Je me souviens

19 October, 2013
Rat Fink

And I’ll bet some of you remember, too.

Yesterday — and I’ve forgotten how I got there — I ended up on some blog site where a woman shared her memories of growing up in the 1960s. I thought I’d never see the day when I’d say, “Those were simpler, happy times,” but there you go. They were. Mavis and I have tons of great memories of going to church, singing with our friends, shopping with Mother (especially at F.W. Woolworth’s candy counter, where we were allowed, if we were very good, to get a quarter-pound of the chocolates of our choice), winter ice skating, and summers at Brown Deer Pond.

But today, this post is about FOOD, dude! Does anyone else remember…

We drank this by the gallon


Burger Chef & Jeff!

Burger Chef & Jeff!


These were extra-special treats, because Mother let us eat them on TV trays in the den. Whoa, camel.

These were extra-special treats, because Mother let us eat them on TV trays in the den. Whoa, camel.


Mother and Grandma Johnson made these all the time. Yummy.

Mother and Grandma Johnson made these all the time. Yummy.


Think kettle corn. And no, Mother never let us buy any, so I had to beg it off friends at school.

Think kettle corn. And no, Mother never let us buy any, so I had to beg it off friends at school.


On the rare occasions when Mother bought it, it was like Christmas.

On the rare occasions when we were allowed to buy it, it was like Christmas.


The waiting was the hardest part.

The waiting was the hardest part.


I loved the beef kind; Mavis liked the chicken.

I loved the beef kind; Mavis liked the chicken.


Food was so awesomely bad for you back then, but nobody really knew that, or noticed, or cared, or whatever.

You know the drill: pony up with some food memories of your own. Find a link to it somewhere if you want to, and we’ll all see if we remember it.

As for now, the orchestra cuts won’t edit themselves. Over ‘n out.


  1. Coney dogs & a big frosty mug of A&W Root Beer at the A&W drive-in with my grandparents was just a little slice of heaven when we were growing up! Plus of course, all the stuff you mentioned! I’d completely forgotten about the yellow zonkers! Wowza!!

  2. I remember going to McDonalds and eating in the car. We would turn around and sit on the floor and use the seat as a table. That was a *huge* treat for us. Preachers didn’t make much then, and since there were 4 of us kids, it could get pricy. We had the potpies also, but only when Mom and Dad were going out and we were having a babysitter. *Nobody* wanted the beef. Don’t know why mom insisted on buying them.
    When we visited Grandma, she would take us shopping and that included lunch at the Woolworth’s counter. Usually it was just me and my sister; the boys stayed home with Grandpa.
    Mom didn’t believe in cake mixes or anything from a box or a can, so everything was from scratch. She was/is a wonderful cook. Me? Not so much….

    Hey Fink – make the orchestra edit their own cuts. Why should you have to do all the work??? Just hand them the music and a pencil and tell them they have 5 minutes. Might be interesting!

    Hey- ya never know!

    • You got to eat at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s! I’m not even sure the one in Waukegan and Milwaukee had one. How fun, though.

      It would make your mom laugh to see some of the absolutely dramatic arguments I’ve read on bakers’ forums about the scratch-vs-mix debate. I mean, it’s like debating Roe v. Wade for these people. INTENSE!

      Regarding the orchestra — as if I need more chaos in my life. :P

  3. Free summer afternoon matinees at the local theatre–we would ride our bicycles to downtown stores to collect free tickets for the movie and the theatre was jammed with little kids. We’d buy popcorn–some for eating and some for throwing! I’d get JuJubees or Dots, toss a handful in my mouth, get them good and slimey and spit them from the balcony on the kids below. “Good and Plenty” candies were ok but the the empty box made a terrific noise during the gooey kissing scenes. The theatre manager and usher staff had to use snow shovels to clean up the mess after those matinees movies!!

    • You know, lately I’ve been reading lots of meanyhead ornery things you’ve done! Santa is not going to bring you anything this year!!

  4. As a kid of about 11 years old I learned to make the Bisquick coffee cake recipe and made it many, many times. About a year ago I looked for it on the box, but alas they no longer put it on the box. I did find it online. I made the topping with a butter substitute and it was awful. Back to unhealthy butter for me!

  5. Whoa! You brought back a boat load of memories today, Bird! I remember each and every one of them. I don’t, however, remember the church being such a sad looking place. Maybe it’s because I had so many good memories there. I sure do/have missed the Pond, too.

    Remember when Dad would go early before church and bring back some donuts? Fun times.

    Ha! You’re right – I always like the chicken pies and you loved the beef! I also remember Bisquick. Mother would make the best biscuits out of that stuff on Sunday’s! Yummy memory. Thanks, Bird. I need this today! Love you!

    • Donuts before church! I do remember that. Chocolate frosting on anything was a huge, rare treat back then.

      I also remember eating Bisquick biscuits with butter and jam on them for dessert with Dad.

      Did you see I corrected the church photo??

  6. I never had a TV dinner growing up:(. But we had chicken pot pies and I despised them-just like you despise broccoli.
    My Sister and I only got to have 7-up on Friday nights and we had to split the bottle

    • Then you must reeeeeally hate pot pies. :-D

      We never had pop in the house, either. Like, *never*. But that was the fun part about going to Grandma’s house. She had the 16-ounce bottles just stacked in the fridge, and we were allowed to have one all to ourselves! I’m sure having to split the 7-Up bottle was no fun for one of you, because one of you had to drink from a cup, when drinking from the bottle is half the fun!

  7. It was the pot pies that hit home for me…they were our Saturday evening staple.

    How about Alaska pops, push ups, actual penny candy, chum gum (2 pieces for you and your chum); I was 19 years old before I found out spaghetti did not always come out of a Franco American can. Being good pre-Vatican Two Catholics Mrs Paul’s fish sticks were the Friday fare…always! Salmon from a can…cannot eat salmon to this day! I remember when cheese pizza was the outer limits of my parents adventure into International cuisine. Finally, we had a drive-in called Tom’s that had 12 burgers and 12 fries for $2.00 and that was our big treat, all 6 of us got one burger and fry each and you can guess where the rest went. Fresh veggies was iceberg lettuce or carrots.

    I remember riding our bikes behind the DTD fogger with our mouths open, 15 cent a gallon gasoline when I was in High School, 25 cent movies and free two day old donuts on Tuesday mornings and Elm Tree Bakery.

  8. My mom thought red food coloring and mustard caused cancer, so neither could be eaten at our house. My mom made everything from scratch and used an awful lot of lard, oleo, hydrogenated oils…what a no no now! When she made jello, she always put fruit in it to make it healthy. We were never allowed any kind of kool-aid and pop was a rare treat. When we were allowed pop, 7-up was the only kind we had and we also had to split the bottle. The one exception to the 7-up rule was if we ever had to do laundry at the laundry mat…they had a machine there that had Sunrise soda…we were allowed to have orange. Once I remember pushing red pop when mom wasn’t looking and then acting like I had pushed orange and got red instead. That was a great day! My dad used to bring home one Sugar Daddy and break it up into pieces…that was our candy treat as kids. I only remember eating TV dinners at my grandma’s house on a TV tray in the living room while watching Lawrence Welk. All the rules were broken at Grandma’s house!

    We had 5 children in our family so we never ate out. I don’t think I had McDonalds until I was a teenager, although I remember the Burger Chef and Jeff and McDonalds commercials. We had popcorn every single Sunday night with bologna sandwiches. Mom always made a huge Sunday meal after church, so Sunday night was an easy night for her. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Jiffy Pop. One treat we were always allowed when we had friends over was a Chef Boy-R-Dee Pizza mix. All great memories! Thanks, friend!

    • Breaking up one Sugar Daddy — if that’s all you were allowed, it must have been a real treat! And gee, I just can’t imagine you faking the red pop mistake, LOL

      My mom always cooked a big Sunday dinner, too. Now I love to cook, but think how much things have changed for many of us. I’d hate to cook a huge meal every single Sunday!

      And Grandma’s house — what a treat, plus Lawrence Welk! Pop, cookies, ice cream — all the stuff we never got to eat at home. No wonder so many of us have an unhealthy obsession with sugar!!

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