Childhood Favorites

Your favorite childhood junk foods.  Have you tried them lately?

I recently told my kids about Circus Peanuts. How when I was a kid, my friend and I decided to eat a whole bag. We decided that they were, in fact, disgusting. We felt quite ill for the rest of the day.

Doubting my claims (as any strong-willed child does), my daughter insisted that she try them. Thus began the Great Circus Peanut Hunt of 2014. While they’re a classic (Me: WHY?) finding them in all of the usual places proved to be difficult. But with persistence and determination, we found some. In the sixth store (yes, I willingly went to 6 stores as any strong-willed mother would do to prove to my daughter that Circus Peanuts were not the delicious confection she was imagining in her mind) we finally found them…on sale. She had convinced herself that I was clearly wrong and decided that 2 bags were needed – they were on sale after all. It was after one bite of the first orange, ‘marshmallowy’ classic that she declared they were disgusting. I resisted my urge to gloat and tell her ‘I told you so!’ Instead, I just laughed.  Side note: if anyone wants 2 bags of Circus Peanuts – one opened, but still contains all but 2 ‘peanuts’ – let me know.

Speaking of sugary orange things… I also had a fondness for orange soda when I was young. So did my friend (different friend) and we took a couple of bottles to the playground with us. We thought we were pretty cool, sitting in the park drinking Orange Soda – which honestly tastes only vaguely like oranges and more like orange colored, bubbly sugar-water IMHO. Then we decided to go on the merry-go-round – not the kind with the horses, but the metal spinny kind that is powered by hanging on and running around to get it going before you jump on to enjoy the rapid whirly spin. Well, turns out that spinning in circles and orange soda don’t mix well for my friend. Up it came and I’ve never been able to drink Orange Soda since.

We’ve all probably had experiences like these that have destroyed our memories or experiences with favorite childhood treats. But there are others that we might look back upon fondly. BUT what if you tried them today? Would they be exactly like you remember? Or would you find them to be disgusting after your palate has matured over the years?

My son and I watched a series of videos about Americans trying junk food or local delicacies from around the world. It was an interesting way to kill an hour. Some were quite funny, some weren’t. But, I digress. One of these videos had the cast of characters trying their favorite childhood junk foods. Between the Circus Peanut Hunt of 2014, memories of Orange Soda vomit, and this series of videos I got to thinking…

We discussed it at dinner last night and discovered that our favorite childhood treats were the ones created and carefully prepared by our mothers and grandmothers (not to be sexist – that’s just who prepared them in our families). Peanut butter, rice crispy treats with a layer of chocolate on top. Corn Flake candy (corn flakes and chocolate.) Peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Apricot-coconut cookies. Ground raisin, oatmeal cookies. Strawberry rhubarb sauce. The list could go on and on. Disclaimer: both our mothers and grandmothers were from Minnesota – the land of delicious home made treats filled with love…and chocolate…and peanut butter.

We also discovered that some of our favorite (not home-baked) treats had special meaning to us or brought back fond memories of family, friends or first experiences.

What are some childhood treats or junk food do you recall and have you tried them recently?

We’ll be waiting for your replies while we’re making Corn Flake candy after school today.


5 thoughts on “Childhood Favorites

  1. Thanks for this post and the memory it awakened for me. My mom was a very no-nonsense kind of woman and I remember only one treat she ever made – taffy. After reading your post I had to find a recipe/method that was like the one my mom used and here it is:
    I am pretty sure the treat that my own kids will remember (actually Emily still makes it) is caramel corn. Oh how they loved it. We would cover the counter with wax paper to set it on to cool and then BARELY wait until it was before we dove in.

  2. My mom loved Circus peanuts. I never developed a hankering for them. My mom wanted to go to Walmart (this was years ago) because she had never been in one. The only thing that we walked out with were (drum roll….) … circus peanuts. I see them now & always think of her but I still can’t eat them.

  3. Sounds yum. Some of my childhood favourites were the jams my 2 grandmothers made. One cooked the most delicious fig jam, while the other would have some sultana (grape) jam ready when we came to visit. Obviously these were quite sweet and sticky, but would go wonderfully well with home baked bread (any time of day).

  4. Ah, quite the evocative post. I didn’t recall to what Circus Peanuts referred, until the descriptions, then it call came flooding back, the taste, the smell, the textures, firm on the outside, the shape of real peanuts though far too large, the melt-away interior, the bright color. I limit carb intake, and I’d be satisfied with one or two, but I suspect an open bag would be gone within a month. Staring at it in the store, I’d not likely buy it. Though perhaps now I might, associating it with your smile, your linguistic humor (‟guacamole”), your care for others. Rice crispy treats aren’t worth the sugar cost, though if I could get my grandmother’s recipe I’d go for a taste. I haven’t seen commercial versions come close. Corn flake cookies I can’t resist, and won’t when I next find them while visiting my mother. In the end it’s all about family. I’m glad you’re part of mine. You may not hear from me much, but I keep y’all in mind, I really do. Nice blog. Much love.

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