Foods I’ve Known and Loved

My Real Memoir

The holidays are about love. And love is about family. And family is about food. Ergo, love is food. So, pardon me while I reminisce about when food and I first started going steady. Of course, my taste has changed considerably. As a kid, I was smitten with every flirty little snack that came along…

Necco wafers, Fizzies instant soft-drink tablets, fried bologna sandwiches, mushy canned spaghetti, kippers on Saltines, “chihuahuas” (boiled wieners rolled up in tortillas with gobs of mustard), Ovaltine, pre-fabricated pastries and hyper-sweet breakfast cereals (I really was “crazy for Cocoa Puffs”), frozen pot pies and TV dinners…

But I broke up with all of them, and haven’t missed them since (although I might give chihuahuas a call, just for old times’ sake). On a final fling in my 20s, I decided to spend a quiet, romantic evening alone with a Swanson’s TV dinner (or maybe it was Banquet–I played the field). Then I found a dirty, rolled-up band-aid in my mashed potatoes—a cast-off, no doubt, from some underpaid food-packer’s owie. I broke up with TV dinners for good that night.

I no longer like greasy, pancake-flat burgers with “mustard-only,” like I did as a kid, either. Or French fries and breaded shrimp with more bread than shrimp, both smothered in ketchup. Or tuna sandwiches with more mayonnaise than tuna. To my credit, I never did like Miracle Whip (mayo that thinks it’s dessert), or Velveeta (glue that thinks it’s cheese), or Wonder Bread (packing foam that thinks it’s flour).

On the other hand: When my parent’s wanted to splurge, we’d go to a local bar-and-grill, where I’d sit and sip a sophisticated cocktail (“Roy Rogers” was my signature drink) and relish a thick chateaubriand—me and steak still got a thing going on. Spaghetti and I still flirt, too, although I’m much more tempted when it’s all dolled-up as “pasta” with, say, a creamy tomato-vodka sauce.

And I still scream for ice cream—my adopted city, Cincinnati, is a haven for gourmet ice cream; and my wife’s home-made lemon ice cream makes me almost long for a heatwave. My mom’s amazing pecan pie has given way to my wife’s even-amazinger walnut pie, and biscotti, and from-scratch cookies, and scones, and…

I still have an abiding love for Mexican food, too, but now expanded to embrace its fiery Latin cousins. And my thing for Chinese has gone flat-out pan-Asian! Then there’s Mideastern foods, and too many European specialties to count… I always did have a thing for foods in exotic foreign dress.

Oh, and finally, Christmas stocking stuffers! I still love those. Only now, instead of a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania, they mostly come from Europe.

I never could resist an accent!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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61 Responses to Foods I’ve Known and Loved

  1. Pingback: We Have All the Time in the World | Mitch Teemley

  2. lolol….you really are funny. Thanks for a trip down memory lane. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  3. mitchteemley says:

    ;>) My pleasure, Sunnyside. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Neese says:

    Hahaha, memories of my youth and snacks for my kids when they were young. Never did climb aboard the Franco-American train but my boys ate plenty when they got home from school. And I’m a loyalist when it comes to TV dinners or pot pies. If it wasn’t Swanson’s (turkey dinner every other Sunday when mom worked) I wouldn’t eat it. This one is a hoot…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. beth says:

    Oooh TV dinners and Tric!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember canned spaghetti – I was in my teens before I found out that the best didn’t come from a can.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Those were the days, my friend, Mitch. It’s unbelievable that us kiddies actually survived the regular over-consumption of our days of yore, excessively salted-sugared-fatted-up, pickled in preservatives / dyes cuisine. To fess up a bit, I must’ve consumed multiple thousands of Hostess chocolate cupcakes. Ergo IF any M.E. winds up doing my postmortem, (s)he’ll likely discover a white frosting squiggle running up and down my spinal column… uh… j/k?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. CG Thelen says:

    Oh man… so many foods I had forgotten from my childhood like fried bologna sandwiches. I feel very full now with those good memories. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. ejstoo says:

    Neat, had to give up a lot of stuff when we discovered that wheat products was making me miserable. Likely for the best. Most of that stuff is not all that edible. We used to like Cap’N Crunch and a few other things available in Canada. Frosty Lucky Charms. Me and food weren’t particularly good friends. Changed somewhat once I got gluten free. I found I could actually like pasta. Used to hate it as a kid. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Swanson’s Chicken Pot Pie, Cheetos!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Foods I’ve Known and Loved — Mitch Teemley | Ups Downs Family History

  12. KT Workman says:

    I still love Twinkies. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. rwfrohlich says:

    Wonder bread with ketchup and lettuce for lunch when I was in grade school. I walked home for lunch; the sandwiches were not soggy. My wife still has a thing for the occasional Twinkie. Happy New Year (with appropriate moderation, and consideration for an older digestion system).

    Liked by 1 person

  14. stolzyblog says:

    did you get the all chocolate Necco wafers (my fave) or the muti-colored variety? remember Bonom’s Turkish Taffy? banana-flavored? yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Liz says:

    this made me giggle throughout Mitch. Especially “To my credit, I never did like Miracle Whip (mayo that thinks it’s dessert), or Velveeta (glue that thinks it’s cheese), or Wonder Bread (packing foam that thinks it’s flour).” and another word of the day: even-amazinger. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Cute! Those Fizzies sure were fun:)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. murisopsis says:

    When money was tight my mother would give us Fizzies instead of milk for dinner. I hated the Root Beer flavored ones and those were the ones my dad liked so that was what we mostly had… I still, to this day dislike Root Beer! As for the rest I’ve completely out grown them. I tried a Twinkie last year and I couldn’t choke it down – BLECH! We used to eat Frosted Flakes and now I can’t believe we were able to stomach them! Soooo much sugar!!! I guess I grew up (or at least my taste buds did)!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Matilda Novak says:

    Any chance Trudi would consider sharing her walnut pie recipe??
    My Eastern European self LOVES all things Walnut, and i’ve never even heard of “walnut pie”.
    Will happily swap for any recipe i can rustle up from our Hungarian restaurant… (if you all are so inclined).
    Thank you kindly.
    PS — This little “food walk down memory lane” was Fun.
    i always appreciate what you share.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Tim Harlow says:

    Fun memories for sure. I too used to be a Swanson TV dinner fan, but fortunately I never found anything horrible in them. Happy New Year, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. If you were born in Cincinnati, Skyline Chili would be a life-long addiction. I still try a frozen dinner or pot pie every now and then.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. A great cinnamon bun has always been my go-to goodie. Even an apple fritter for me stops short of one of those yeasty marvels.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Gina Cash says:

    Thanks, Mitch, for this little trip down Memory Lane! I remember eating all of the pictured foods when I was a kid, except for the Joker Jacks. BTW, my maiden name is Wafer. My sister was known as Vanilla and I was Chocolate! Our family represented the cookie variety rather than the Necco candy wafer. Still sweet though! I still like Nilla Wafers in some good ole homemade banana pudding! ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Soon after moving back to Michigan almost 9 years ago, I went to the Mercury Burger Bar. Their menu was a walk down memory lane, including fried bologna sandwiches, Boston Coolers (vanilla ice cream in Vernor’s ginger ale for those not from Detroit) and salmon patties. Memories of childhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I remember Fizzies! And my drink was a Shirley Temple. I’ve given up most of these foods in a quest to maintain some semblance of a girlish figure. I miss the chicken pies the most. A few years ago, I bought Fizzies–I think at Cracker Barrel. Happy eating. And happy New Year. God bless, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Nancy Richy says:

    Funny stuff here! Being first generation Sicilian, the food I ate as a child did not include Twinkies or Trix or – God forbid – Chef Boyardee. I still cringe when my husband eats those mini ravioli; I won’t even open the can for him! As a kid the lunches I brought to school were things like last night’s left over fish sprinkled with vinegar on Italian bread or potatoes and eggs scrambled together. I never had ham and cheese or a PB&J like the other kids. My mom’s idea of a burger was a mini meatloaf and I didn’t have pizzeria pizza until my older cousin took me out for bowling and “a slice”. But the most magical day in my life came when I was in fifth grade; our class was chosen to be the taste-testers for Drake’s snacks. It was the most sinfully delicious year of my young life, getting to eat the forbidden Funny Bones, fruit pies, Snowballs, etc and voting for the ones we wanted to be sold in the school’s little snack shop. I’m pretty sure my parents knew about the taste-testing gig but thankfully didn’t object. I never really acquired a taste for those treats but that one year was enough for a lifetime of sweet memories. Now I think I have some new material for a story of my own! Happy New Year! 🌟 💫

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dawn Marie says:

    Ahhhhh, the comforting tastes of childhood! 🤣 Yes, fried bologna sandwiches. 💗 Proceeded of course by a heaping portion of polish-caviare: bologna, onions and vinegar. 🤣🤣🤣 Hugs to you for these delightful reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. “creamy tomato-vodka sauce.” Now I have to find the recipe. I didn’t know food came from anywhere but cans or packages until my mid 30’s. We didn’t know to read the labels and see it wasn’t really food. I’m not nostalgic for any of that any more. Thanks for the reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. The accurate marketing on the Trix cereal… “habit-forming” is astounding. Yep, got a generation of us addicted to sugar. But comments seem to favor that many, like you, have broken up with these old flirts when an unadulterated, whet the appetite for something more honorable. Infatuation is empty once you’ve tasted the irresistible satisfaction of genuine love.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ann Coleman says:

    What a fun trip down memory lane…I had all those when I was a kid! And I’d forgotten about those fizzies…we used to dare each other to simply pop them in our mouths rather than dissolve them in water.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. kerbey says:

    Well, it sounds like you cut a wide swath in your food preferences. I find that much more refreshing than people who choose to write off entire categories of food. Of course, I can’t relate to any of this because I grew up eating from the original whole foods, with tofu and carob and sprouts instead of all the delicious goodies that my friends ingested. It sounds like you’ve found a good balance of interesting foods, and you’ve also made me want to visit Cincinnati.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. gregoryjoel says:

    I’ve had to terminate my relationship with sweets (although Blue ell ice cream – from the little creamery in Brenham – is still a weakness. It doesn’t mater what the temperature is outside… My wife and I have the age-old married couple’s dilemma – “What do you want for dinner?”. I’ve made it easy on my end. It’s always Mexican food. I too, have a thing for accents.

    Take care and have a blessed and wonderful New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

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