Monday, November 27, 2017

The way we ate

HALLIE EPHRON: I was in the supermarket last week, loading my cart for Thanksgiving and thinking about the foods I once enjoyed. 

Start with canned soup. 

  • Chicken noodle soup, salt water with very soft noodles and the occasional chicken shred. (37% of DV salt) Still my go-to food (with ginger ale) when I've got a cold. 
  • Canned condensed mushroom soup (9% of DV fat; 36% DV sodium) plus a ton of butter makes the most delicious scalloped potatoes; I made them the first time I cooked for my to-be-husband, and I credit it for hooking him.
  • Casserole of green beans, canned mushroom soup, and canned fried onions (a 2-tablespoon serving of fried onions: 45 calories, of which 30 are fat); sadly this was never a tradition in my family; we gussied up our green beans with a little sugar, butter, and toasted almonds.
  • Cheddar cheese soup on a baked potato (36% DV sodium; half of its calories are fat)
  • Lipton onion soup dip (one serving: 25% of daily sodium allowance, and of course it's best with full-fat sour cream)

Then there's the sweet stuff I once craved:

  • Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows (1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows contains nearly 15 grams of sugar—that's nearly 4 teaspoons)
  • Canned fruit cocktail--should be called sugar cocktail--one serving contains 16 grams of sugar/30% DV.
  • Twinkies (one contains 19 grams of sugar – that's 5 teaspoons)

What are your comfort foods from way back when, and 'fess up: do you indulge when no one's watching?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I used to make Chicken Kiev, my go-to. Fettucini Alfredo. Often served those together! Now they're sort of heart attack food, fried stuff and cheese and cream and butter, you know? 

Cheese fondue! Absolutely. And Beef fondue, with fresh mushroom sauce, which was really reallly reeeaaallllyyy good.  

As a kid, I loved Campbells Chicken Gumbo soup, for some reason, even with the semi-slimy okra. Fritos. OOh, the five layer dip, with salsa, beans, cheese, guac and sour cream. AND Fritos. Triscuits. Cinnamon toast!  I also loved Nehi Grape soda.  AND Bacos.  And Grapenuts.  

Now it's all too carby. Not sure this list makes any sense, and now I don't eat any of it. but it's making me truly hungry.

INGRID THOFT: I still love Grapenuts, although I don’t eat them as often as I used to, given the “too carby” element that Hank noted.  When we were young, my oldest sister would mix up batches of onion dip using the Lipton Onion Soup Mix, and we’d polish off bags of Cape Cod Potato chips without a second thought.  

I also remember having large servings of Brighams chocolate chip ice cream.  I still enjoy the occasional scoop, but it was the sheer quantity that boggles my mind.  

A comfort food that is yummy, but makes my arteries hurt just thinking about it?  Francheesys: hot dogs stuffed with sliced American cheese, smothered in canned tomato soup and baked in the oven.  Yum!

JENN McKINLAY: Used to enjoy? I’m not sure I understand the question. Are we supposed to give up the foods that make life worth living? No, just no. 

I still eat fluffernutter sandwiches (marshmallow fluff and peanut butter), sour cream and cheddar potato chips, and Hostess sno-balls, preferably pink. Essentially, aside from our evening meal served with two veggies and a salad to make sure everyone is getting their greens, I still eat like I’m in middle school. I don’t see it changing any time soon. And now I have Ingrid’s Francheesys to add to the menu!

RHYS BOWEN: Lipton Onion soup dip! Mmmm. Still yummy. I was never a fan of green bean casserole (having not grown up with it) nor of those jello/Cool Whip and fruit concoctions which I was never sure were supposed to be salad or dessert. 

But I do crave fish and chips occasionally, even though it has a week's worth of calories, and a cream tea, and a full English breakfast. I eat one every morning when we stay at our club in Club in London and even sin even more by having an occasional slice of fried bread (fried in bacon fat, of course). But I was never a fan of Twinkies or any of those Little Debbie products my kids used to beg for in their lunches.

John and I eat simply and healthily most of the time so I do allow myself the occasional treat (bacon for Sunday breakfast. Salted caramel lice cream sometimes) As Jenn pointed out, life has to be worth living! 

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I am SO boring. My family never ate much junk food to begin with--my mom and grandmother were both good from-scratch cooks--and by the time I was in my teens my mom had become a certified Health Nut. AND I discovered I didn't get along with MSG. 

Which meant no canned soups or dip mixes or a hundred other things. I did have Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup when I was sick, with ginger ale, and we still keep some in the pantry for under-the-weather emergencies.  And I did adore Fritos. I don't buy them but will give into temptation if they're served at a party!

Rhys, you can't imagine how much I hated Little Debbie anything! Too many years of being called "Little Debbie Cupcake!"

LUCY BURDETTE: Yes on the Lipton onion soup dip only I preferred it with Ruffles. Throughout grad school when I was studying late, I'd live on that dip and chips plus Pepsi. Pepsi! I despise Pepsi now. Sadly can't eat the other stuff because of the salt.

My mother cooked everything with cans or packets of soup. Pot roast (onion), meat loaf (alphabet vegetable), sloppy Joes (tomato). Lots of hot dogs, oh and that reminds me, I used to love salami sandwiches with sweet gherkins and potato chips on them

And sad to say when John and I got married and I inherited his kids, we fed them awful things...rice a roni, many packets of orange mac and cheese, and boboli pizza rounds with jarred sauce. Luckily for all of us, we also had a vegetable garden!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Boboli pizza rounds! I had forgotten those, Lucy. Shoot, I used to feed my kids that every Friday, also with jarred sauce (and sauted green peppers.) My mother also had a whole repertoire of meals made with canned and dried soups. I confess; I still make He-Man Tuna Noodle Ding Dong with good old Cream of Mushroom soup and sour cream. I do omit the crushed potato chip topping.

My mother has since gotten very into healthy cooking, and I have definitely drifted that way as well. I suspect the junky things we ate as kids were perfectly okay for us - the reason we've set them aside is because we're watching our blood pressure/weight/cholesterol level/stomach acids. Ah, to be young and mainlining Coke and M&Ms with no consequences...
 

HALLIE: So do canned and packaged soups still have a place in your cupboard and on your table? Do you still crave the occasional Twinkie? And when's the last time you had onion soup dip and you polished off a bag of Fritos?? 

Share fond memories of health-threatening foods.

117 comments:

  1. There are times [mostly when I’m standing in the grocery store reading labels and cursing all things made with high fructose corn syrup] that I wish we could go back to the days of eating whatever we enjoyed . . . Ring Dings and potato chips come immediately to mind . . . .

    I don’t cook with canned soup too often, but I believe there’s some onion soup mix in the cabinet. When I was in Virginia, some of those blue boxes of pretending-to-be macaroni and cheese found their way into the house, but making macaroni and cheese from scratch is far too easy for me to be tempted to reach for one of those boxes . . . .

    I’m shuddering over Jenn’s fluffernutter sandwich; I never liked marshmallow fluff and still have no problem passing on the marshmallows, but potato chips are a different story. These days, a package of kettle cooked maple bacon potato chips will surely jump into my cart if I dare walk down that aisle in the grocery store . . . .

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    1. Kettle cooked maple bacon potato chips? How did I miss this?!?
      Joan, I'm with you on Fluff. Other than a spoonful on a cup of hot cocoa, I'm not even tempted.

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    2. No marshmallows for me either, but I will try one of your chips!

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    3. I love Fluffernutter sandwiches! Not often, mind you, but they hit the spot!

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  2. Well, I don't recognize some of the junk foods that Ingrid and Hank mentioned (Francheesys or Nehi grape soda) but I certainly grew up eating Campbell's canned soup (chicken noodle or vegetable alphabet).

    Never had Kraft Mac and Cheese (the blue box) for meals. Instead, the Japanese equivalent instant noodle dish would have been Sapporo Ichiban ramen noodles. Way too much sodium and MSG for me to eat now.

    And my favourite sweet treat in my bagged lunch is Joe Louis by Vachon. It is a Quebec company's top pastry. it is similar to a Whoopie pie.
    http://www.vachon.com/en/pastries/jos-louis/#regulier

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    1. And I forgot to add I do like to occasionally eat potato chips. My favourites are Lays All Dressed or Ketchup-flavoured chips. Someone told me these are uniquely Canadian flavours. Is this true, or are these flavoured chips available in the US?

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    2. I love Whoopie pies... it's a New England thing. And I confess, I still eat packaged ramen.
      The other day I read that MSG has gotten a bum rap. That in fact there's nothing toxic about it. Is this possible??

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    3. https://www.lays.ca/products/lays%C2%AE%C2%A0ketchup-potato-chips

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    4. Hallie, don't know about the MSG issue but the combination of fried instant ramen noodles (high fat), high sodium and MSG has turned me off them. We used to eat them 3 times a week when I was a kid!

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    5. Ketchup flavored potato chips?!?! Again, the Canadians are way ahead of us.

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    6. Ever since dill pickle-flavored chips came out, maybe in the early 90's, my oldest daughter looks for them wherever she goes.

      I'm a sea salt and ground pepper chip fan, myself.

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    7. Hallie, I read that, too. But I don't think I imagine the splitting headaches or the bronchial congestion that goes along with big doses of MSG for me.

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  3. Ah ha, ladies, look at the big picture - we're all still here - how bad could it have been! A great trip down memory lane.

    In answer to the Fritos question - Friday. Don't do it often, but sometimes nothing else will do. And I like potato chips squished on sandwiches. Yum. As a kid, I ate bacon horseradish dip with Ruffles - but I think they were called Ridgies - the Wise version, are they still around - and canned chicken noodle soup.

    Always on my shelf - Double Noodle soup - at some point, it lost it's chicken, and cream of celery and cream of mushroom soup-low salt varieties-for the few recipes that use it for a short cut.

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    1. Crushed potato chips on a sandwich? Hmmm. Never had it but I'm thinking on a tuna salad sandwich...

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    2. I have to agree… That sounds pretty darn good.

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    3. Whenever I could sneak it by my mother -- a hamburger with the potato chips on top. Also, after Thanksgiving leftover favorite: a stuffing sandwich, just stuffing and bread...yummy. How wonderful that we are still all here.

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    4. Potato chips are as essential to a tuna sandwich as tuna is. On or with, makes no difference. And they are sine qua non on a tuna noodle casserole, made with mushroom soup of course.

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    5. I used to squish fritos on a peanut butter sandwich.

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  4. Fritos! Twinkies! Canned tamales (with more lard than you need in a year). My mother used packets of dried spaghetti sauce flavoring (with a big can of tomatoes) and taco seasoning. I loved a seasoned meat spread in a can - not quite Spam, but close. I still make my way through a bag of reduced fat Cape Code potato chips now and then, I confess. And the ritual baking of full-butter Christmas cookies are coming along soon.

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    1. Canned tamales! I'd forgotten about them. Oh, Edith, California girl that you are...

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    2. I loved those canned tamales. Ate a lot of them when I was single LOL.

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    3. OMG canned tamales, what a treat those were. Now I keep Trader Joe's tamales in the freezer, not bad at all when you have no access to the read thing.

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    4. We still eat Taco seasoning. McCormick's, low salt, no MSG:-)

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  5. Can we talk about the rather hilariously disgusting typo in what Rhys wrote? Rhys, you enjoy salted caramel LICE cream? I don't even want to know how they make that. LOL

    I still eat Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. I loved Twinkies, Suzy Q's and Devil Dogs but I don't eat them anymore. Since Hostess shut down and then got brought back, they changed something with the process and they taste different. As for Devil Dogs, those things are drier than the Sahara. I do still eat the cinnamon coffee cake snack cakes from Drake's though.

    I eat Fritos once in a while but I really need to stop as they kill my stomach, so I'm swearing off that. Oh and I do love those Little Debbie peanut butter wafer bars.

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    1. Now I have to go look for Little Debbie--how did I miss this brand?

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    2. Thank you, Jay. I spotted that, too, and got a laugh. And, Hallie, I think Little Debbie is a southern thing.

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    3. An all-time great tupo by Rhys.

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    4. Actually, we have Little Debbie in Ohio. All my kids (ages 30, 33, and 47) took them in their lunches.

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    5. Little Debbie is definitely a Texas thing. Unfortunately!

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    6. All time great TUPO Jim? LOL. But I confess to the occasional type when using my IPad. But what's wrong with lice? I understand that more foods are being created from insects these days!

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    7. Hallie, I'm surprised you missed out on Little Debbie until now. They are kind of like the B-team of the snack case business to Hostess and Drake's. Or they were at least. They are extremely popular. I will, on occasion, grab one of their little packages of 6 mini powder donuts but otherwise just stick to the peanut butter wafers.

      I don't think it is just a southern thing though. I am in Massachusetts and the darn things are like Tribbles...they are everywhere.

      Rhys, no bug food please! HA!

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    8. I never heard of Little Debbie products until I was in my 40s. I have still never seen them. I was at an antique shop somewhere in the middle part of Connecticut and found a Little Debbie doll missing one shoe. I thought it was kind of funny, and I bought it. At that time I had no idea what the origin of the doll was. It was another couple of years before I found out that there was actually a snack food company that made Little Debbie products. If I can figure out what I did with the doll, as in find it in a very cluttered closet, I'll give it to my nephew's little girl.

      DebRo

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  6. I saw a recipe recently for crescent roll dough, a round brie cheese, and cranberry sauce baked as a wreath. So pretty and so decadent!

    I still use canned cream of mushroom soup to make pork chops with apricots and mushrooms.

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    1. What a great idea! I bet that is wonderful…

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    2. Apricots? Dried??
      Oh, those refrigerator crescent rolls that come in a roll that you snack on the counter top to unspiral... Actually going to France and having an authentic croissant ruined these for me, but I still love the smell of them baking.

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    3. Hallie, between Rhys' salted caramel lice cream and your "snacking on the counter", Monday has just become really funny. Thanks.

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    4. Fresh sliced mushrooms and onion, tin can apricots, cream of mushroom soup diluted with white wine and apricot juice poured over the chops before baking.

      The crescent roll dough brushed with egg before baking looks pretty wrapped around a wheel of brie.

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  7. Driving back from San Diego yesterday, I scarfed down Ding Dongs and Funyuns - road trip food is the best!

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    1. Yep, road trips are a great excuse for loosening the reins a bit and going into convenience stores while getting gas. On a recent one I discovered double-decker Little Debbies. Had to try one, of course. I tried Funyuns once--never again.

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    2. Funyuns are a potato chip version of onion rings...and gawdawful. Not too mention what it does to your breath.

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  8. I'm with Jenn. Eating foods I like regardless of what's in them is my only vice. I try to eat smaller portions but give up pizza, fries, mac and cheese, cheese in general, and ice cream? Never!

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    1. Give up pizza? Mac and Cheese?!?! AAAAGGGGH! If I did I'd lost ten pounds within a month.

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  9. I just remembered Beefaronu. We loved it! And made your mouth all orange, because the fake orange color was so aggressive!
    And I’m not on the bandwagon with those prepackaged cake things… I used to like Twinkies, but I would never eat the yucky stuff inside.
    We did have these indescribable things, called Stella Doro breakfast treats. Indescribable because I am not sure if they are biscuits, or cookies, or just lumps of buttery cakey stuff. But I saw them at an event a week or so ago, and almost burst into tears. And! They were still delicious.

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    1. Confession: I still eat Stella Doro breakfast treats. They're good once in a while. One of the better cookies from a bag.
      BeefaronI?

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    2. Yes, beefaroni! Typo city today…

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  10. And now I am singing the Beefaroni song!

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    1. Hoooo-ray.... for Beef-a-RO-neeee!

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    2. As purchased cookies go, Stella Dora is not horrible from a nutritional standpoint, less sugar per bite. Which is probably why I don't like them.

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    3. How about Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat!!

      We never actually ate Rice-a-Roni, but I loved the commercials! Ding, ding!

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    4. We loved Rice-a-Roni, haven't bought it in ages. It was so quick and easy at seven p.m. after I'd worked all day, add some peas and grill a couple of pieces of chicken and it was dinner.

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  11. Oh, the things I ate as a child. My mother, with four kids and a full time job working 3-11, was all about canned anything.

    When I first got married it was a lot of jarred/boxed/premade stuff because we didn't know better. We've gotten away from a lot of it over the last 20 years. But my kids still love tuna noodle casserole with canned cream of mushroom soup. Chicken Noodle is a standby for sick days.

    And who can pass up a bag of potato chips (although I passed on the Lipton soup dip because we always bought Bison brand in Buffalo)????

    Mary/Liz

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  12. Rhys, thank you for the phrase "salted caramel lice cream". Cheered my heart on this Monday morning. And thanks to all the Jungle Reds and its Commenters for this blog, including its typos, which is fun, thoughtful, and thought provoking.

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  13. I'm with Jenn on the road trip food. It doesn't count as bad if it's easy to eat one-handed when you drive, right? My emergency backup food on my recent road trip to North Carolina was a bag of Don-ettes--those little powdered sugar doughnuts that leave white stuff on everything.

    As a kid, I devoted several years of my life to fried bologna sandwiches: white bread, yellow mustard, a slice of Velveeta, and a slice of bologna fried in butter. Served with potato chips and Pepsi, of course. Campbell's Chicken Noodle was a go-to when I was sick, and canned Hormel chili was an occasional treat when Dad and I wanted to sneak one past my strictly "nothing spicy" mother. But the big comfort food back then was tuna noodle casserole. Man, I loved that stuff, especially the day after, when I ate it cold from the refrigerator. Because my mother was not an adventuresome cook, our family's version was just cream of mushroom soup with milk, tuna, and cooked noodles. No little canned peas, no potato chips, not even a sprinkle of parmesan and paprika on top. I stopped making it when I got married because it was too bland for Warren, and I firmly believe you don't mess with comfort food recipes. I have made it from time to time in more recent years, but not for a while. Some things should remain fond childhood memories.

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    1. I don't do well with road food, so I pack a cooler. Favorite thing is cold boiled shrimp, lots of protein in a small package, little sandwiches, chicken or ham, apples and cheese, a few cookies for when the sweet tooth becomes unbearable. We've made road trips to Canada twice this fall, never stopping at Tim Horton's except to pee.

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    2. I'm traveling with you, Ann - my favorite bring-along road food is cold fried chicken and apple pie.

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    3. Hey Hallie, you're on. However isn't apple pie hard to eat while driving? And I think the fried chicken should be legs because they have a handle.

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  14. A typical Friday supper when I was growing up was Campbell's Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich made with processed cheese squares -- if I need a comfort meal today, this is still the go-to menu (although the cheese usually gets upgraded). And there is usually a can of cream of chicken soup in the pantry for that one casserole recipe that calls for it.

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    1. Christine, Campbell's Tomato Soup is still a staple in our house, eaten only with grilled cheese sandwiches about twice a year. I also like a cottage cheese sandwich: Hot buttered toast in a bowl with a dollop of cottage cheese and covered with tomato soup. That's my go to meal when I feel unwell.

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  15. I make a killer meatloaf with Lipton's Onion Soup, and I shall never change. When Julie and I were first together, we had this thing about the Hostess Orange cupcakes, very hard to find, but when we did, we stocked up. Now there are no baked goods consumed that I don't make myself. My neighbors adore me because I distribute the cakes and pies freely. This isn't altruistic. I do it to limit my own consumption.

    There are few canned goods in the pantry, and what there are, other than the above, are tomatoes, whole, diced and pureed, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tuna. I cook most everything from scratch, including the pinto beans for chili. Since I've retired, I've expanded my repertoire and acquired a decent reputation for being a good cook.

    Our rare ventures into the seriously unhealthy include fried chicken and chicken fried steak, both with cream gravy. Maybe once every couple of years. It's a southern thing. On the other hand, our favorite southern dishes are things like gumbo, jambalaya, beans and greens, red beans and rice, black-eyed peas with fresh hocks, navy beans with ham, and cornbread with all the above. My East Coast partner is developing a definite drawl.

    Anyone remember Kool-Aid? Dear God I raised my kids on red dye #2 and sugar. They all still have teeth, most of them. I think

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    1. Yay, Pinto beans... there's such a huge difference between starting with canned versus dried.
      Hostess ORANGE cupcakes! Make mine pink, please.

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    2. Yep, good old Kool-Aid. Also known as "bug juice" by my cousins. Which, ick.

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    3. We called it bug juice, too. the colors were intense.

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    4. Yes. We also survived Kool-Aid. Probably by buying the unsweetened and putting in less sugar. Another brand came out in the 60s that had Goofy Grape, Rootin Tootin Raspberry, and some orange flavor.

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    5. Ann, I remember Hostess Orange cupcakes! I liked them!

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    6. Do I remember Kool-Aid...oh hell yeah I do. Loved the stuff. And don't forget those awesome commercials featuring Kool-Aid Man!

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  16. In high school I used to go through boxes of Utz potato chips, and an awful lot of Frostie Root Beer. I also ate an obscene number of fast-food burgers and fries. I think my favorite sugary pastry snack was HoHos. And Sealtest Heavenly Hash ice cream. Being good Catholics, every Friday night we would have fish sticks, with really bad frozen french fries.

    I remember my father-in-law bringing the same green beans/cream of mushroom soup casserole to countless potlucks over the years.

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    1. Mmmm, frozen fish sticks. My kids loved them, or that's the reason I give for why I made them.

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    2. Jim, where are you from? I thought Sealtest was a southwestern Ohio-only brand.

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    3. Public school had fish sticks every Friday. They were pretty bad.

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    4. We have Sealtest in New England.

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    5. We had Sealtest in Buffalo, too.

      Mary/Liz

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    6. Well, what do you know? I thought it was local.

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    7. I forgot about frozen fish sticks -- also a Friday night staple. Can you tell I grew up in a Catholic household when meatless Fridays were still a thing?

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    8. Throughout Lent, my mother alternated frozen fish sticks and tuna noodle casserole with peas. It was years before I could eat either after I left the house.

      Mary/Liz

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  17. Jello 1-2-3 and Chef Boyardee Lasagna!

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    1. I had to look up Jello 1-2-3... apparently discontinued in 1996 it separated into three distinct layers: a creamy top, a mousse-like middle, and jello on the bottom.

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    2. It was such an elegant-looking dessert. But it was still Jello. I had a box in the pantry for years before pitching it.

      I used to love pudding, all kinds: chocolate, chocolate fudge, butterscotch, pistachio, tapioca. And of course, the very best lemon meringue pie was made with the Jello lemon pudding.

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  18. I loved almost all Hostess products when I was a kid. Except sno-balls. Didn't care for the marshmallow coconut combination. We still occasionally get Twinkies if we're on a road trip. Onion dip and chips. Isn't that a staple? I love salty, crunchy snacks. I have to watch it. I can too easily OD on tortilla chips or Fritos. I've been stress-eating potato chips this week. Bleah. My husband and I used to buy Hamburger Helper when we were first married. That wasn't bad but I've never read the ingredients. And somewhere along the way we kids thought canned Vienna sausages were a treat. Not anymore!

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    1. I used to like to turn the marshmallow coating of a sno-ball into a taffy pull. Then, disgustingly, I ate it.

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  19. Speaking of discontinued foods... I am still mourning the demise of raisin biscuits, aka Garibaldi biscuits.

    And remember when Ritz Crackers were an ingredient? As in Mock Apple Pie (no apples; filling made of ritz crackers water and sugar. Did anyone ever actually eat this?

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    1. I think they still put the recipe on the box. I never tried it, or know anyone who did.

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    2. I think you can get those raisin biscuits through the Vermont Country Store catalog.

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    3. My Ritz pie version was a pecan meringue crust, filled with Cool Whip. Was pretty good to

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    4. Raisin biscuits are still available from both Vermont Country Store and Amazon.....but you have to buy 3 packs. Such a fond memory from childhood....I splurge ever couple of years. Another weakness is Jaffa Cakes :)

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  20. When I was a kid, my mother made spaghetti out of a box, and added ground beef--Chef Boyardee, maybe. It had a can of tomato paste in the box, along with the spaghetti itself, and a packet of spices. She always served it with mashed potatoes or canned baked beans. Until I was in my late twenties I had no concept of one starch per meal, thanks to this weird meal combo.

    One of our staple meals when the kids were all at home was tuna noodle casserole, with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and frozen peas. Crushed potato chips on top were a once-in-awhile addition. I also used to make baked chicken breasts smothered in two different Campbell's cream soups, plus a can of milk. Cream of chicken with cream of mushroom was our favorite, but once in awhile I'd use cream of celery.

    Campbell's used to make a frozen potato soup that was divine, with real potato taste. Just add milk, preferably whole. It was my favorite comfort food as a child, and for a long time as an adult, too. Served with saltines, of course. Now I rarely have saltines in the house.

    Remember Beanie Weenee? We ate it when we were children, along with the non-bean Vienna sausages from the can. Oddly, it was how I knew I was pregnant the last two times, because I had a sudden craving for Beanie Weenee.

    Another fondly remembered dish, usually on Friday nights, is salmon patties. Mother made--and still does, as do I--these with canned salmon, an egg, and crushed saltines (so I rarely make them). I always enjoyed getting one of the bones and crushing it with my teeth.

    My husband has a whole other set of foods that he fantasizes about, most of which he treated himself to during his long drives on his lecture tours around the US. Fried cherry pies, doughnut holes, McDonald's ice cream, Wendy's Frosties, chocolate milk from the convenience store. And remember those yucky beef jerky sticks? He flirted with those for awhile, too.

    What a fun topic, Hallie!

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    1. Karen, my daughter reminded me of salmon patties when I was last with her, a childhood favorite. Since then I've made them a couple of times, substituted panko crumbs for the saltines. They are a hit and will be on our Friday Lenten menu list.

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    2. Ann, I use a Robin Ellis recipe for salmon patties using fresh salmon, with lots of fresh dill. So yummy!

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    3. I was explaining to my daughter that I could do the same thing with fresh salmon. I'll have a look at your recipe. Canned salmon just isn't what it used to be!

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    4. Debs, I want your recipe for salmon patties...

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    5. Ann and Hallie, here it is. So simple and so good. I just use regular flour, usually white whole wheat, instead of the chickpea.

      https://robin-ellis.net/2016/11/05/a-bunch-of-dill-and-no-potato-fishcakes/

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  21. I nearly laughed out loud when I read Hallie's opening to this post, because I must sheepishly admit, the green bean casserole she describes graced my Thanksgiving table on Thursday. I have almost completely revised the way I eat, and I NEVER make things like that otherwise, but I took the approach that the meal was going to be the traditional stuff that Bob's family likes and have always enjoyed at the holiday. So it included both that casserole and (to my taste) disgustingly sugary candied yams.

    Though I have completely cleaned up my act as far as what I cook at home and what I generally eat, I also admit that when my son was growing up, I let him eat garbage. Truth be told, I just got worn down. How many nights in a row can one argue over food? In the end, I let him eat Chef-Boyardee stuff from a can, bright orange mac and cheese, and hot dogs ad nauseum.

    And I, too, always keep a couple cans of Campbell's chicken noodle soup in the pantry because if one of us is feeling really, really sick, that's what we want. Hot tea and dry toast if we're too sick to keep soup down, but graduating to the canned soup as soon as we're able. Hey, there's nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence when we're sick, right? Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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    1. I'm a big one for alphabet soup, too. It's educational.

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  22. I used Lipton Onion Soup Mix last week for my brisket (sliced onions, brisket, a packet of the soup mix, a jar of chili sauce -- find it next to the ketchup -- and, a can of Coke -- cook for a long time). Other than that, I haven't used prepared soups for years. We have a local merchant, the Soup Girl. It's a store that sells "home-made" soups, many vegetarian.

    My naughtiest food cravings were, as a child: Hostess Sno Balls; as a college student: fluffernutters and Tab; as a young mom: Hawaiian punch and doritos; when I was teaching: eating an afternoon snack.

    These days, I have a Reeses peanut butter thing about once a month, and I treat myself to a scone around once a week.

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    1. I make that brisket, Denise - but with a bottle of bear instead of a coke. It's superb.

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  23. I grew up eating canned soup and my Mom used to make stew with Lipton Onion soup mix. Now I make home made soup and my boyfriend refuses to eat canned soup anymore. I also make onion soup mix from scratch because the boxed stuff is too salty. I never had a lot of snack cakes, soda or chips growing up since my Mom didn’t buy them. She would buy fresh fruit for snacks and we could have as much of that as we wanted.

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  24. Blushing bunny was a favorite Saturday lunch. Condensed tomato soup mixed with an equal part of Velveeta, melted together and poured over saltines. All the fat, salt and processed food you could pack into one serving! Perhaps once in a couple of years, if life is getting me down, I still indulge, though the guilt almost outweighs the comfort.

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  25. Okay, Gigi's fried bologna reminded me that as a kid I LOVED fried Spam sandwiches with mayo. Do they still make Spam? And my best friend and I loved to take Vienna sausages for our picnics in the woods. With Triscuits. Yum. Sometimes we had Hormel Potted meat on Saltines.

    Now all I can think is "meat by-products..."

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  26. Hey everybody! Triscuits are not bad - the original style has 3 ingredients: 100% whole wheat, salt, and oil. They are also non-GMO. I used to love loading them up with velveeta and jalapenos for Triscuit nachos. I still do it, but use real cheese now. It really is a healthy snack.

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    1. I love triscuits but they do pack a lot of salt.
      I'm also a fan of shredded wheat... which is basically a triscuit without the salt and oil.

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  27. I still eat terribly. A while after I learned I had diabetes, I made the concession that I had to stop bringing two things into the house. Five pound bags of Dominos sugar and ice cream. The ice cream not because I had got religion. I simply could not stop myself from eating it all until there was none left in the carton. Swearing off only those two things and my weight dropped 20 pounds over time. I still need to lose 20 more to reach an acceptable Body Mass Index. Now I read that artificial sweeteners are a no-no. (They provoke cravings for carbohydrates apparently.) I enjoy 4C half & half ice tea-lemonade. It's made with a Splenda sugar substitute. I can't tell the difference from sugar. Though, like KoolAid the price per pound is astronomical. Now that I am past 60, I find I eat a lot less than I did when I was younger. Usually no need for seconds.

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  28. Does anyone remember Cheese Tidbits? They where cheese crackers shaped like sticks? And they were the greatest thing EVER. I could down a whole regular size box like it was nothing.

    Sadly, they are long gone. But if they were ever brought back, I'd fill a room in my house with them.

    http://www.londonderrynh.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/20130913_sherry_tidbits.jpg

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    1. This is reminding me of Cheetos. I think I could still power through a bag of them in about ten minutes. Remembering how they stained your fingers orange. Now why did Cheetos survive but Cheese Tidbits bit the dust?

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    2. Hallie, I wish I knew the answer to your question. Because while I will eat some Cheetos once in a while, Cheese Tid-Bits are the food of the gods.

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  29. Spaghetti Os! I used to love eating them with lots of Kraft grated cheese. I can only imagine the sodium content!

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  30. Fritos. Doritos. Cheetos. Philosophical question: why do orange snack foods end in 'o'?

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  31. When we were growing up, we had very few of the food products discussed here today. We did eat Campbell Soup but that was mostly a Saturday lunch thing, if my mom couldn't think of anything else for us to have for lunch. All of those snack foods, like the Twinkies, etc, were off-limits in our house. I didn't eat them until I was in college when I purchased them from the dormitory vending machines. (I just HAD to find out what I was missing!) To this day, I have still not tasted Kool-Aid. I remember that we used to beg our mom to buy it for us, and she just told us that it wasn't good for us and would destroy our teeth!

    We were allowed to eat things like potato chips and Fritos at the holidays, and sometimes in the summer if we were having a picnic somewhere. Soda was reserved for our birthdays and the holidays. Now that I think of it, my mom served us very nutritious food despite the fact that money was often very tight. When I was in high school, my dad was diagnosed with a heart condition and our food choices were even healthier after that. Mom did serve us Kraft macaroni and cheese from time to time, mostly on Fridays, and I never liked it! I always wanted to try fish sticks but my mom vetoed that, and instead we had fresh fish on the Fridays that we didn't have the macaroni and cheese.

    DebRo

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  32. Jenn, you must have high metabolism because you manage to stay slim despite of these high calorie foods that you love!

    Great question. I love cheese. Now I can only eat a little bit without harmful effects. If I eat too much cheese, I get sick. I used to love bread. Since I developed an allergy to whole wheat, I cannot eat bread anymore. I seem to have lost my taste for bread in general. Chocolate is another favorite. Some theories say chocolate is good for your health. Some say chocolate is not good for you.

    Diana

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    1. Chocolate is good for you. So is red wine. :-)

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