamon sugar on it… and you’re right… it is never quite the same when I make it myself. Strawberry Rhubarb pie always reminds me of my grandmother’s house, and sitting at the kitchen table ‘helping’ her make it.
    disapointing: sloppy joes… how did I like these when I was a child, despite not liking ketchup at any point in my life? it tastes like ground beef stewed in ketchup, and looks like a prop from a cheap horror movie. I also have vague memories of asking my parents for ‘the stuff you put on a bun that looks like cat food’, and I now realise, it was probably sloppy joe mix. Even as a child, I knew it was gross-looking… grown up, I realise it’s over-all gross.
    great post!

    • Beth - Realist Mom July 7, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      I’m chuckling over your Sloppy Joe comment – here we call ketchup the “universal condiment” because the kids put it on everything – and they love Sloppy Joes! Thanks for commenting and reading!

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