These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

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Okay so Thursday’s thread got me to thinking about Golden Flake Cheesepuffs…my all-time favorite junk food…from childhood to now.

Cheesepuffs (not curls…puffs) are the greatest food invented by man. They are delicious…not nutritious…and, most importantly…they are the only food that improves in quality and taste the cheaper they are. It’s true. Go purchase an expensive bag of cheesepuffs…then go buy a bag of Golden Flake Cheesepuffs. Nothing beats the finger-coating goodness of a cheap cheesepuff…nothing.

So imgaine how tickled orange I was to find out that my favorite junk food comes from the same place as my favorite soul singer…Birmingham, AL. Nice.

After visiting the Golden Flake website and learning how cheesepuffs are made…I thought it would be fun to write about all my favorite treats from childhood.

I don’t know how things are for kids today (pretty lame, I’m sure)…but growing up in the 70s and 80s was a blast as far as treats.

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Even a trip to Sonic was more fun…as your beverage was adorned with a “cup clinger” (pictured above)…a little plastic animal (monkey, donkey, giraffe, elephant, mouse, camel, bull…mermaid?) that would hang off the side of your cup. Geesh, I miss those days. I think that’s the problem with society today…there are so many missed opportunities for joy by hanging a plastic bull from your fountain drink cup.When I was in the fourth grade, every day after school at Jeff Davis Elementary in Biloxi, I would walk to my dad’s motorcycle shop, Mid-City Cycle, and hang out until Mom got off work and took me to the house.

Dad would always give me some money to go to the Little General (which was kind of a 7-Eleven but the signage featured this dwarf character doing a jig and dressed as Napoleon). The store was behind my dad’s shop, so I’d walk over and buy a beef jerky and a Dr. Pepper. Then I’d sit around listening to Rod Stewart‘s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” on the radio and either “practice” my typing on the old clunker of a typewriter in the office or sit on a tall stool covered with a shop rag next to Dad’s mechanic’s bench and visit with him while he worked on some massive bike.

When I was done with the treat, I’d keep busy cleaning the display cases, sweeping the showroom floor, or putting together parts boxes for the stock area of the repair shop…thinking I was really helping my dad. To this day…I can’t eat jerky and drink D.P. without being transported back to 1979…spending that time with my dad…who was then and is now the coolest dad to ever walk the planet. It’s one of the best memories I have from being a kid.

But as nostalgic as I get from jerky and D.P….there’s nothing like the candy from when you were a kid. (You know what’s funny? I don’t remember ever choosing chocolate candies as a kid. I would always go for the sweet…lightly tart treats. Honestly, do kids buy chocolate now? I think chocolate is pretty much the candy for adults.)

Anyway, I can think of about six treats that always were my top picks at the Little General. Since the store was within walking distance of our house, my brother, Beau, and I would often fill our pockets with whatever change we could find and head to the L.G.

I loved Pixy Stix…the death powder candy that no one dare eat while inhaling. The best was getting those ginormous stix. When you’re in fourth grade…a giant Pixy Stix is practically as tall as you are…so…SCORE!

Other great treats were Pop Rocks and Astro Pops…again…both very dangerous candies.

As everyone knows…when eating Pop Rocks…you mustn’t…under any circumstance…drink a Coke…because…IT WILL KILL YOU LIKE IT KILLED MIKEY!

Astro Pops aren’t as lethal…but caution was to be used at all times when eating these sticky sweets. Taking even the tiniest bite into the sap-like lollipop could literally pull your teeth out of your gums, so you had to actually suck or lick this thing until it was gone…which took forever. I think I bought a total of three Astro Pops in my lifetime…and the collective time it took me to eat them equaled nearly five months. Plus…I was always leery of that crazy wax base at the bottom of the Astro Pop and could never master removing the NASA-engineered cellophane wrapped around the treat.

If I was in the mood to eat a sweet treat that would scrape my tongue raw…I usually opted for the ever popular Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip, which featured three pouches of flavored powder in which to dip the enclosed candy stick. This was always a popular choice at the movies…as it lasted a long time and struck a delicate balance with your soft drink of choice.

Now, I was never a huge fan of gum…but when I did decide to do some chewing…I would opt for the Tiny Size packet of Chiclets. They always seemed like such a great idea in the beginning…tossing back a few tiny Chiclets throughout the day…savoring the entire pack over time…and periodically checking your inventory by looking through the little window on the front of the bag. But more often than not…20 minutes later…I had dumped the entire pack in my mouth…chewed the pieces until their taste and crunchy coatings were gone…and spit the messy wad into the trash.

My other gum of choice was Fruit Stripe Gum (street name: Zebra Gum). Featuring Yipes the Zebra on the label…this gum was notorious for its unusually delicious yet suspiciously short-lived flavor. I think my average chew time was about 5 minutes before the flavor stripes faded and I had to shove another piece in my mouth. You rarely shared this gum with your friends…as it took chewing the whole pack…adding stick upon stick to the growing blob in your mouth…to equal the chew time of a normal stick of gum.

But of all my favorite candies from childhood…there is one that I’ll hunt for and buy today…even over chocolate: Ferrara Pan Jaw Busters! Nothing has or will ever come close to matching the awesomeness of these little candies. A box (which still costs less than a dollar) can last a couple of days…or a couple of hours…depending on your tenacity. The candy is sweet but not overly so. Plus, when you get finished with the treats…the box can be used as a sort of a “duck call” whistle.

Viva le Jaw Busters!

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27 Responses to “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things”

  1. patrickkadiddlehopper Says:

    sweet!!! im the first one to comment… anywayz… im old enough (i think) to remember those latter candies such as likmaidfun dips. i havent had one in at least 3 years. serioulsly, everyone in our family loved those things! awesome

  2. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Candy On the Beach…There’s nothing better….

    Fun Dip was a favorite…but I was the kid covered in sticky chocolate gooo…Like marathon bars…twisted braids of caramel swathed in chocolate or Charelston Chews, Strawberry thank you very much. I wasn’t the penny candy kind of gal. I think my Uncle terrorized me with Necco Waffers at such a young age that I went hard core with M&Ms by the time I was 4.

    By the time I hit 4th grade, I was strung out on Cella’s Chocolate Covered Cherries (http://www.tootsie.com/cella.html) I by passed the poprocks phase and headed straight into the gummibears age, complete with a chorus of watermelon Jolly Ranchers in 6th grade. Got how I remember trying to pick a sticky wrapper off the bottom of my purple and tan Le Sportsac purse.

    Good times.

    Speaking of Candy on the beach…is this just a NJ phenomenom or is FUDGE a big beach candy everywhere?

    verification word of the day “juxpvkzz” the sound pop rocks and coke make in your mouth before exploding

  3. TALK! Says:

    Okay, Shrew…now we’re really learning about each other.

    It’s so funny to see what people like and what they don’t like when it comes to stuff like this.

    I love caramel now, but wouldn’t have thought about it when I was a kid.

    My dad loves Necco wafers…and I say I like them just to make him happy, but they taste like dried up bones to me.

    I can handle gummy bears but I have never liked Jolly Ranchers.

    And fudge…well, I usally eat about one bite of fudge a year. It’s not that I don’t like it…it’s just soooooo rich. I guess that’s why I prefer the penny candy…that and because it’s penny candy.

    I’m pretty cheap. πŸ˜‰

  4. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I was worried that you might not do a post about Cheese Puffs. I was looking forward to this all weekend. Yessss!

    I’m now, and have always been, a chocolate girl. I would eat other types of candy if that is all that was available…but, ehhh. My favorite of the non-chocolates was the Lik-m-aid. It just seemed like I was getting a lot more for my money. I loved the Charleston Chews for the same reason.

    HOWEVER,

    When given the choice, I would always choose something salty over sweet. My favorite was chips. Cheese puffs being at the top of my list too!

    I wasn’t allowed a lot of junk food, so when I got it…man, I was in heaven.

  5. TALK! Says:

    Bama…I’m a salty person, too!

    I will always pile up the Doritoes before taking a piece of cake.

    Now, pie, however…that’s a different story.

    I love pie…and peach cobbler.

    MMMMmmmmm…when’s lunch!?

    P.S. How is it you and Shrew both know about Charleston Chews? I don’t think I’ve ever had one. But, if they are like Tootsie Rolls then I’ll pass ’cause…GROSS!

  6. bamaborntxbred Says:

    No, they aren’t like Tootsie Rolls. They’re kinda hard to explain…hmm…they have a soft chewy center of either vanilla, strawberry, etc. and they are coated with a very thin layer of a chocolate-like substance. Very yummy.

    I’m with you on the pie. My dad has a MASSIVE garden, in which he grows blackberries. Every summer my mom makes tons of blackberry cobbler. We have it fresh out of the oven with homemade vanilla ice cream. (Usually after a dinner of fresh purple hull peas, cornbread, greens, bbq chicken, etc.) Now that’s memories for me.

    Damn, I’m hungry.

  7. TALK! Says:

    Wow…a garden.

    I’ve always wanted a garden…but I’m too damn lazy.

  8. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Yeah. I’m lazy too. Luckily my dad is retired and is one of those peeps that can’t sit still. His garden is about a half acre. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies for me!

  9. TALK! Says:

    I’m soooo impressed.

    My dad’s like that, too.

    He built the house that he and Mom live in now. It took him five years…but he drove every nail by hand…with an actual hammer. It’s amazing.

    My brothers and I call him “Captain Antsy” ’cause he can’t NOT be doing something.

  10. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Maybe industry skips a generation.

    That’s cool that your dad built his house!! I wish I had a 10th of the energy and drive my dad has. I can literally sit on the couch ALL DAY. Getting up only to go potty and go to the fridge. My dad goes crazy after about an hour of sitting still. He’s so cool. He has about a thousand projects working all the time. (He also makes homemade wine…it’s kinda gross but I drink it anyway…Umm, good, Daddy!)

  11. TALK! Says:

    Why do you think we’re such slugs…and so good at being that way?

    I know what you mean about sitting on the couch all day.

    I hate that about myself. I wish I was motivated to DO something active.

    It drives me crazy.

  12. bamaborntxbred Says:

    We are here, being slugs, in order to balance out the universe. There are the super active types like our daddies…and then there’s us. I’m just glad to know I’m not alone.

    I hate the same thing about myself. I just think it’s the way I’m made. I don’t use ALL my free time watching tv. I read a lot, do little decorating projects around the house, walk my dogs 5x a day. Besides, if you (and I) didn’t spend a heck of a lot of time watching movies and tv…this blog wouldn’t be half as interesting. And that’s another thing…you put a lot of time in here. So there! You are a busy bee. Just on indoor..rather than outdoor stuff.

  13. TALK! Says:

    Thanks for that, bama.

    But now I really feel like a slug because you walk your dogs…not once, twice, three or four times a day…but FIVE TIMES!!!

    The most I do with my dog is chase her around the house and wrestle with her each day.

    Ugh…said the slug.

  14. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Well, I have to walk them. I live in an apt. and they are geriatric puppers with no bladder control. If I lived in a house with a doggie door…I’d be slug of the world!!

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    BTW-talking about junk food. One of our clients dropped off two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts this morning. How rude!

  16. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Yeah, I used to love camping, etc. but it’s been so long…I wonder if I’ve become to citified. I’m pretty sure my camping would have to include an a/c’d cabin with cable. Haha! I’d like hiking and canoeing though. I’m pretty much a giant idiotic clutz and it’s a given that I will hurt myself or anyone nearby…still, it’d be so much fun!

    I have this weird thing about standing water like pools, ponds, lakes, hot tubs…Gross! It just seems nasty to have hundreds, thousands, millions of sweaty bodies over years and years in the same water. And you know people potty in there too! (Rivers are okay depending on which river.)

  17. TALK! Says:

    I will never look at the pool the same way again. Ha.

    Yeah…rivers RAWK!

    I have a little two-man pup tent and Coleman lantern. Ten years ago, I used to go camping pretty frequently.

    Now I can’t find anyone who’d want to go. 😦

    So said…cause there’s nothing like camping when it’s cool and you can make a fire and fall asleep listening to the woods.

    It’s scary…but FUN!

  18. bamaborntxbred Says:

    We used to camp in a pop-up trailer. That was fun. It was sooo ugly…all orange and lime green…eww.

    Aren’t there spiders in the woods?

    Do you really want me to go there again?

  19. TALK! Says:

    Okay…yes…there are spiders.

    I don’t want you going all Ron Weasley on me again! πŸ˜‰

  20. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Ha! Ron’s ma boyee!

  21. suzi-q Says:

    Ok Shell, this is so ironic that you picked this subject for today, a delightful treat! as I was in the BP on pass road standing in line to pay for two po-boys, a Barq and two bags of chips (99cent grab bag). Anyway I thought what would be a sweet treat and looked down in amazement to see Necco wafers! Unfortunately, I did resist cause I knew a chocolate cake with fudge icing was at home(baked it for the CoopDawg’s homecoming:) That and circus peanuts are a feast for the sweet tooth:)

  22. suzi-q Says:

    Just read some comments, and I must asked, When in your life’s history have you eaten “dried bones”, was it when I was away at school or in Greece???? One more neat story, Grandmother Joan told me when she was a girl living in an all girl’s school in D.C., that she would by a “all day slo-poke sucker” and hide it in the bathroom above the tank of the you know what. Of course, in the twenties commode tanks where high up on a wall and one had to pull a chain to flush.

  23. TALK! Says:

    Suzi-Q…they made me eat dried bones at G.A. Camp…that’s why I got so sick. πŸ˜‰

    And…you’d better make a cake for my next homecoming…better yet…a peach cobbler!!!!! MMmmmm.

    I could really go for a pressed poboy and Barq’s right now. ;(

  24. suzi-q Says:

    You got it sweet pea!

  25. TALK! Says:

    Okay…I feel better.

    I live in a house so all I have to do is open the backdoor and let Sadie out.

    However, yesterday I was basically Lewis and Clarke because I stood on the patio while she romped in the thigh-high grass. Then I quickly went back inside…where it was nice and cool.

    You know, the funny thing is…if I had someone who would go camping or canoeing (sp?) or hiking…I would soooo do that.

    I love to do those things.

    I also love to swim, but I’m so overweight that I couldn’t possibly imagine wearing a swimsuit in front of anyone. YIKES!

  26. Quossum Says:

    Fun topic!

    I liked Bit O’Honey, Chick-o-sticks, and Necco wafers. I liked chocolate, but wasn’t really into gum. Once mom let us recreate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by pouring muddy water down the side of this big, gnarled tree in our yard after hiding wrapped candies all over it. (Chocolate waterfall, get it?)

    Now my weakness is Snickers bars. Yum!

    –Q

  27. TALK! Says:

    Okay…how bad do I want to make a chocolate waterfall for my backyard dive bar?!

    Very cool, Q.

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