Thursday, March 28, 2019

I Used to Love You, But Now...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: There's been a lot of discussion online the past few days whirling around an essay written by  Tracy Clark-Flory. Titled "Jagged Little Pill is Actually Very Bad???" it describes how the author, re-listening to Alanis Morrisette's groundbreaking 1995 album, discovered her tastes had changed dramatically from when, as a middle schooler, she had swooned over "You Oughta Know." It was, she said, objectively bad.

The piece prompted quite a few counter-essays, and Twitter blew up, with the most common reaction being a variation of "I've got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is flipping you off." 

It also got a lot of people quoting from author Jo Walton's 2010 essay, "The Suck Fairy." Here's her definition of this extremely useful concept:

The Suck Fairy is an artifact of re-reading. If you read a book for the first time and it sucks, it’s nothing to do with her. It just sucks. Some books do. The Suck Fairy comes in when you come back to a book that you liked when you read it before, and on re-reading—well, it sucks. You can say that you have changed, you can hit your forehead dramatically and ask yourself how you could possibly have missed the suckiness the first time—or you can say that the Suck Fairy has been through while the book was sitting on the shelf and inserted the suck.

We can all instantly recognize the truth of this. Books, movies, food, places - all can be visited by the Suck Fairy. When I was a
kid, we had a special meal reserved for nights my parents were going out - Kraft Mac 'n Cheese and fried Spam. I LOVED that meal. Not only was it tasty, but the babysitter would let me read at the table while eating, which my parents would never do. Then we moved, (and moved, and moved), I grew up, and I went for a decade and a half without eating fried Spam.  Finally, as an adult in my own apartment, I prepared the delicious dish for my boyfriend, Ross. His mother had basically cooked with cans of soup and frozen food, so he was up for anything. I fried up the Spam, plated the Mac n Cheese and... discovered my tastes had dramatically changed since I was ten. Everything was too salty, the Spam had a weird texture, the joy and excitement of the meal was missing. I had spent the past two years in grad school, reading while eating because I had to to get everything done; the magic was gone.


The Suck Fairy had gotten to my dinner.



Sometimes it's the world that has changed, not us. I found this out when reading the Little House books aloud to Youngest. Just as I had when I was a girl, she loved the adventures of Laura, and thrilled to the descriptions of the vast woods, the great prairie, the blizzards and the trips to town. Meanwhile, I was horrified to realize 1. Ma was working like a DOG twelve hours a day or more (seriously, read the description of making cheese and your knees and hands will begin to hurt vicariously.) 2. Pa was breaking federal law and violating treaties with Indian nations to steal land for himself and 3. the books are flat-out racist in their descriptions of Indians.

The Suck Fairy strikes again!



Amusement parks, TV shows of my childhood, movies I thought were funny but turn out to be one long "joke" about being stoned...there are many, many things that don't stand the test of time. How about you, Reds? What are the books or movies or experiences has the Suck Fairy ruined for you?




HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Beefaroni. I used to love it! Love! Now it's...orange. Frozen orange juice--used to be such a treat. Now--weird. Who would drink that? Nancy Drew books, goes without saying. But I hold on to the result of the books, not the books.  (You know what, though? Friends is still funny. And Seinfeld.) Do you think Raising Arizona would still be funny? I'm afraid to watch it.  Oh, I wonder about Big Macs, too. Again, afraid for so many reasons.


 
LUCY BURDETTE: Canned tamales. The kind with orange congealed fat on top when you open the can. I would scrape that stuff out and then eat the rest myself. Ick. Boboli pizza crust. Frozen pot pies. Rice-a-roni. Mac and Cheese in a box. All of that is no more. Oh, and I insisted to John and my sister and Brother-in-law that The In-laws with Peter Falk was the funniest movie ever ever ever. I made them watch it this fall and guess what? Hardly a chuckle. Bummer.
 






DEBORAH CROMBIE: Vienna sausages. My friend and I used to pretend-camp with cans of Vienna sausage and a box of Triscuits. We loved them!! Now, I shudder to think. What is in those things??? Hostess Twinkies. Nuff said. Julia, my special treat when my parents were out or traveling was eating Swanson's Chicken Pot pies in front of the TV with my grandmother. I could still eat a chicken pot pie in a pinch, but they are awfully salty. And gummy. I'm afraid the thrill is gone. 


The Bobbsey Twins. Ack. Racist. Sexist. Not that the newer PC versions were an improvement.
And recently I've been reading Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit to my granddaughter, who finds it fascinating. But I'm thinking it's a little...creepy. And it really makes me want to put those good-girl bunnies in a pie.




 


HALLIE EPHRON: I LOVED those canned tamales. But back in the day, Mexican food hadn't become a thing in my neck of the woods. And I'm here to tell you, Big Macs are still delicious. With extra pickles. Also still amazing are potato chips with sour cream and onion soup mix dip.
The things I used to love but can no longer face except under duress? Fruit cocktail. Cheetohs (speaking of orange). Campbells vegetable soup – “alphabet soup.” Red Jell-O. My after-school snack was Ritz crackers schmeered with peanut butter.

I grew up loving what we called "mushroom potatoes" -- basically scalloped potatoes drowned in a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. I made it the other day and it was... delicious.



JENN McKINLAY: Does blue eye shadow count? Because I loved me some deep blue and metallics pink eye shadow in the 80's. I also used to love shopping malls and now I don't hate them so much as can't find my way out and so avoid them. Otherwise, I have to say my inner child is still pretty much large and in charge and I still love all the goofy stuff of my misspent youth.



RHYS BOWEN: When I was a new bride older women were always giving me recipes that contained cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, Kool Whip and Jello. They were actually pretty tasty (not so much the jello with fruit and marshmallows in it). 


But recent disappointments include watching Rudolph on TV. Everyone is so horrid to a kid because he is different. What sort of message is that? They only love him because he saves Christmas!  And also Mary Stewart books used to be my favorites but when I've re-read recently I've been horrified at the holes in the plot. She creates such a good atmosphere that I didn't notice them before.

JULIA: How about you, dear readers? Has the Suck Fairy been rummaging through your childhood memories as well?

103 comments:

  1. My childhood memories remain reasonably intact although I must agree with Rhys on the disappointment with “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer;” Charlie Brown, however, continues to make me smile . . . .

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    1. Joan, if you don't mind some slight vulgarity, Saturday Night Live did a hilarious tae on "they only love him when he saves Christmas."

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  2. Twinkies used to be my favorite. Now they taste like chemicals. Avocados were my other childhood favorite food - what a blessing they are Suck-Fairy-proof! I still love the crunchy orange Cheetos - OMG, they are dangerously good. I also grew up on canned tamales but haven't given them the Suck Fairy test. Hey, Trader Joe's makes a pretty good frozen one. I ate a lot of canned fruit cocktail, and always saved the cherry for the last bite. Sweetened peanut butter like Jif is another one I don't need - have been eating Teddy's (or Adams when I can grab a jar in the northwest) for decades. Also canned Chinese food - no thanks. Thanks goodness for progress.

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    1. Trader Joe's Green Chili and Cheese tamales are a freezer staple. I think they are as good as any I've tasted other than the bite size ones made by Latina women in Texas for Christmas. Deb, you know what I'm talking about.

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    2. Lucy Roberta, the sweet corn ones are good too, sort of like dessert. I don't like the ones with meat in them so much, but the chicken green chili are all that bad.

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    3. Edith, I loved those Cheetos ( very addictives) and probably would still do if they didn't contain monosodium glutamate to which I'm highly intolerant.

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  3. I'm sure there are things that I liked growing up that I wouldn't like now. However, I couldn't tell you what they are. I tend to still enjoy the things I liked then even now.

    I also don't let the prevailing attitudes of today affect those things I liked that are from the distant past. Something like the Charlie Chan movies. Growing up, I loved those movies and if I behaved all week, I was allowed to stay up very late on Saturday nights and watch the movies on Channel 38 (this was before cable).

    Of course, nowadays all people do is complain about the fact that two white guys played the lead role. I recently bought the first two box set collections of the movies and realized that the first movie in the set was made 80 freaking years ago! So obviously they weren't going to really cast an Asian actor at that time. I'm not in the habit of time traveling recasting of roles. I loved the movies as a kid and I look forward to watching them again, hoping that I still love the movies now.

    As for Rudolph, I get the hue and cry over the bullying angle that is being retroactively employed over the story. But it is a Christmas tradition in my house. The first broadcast of the season finds me on the couch and singing along (badly) to all the songs. But then I do something more people should learn to do...I move on with my life. I'm more concerned with the murder that is committed at the end of the holiday special that took me 40 years to realize happened.

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    1. The original Rudolph goes on our calendar as soon as we know when it will be broadcast. It's right up there with midnight mass and Easter vigil as a holy day of obligation.

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    2. The murder?!? I'm trying to think - is it Bumble? The Burl Ives Santa? Dang, now I'm reimagining the whole story as a mystery. Somebody should do it.

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    3. Julia, remember the bird that was a swimmer but didn't fly on the Island of Misfit Toys? At the end, when the elf is tossing the toys out of the sleigh, he gives them all umbrellas to float down to their new homes.

      But when he gets to the bird, he looks at the bird, then the umbrella and back again. Realizing the bird couldn't hold the umbrella, he lets the bird go. But remember, HE COULDN'T FLY!!!! He would've just plummeted to earth and died.

      Thus the elf is a murderous SOB!

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  4. Julia, my spam memory includes having it with Velveeta on a grilled cheese sandwich. What a treat. And I can't imagine eating it now.

    As for books, I think they've got better and better. And so has the audience of readers. I used to be satisfied with a good story. Now I require much more than that. My first requirement is that the author had a good editor. I want sentences that stop me in my tracks, to be read over and over. I'd rather have sharp needles poked in my eyes than ever read Dan Brown again. (I've just broken my vow never to publicly criticize a writer, but seriously?)

    Lurking on my pantry shelf is a jar of dried beef. My childhood treat was "chip beef on toast." This involves sauteing the meat in butter, adding flour and then milk to make a white sauce, and pouring the lot over white bread toast, preferably Wonder Bread. I want it once more. Wonder if Julie will eat it?

    Things I used to love but now can do without include red meats, French fries, anything that involves a can of cream soup, Christmas movies, all of them, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the South Coast mall in Costa Mesa, canned pears, lamb in any form, and dressing like an adult. I no longer own any pantyhose and wear a bra only when leaving the house.

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    1. I used to LOVE chipped beef on toast--I thought of that last night Finta. Now it's the sodium content that would do me in!

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    2. GOOD-BE pantyhose! But whose brilliant idea was it to replace it with control-top-bottom-and-middle everything?

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    3. Darling Hallie, I got rid of the control top everything. There are just some things we can't control. I said I'd never wear pull on elastic waist pants. Now they are a staple.

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    4. My mother would make creamed tuna on toast - she and I were the only two out of six who liked it! Back when she used the oil from the tuna can for the fat in the cream sauce.

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    5. Finta, creamed dried beef is still comfort food to me. Now that I'm alone at home, I was thrilled to find that Walmart has half-sized jars of dried beef, more than enough for one person.

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    6. "There are some things we just can't control." Finta, I laughed out loud. This is going to be my new go-to-line whenever someone or something is demanding I conform my appearance to magazine standards.

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  5. When my younger brother and I were young, we loved Sunday night suppers because we got to sit at the kitchen island, which was a treat. Every other meal was at the dining room table. The menu was Spam (not fried, just right out of the can), raw carrots, and shoe string potatoes (also from a can). And we drank apple juice from Daddy's shot glasses, pretending we were cowboys at the bar in a saloon (like the Saturday morning westerns on TV). I'd be happy to eat with my brother now, but definitely not with the same menu!

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    1. wow that's some menu! I can picture you two at the counter drinking shots--so cute

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    2. Well, that menu is— Showstopping. But very very cute!

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    3. Mary, there's enough salt in that to brine a 30-pound turkey.

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    4. Sounds like your mother was also getting Saturday night off, Mary! After a busy week, you have to love a meal you can prep for your kids in five minutes.

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  6. I googled Spam and found some very interesting stuff.

    "As a consequence of World War II rationing and the Lend-Lease Act, Spam also gained prominence in the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher later referred to it as a "wartime delicacy".In addition to increasing production for the U.K., Hormel expanded Spam output as part of Allied aid to the similarly beleaguered Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev declared: "Without Spam we wouldn't have been able to feed our army". Throughout the war, countries ravaged by the conflict and faced with strict food rations came to appreciate Spam."

    "The billionth can was sold in 1959, and in 2007, the seven billionth can of Spam was sold.In 2012, the eight billionth can of Spam was sold."

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    1. One of my favorite cookbooks/reads is SQUARE MEALS by Jane and Michael Stern. Cookbook and history lovers, you need to have this book, which goes into loving detail on the various cuisines of 20th century America - ladies luncheons, diner food, WWII cooking, etc. It has a whole section on Spam - and an authentic recipe for your creamed chipped beef on toast, Finta!

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  7. I think I've mentioned this but...David Eddings' THE BELGARIAD and THE MALLOREAN. They don't suck as much as the writing isn't as strong as I once thought it was. It's the overuse of "peculiar," I know it is.

    I gave The Girl my Nancy Drew books and...yes, they didn't stand the test of time. But I love them for the memories they gave me and the affinity for mysteries. Same with the Little House books. Yeah, looking at the writing now it's...not good to say the least. But I have many fond memories of hiding in a closet from my siblings, Little House book and a flashlight in hand. Plus receiving a matched set of the paperbacks for my birthday.

    I think you can love the memories and feelings a thing engenders while realizing the thing itself is Not As Great As You Thought It Was.

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    1. I feel the same way about some of the Golden Age science fiction that first turned me on to the genre back when I was in middle school in the 70s. It's not that the writing is bad, per se. It's just...clunky. There are far too few women and way too many strong young white men with crew cuts. There's a LOT of world building, but characters show the distinct frayed edges of cardboard.

      Not all, mind you - there are golden age SF short stories I'd put against any of the best "literary" short stories ever written. But many don't age well.

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  8. Spam— I have to say I have never tasted one morsel of it. There used to be a thing called Carl Buddig chipped beef? It came in a packet. And we loved it. Wait overnight tonight and I loved alphabet safe! And chicken noodle soup and chicken gumbo soup in a can. I just bet ... they’re not that good anymore. But they might be!
    And I remember the moment very clearly, the first time I had a Frito. And they are still fabulous .

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    1. Fritos - agree, still fabulous!

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    2. Yes, Fritos are great but thanks to my doctor's complaining, I can't really eat them very often.

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    3. Fritos are great, but I agree with Jay - I swear I can feel my blood pressure rising, chip by chip. The sheer amount of salt we used to consume is staggering. My grandmother, born in 1909, lived to a ripe old age of 88; I suspect she was well-preserved because she was brined.

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  9. OK, I have no idea how that happened. “Wait overnight tonight “ I fear was transcribed from the TV news that is on. Alphabet soup, I meant. Gah.

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    1. From Facebook, "It helps if you imagine autocorrect in your phone as a tiny little elf who is trying so hard to be helpful but is in fact quite drunk." Michael Marshall Smith

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    2. Lyda, good thing I didn't have a mouthful when I read that! Now I'll be wondering how my little elf got drunk!

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    3. And that elf does MORE than correct. It adds its own thoughts. Gah. And they drink dew, right?

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  10. The Suck Fairy will probably take away my Southern Card for this but...Gone With the Wind. The book, the movie, the music, the Scarlett mythology. All makes me cringe in 2019.

    Fritos--Honey BBQ twists. Best snack ever.

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    1. Ramona, I'm half-Alabamian and I'll agree with you. Even if the cringy racial elements were absent, it's just not that well written. It's an historical potboiler, like FOREVER AMBER or CAPTAIN BLOOD. People bought 'em for the heavily implied sex, scandal and adventure - not because they were works of art.

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    2. There's more than heavily implied sex in Forever Amber. It contains shocking sex!

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  11. Such a good topic! Lucy, I am so disappointed to hear that The In-Laws didn't pass the test of time -- I, too, loved that movie. And Finta, thank you for bringing up the topic of Velveeta. How did we all think that was so wonderful, once upon a time? And Edith, I had forgotten about canned Chinese food. But I remember well when it was a treat. Of course, there wasn't much real Asian food being served here in Ohio at the time, so I guess we had no way to know better.

    Now the whole issue of recipes using a can of cream soup is one of more ambivalence for me. I don't use them anymore, for obvious reasons of sodium content and chemical preservatives. But I do find myself missing the valuable short cut they constituted in getting a meal on the table.

    The food I've been afraid to revisit is White Castle sliders. They are still hugely popular, and I have such fond memories of them from my youth. But I don't eat much red meat any more, and I suspect those little celebrations of greasy beef and onions might send my digestive tract into full scale revolt. I think I'm better off clinging to my happy memories.

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    1. Yes, I had wondered about those...they were delicious, back then, even while you knew they were awful.

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    2. Susan, I confess to you now, I still use "cream of" soups in some recipes. I buy the low-sodium version, and don't add any other salt to the dish. They're just SO MUCH easier than making a white sauce, thickening it, adding seasonings, etc, etc.

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  12. Lots of the above would trigger the Suck Fairy at this point. Jenn/Julia, the blue eye shadow photo is hysterically funny. Big hair, too, right?

    TV dinners. I used to love them, especially the little dessert in the middle. Now? No way, Jose.

    Tuna noodle casserole. We loved it, and it was a staple in our household when my children were small. But along with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, I can't think of the last time I used canned soup, either as an actual dish, or as the basis for one. We do eat pot pie, though, every now and then. Marie Callender's is pretty good, and there is one from a natural food company that is even better. It's about the only comfort food from our childhoods we still eat.

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    1. YES! With the gluey mashed potatoes and bad peas. YUM.

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    2. TV dinners! I LOVED the little apple-stuff dessert in the middle, nice and warm from the oven. Definitely best left in memory, and not attempted today.

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    3. Naturally, my favorites were whichever kind had either chocolate pudding or chocolate cake. I chose accordingly!

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  13. Tin can tamales, tin can ravioli, and creamed tuna on toast. I agree with Hallie about the sour cream and onion soup (try Knorr leek soup) dip.

    I'm thinking about re-reading John Fowles's books (French Lt's Woman and others) and hope they pass the suck test. I was blown away the first time I read them.

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    1. The creamed tuna on toast or mashed potatoes is something from Julie's childhood, not mine. We have it now and then, particularly during lent. I add green peas and it is actually pretty good. Certainly it's a comfort food.

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    2. I'd forgotten about canned raviolis!

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    3. Stay away from them, Edith. In a fit of nostalgia/looking for super quick sturdy lunches, I bought several cans for the kids when they were pre-teen and younger. I promised the raviolis would be a treat - OMG, what a let down. My children would not eat them, and after I took one bite, I could see why. I guess today's kids taste buds are a lot more cosmopolitan than ours were.

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  14. We had many many lunches that consisted of Campbell's tomato soup and hot dogs when I was a kid. Now I enjoy hot dogs as a rare treat--when my brother brings them to us from Tony Packo's in Toledo. But that tomato soup? I had a couple of cans on the shelf to make when I didn't feel well and it tasted like uncooked flour. And sure enough, one of the ingredients was wheat flour. Don't remember it tasting like that!!

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    1. I admit Campbell's tomato soup is a staple, always served with either grilled cheese sandwiches or with cottage cheese and toast. It's an icon.

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    2. Packo's in Toledo? I know that place...thanks to an episode of M*A*S*H*. Is it really as good as it is made out to be?

      I had the tomato soup growing up, but can't stand it now. However, I'm a fiend for the Campbell's Chicken Noodle.

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    3. Jay, yes, Tony Packo's is as good as its reputation--and we get ALL the fixin's. And Campbell's chicken noodle soup is still a mainstay for when the guys get sick.

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  15. I grew up in a household of women who could not cook! They were very gifted at a number of creative arts but that disappeared when they entered the kitchen. I can honestly say there is no childhood meal that I want to revisit.
    However, I recently found a book that had been a favorite as a child titled "Half Magic" and I was so happy that it was still so fun to read. The author, Edward Eager, wrote seven stand alone books with a theme of magic entering the everyday lives of children. They still work for me. Didn't we all want magic when we were eight? Wouldn't we welcome some magic now?

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    1. YES! Edward Eager books are my VERY favorite. I have copies and copies here, just in case a kid comes over. Knights Castle, and the Thyme Garden, and Magic by the Lake, and Magic or Not. They are still perfect, trust me. xox

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    2. Another old children's series that remains evergreen - the Freddy the Pig books by Walter Brooks. The technology is antiquated - the first of the books was published in the 1920s - but the characters remain as compelling as ever. I bought a bunch in reissue for Youngest, and she loved them.

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  16. So after reading all this, I think how amazing is it that the movie The Wizard of Oz is still endlessly watchable. Please, don't tell me if it isn't. And it was made in 1939, around the time of those first Charlie Chan movies.

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    1. Agree. My Toby tried out for Toto and made the cuts. This was a local production but with Equity actors. Played to a full house, about 800 seats, for ten days. Toby was spectacular!

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    2. Hallie, what I didn't know until late last year was that there was actually a Charlie Chan newspaper comic strip that ran in the 30's. The Library of American Comics is putting out a collection of them in a couple of months. That should make for some interesting reading as I've pre-ordered the book.

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  17. Growing up Swanson frozen dinners were a treat because my Mom would hardly ever buy them. No way I would eat one of those now. Also tuna noodle casserole made with cream of mushroom soup. I got my Mom to make one a couple of years ago and found that I really don’t like it any more.

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    1. Does anybody really know what's in the "Salisbury Steak"?"

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    2. Can't speak for others, but at the U of Washington, there were seagulls we names Salisbury.

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    3. Ah, Swanson's, such a treat as a kid in the 70s. But what gives with the cheese in the lasagna that just did not melt? Not even a little bit? But such a treat at the time!

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  18. Oh, so much to say. I'll try to control myself.

    Okay. Spam. I loved Spam as a kid, and my grandma introduced me to the joy of frying it with brown sugar. Fortunately, I've been a vegetarian for so many years, I never had opportunity to outgrow it, so it lives on in my memory as a childhood delicacy. (Oooops, did I just agree with Thatcher??)

    Sucky books? Probably many. But most of the childhood books that I still reread stand up. Really. However, as an adolescent, I loved loved the Whiteoaks of Jalna series, by Mazo de la Roche. I read them all through a number of times. I have all 16 on my basement bookshelves, some quite nice editions. BUT... Without even trying to reread them, I know they were a guilty pleasure, and I've made a point of not picking them up again in the last 30-plus years. I prefer to have the memory of those stories (and that intensely dramatic, overwrought, self-centred family) remain in a haze of nostalgia. (But there were horses.)

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    1. I too read all the Jalna books, but I doubt I'll go back to them. It's a fond memory of my young teen age years.

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    2. Some books are definitely better staying on the bookself of your mind, where they can remain a wonder and delight.

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  19. I'm with you, Julia! Re-reading the Little House books as an adult made me literally say aloud "What the hell is wrong with these people?!" Pa can't manage money, moves the family every couple years, borrows money from Laura, etc. Worst of all, Ma just goes along with it. I almost threw the book across the room when she said "You know best, Charles." NO! NO! NO! He never does!

    Whew. End of rant. The Suck Fairy has definitely been through my Little House Books.

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    1. The TV series was far better than the books. I only read a couple of the books but didn't like them. Not for what everyone else mentions, I just didn't think they were all that good of a read. But I own the entire TV series on DVD.

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    2. Well, in the TV series, Ma has a backbone, which helps. Ingalls Wilder deliberately wrote the novels with a stripped down, basic vocabulary, so they could be read and enjoyed by children. It worked well, especially in a time when a lot of adult writing was overwrought with excess verbiage, but it makes the books, as you say, "less of a good read" when you approach them as a mature reader(at whatever age that may be.)

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  20. For his last birthday, my son-in-law's choice of dessert was boxed Jell-O chocolate pudding. I loved it as a child but one spoon of it now was enough for me, synthetic taste.

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    1. Danielle, the trick is to never have any OTHER kind of pudding, especially good homemade. My husband and kids loved pudding, and early on I made a choice - it was going to be instant, because I didn't have time to stir up the real thing. If my children ever eat good pudding from scratch, I expect to hear complaints!

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    2. My mom’s mother didn’t like to spend time in the kitchen-she preferred reading or gardening-so the only dessert she ever made was chocolate pudding. I still remember how ecstatic she was when instant chocolate pudding became available! From that point on, that’s the only kind of pudding she ever made!

      DebRo

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  21. We rarely had Spam in the house when I was a kid. Dad had so much of it in the Army he never wanted to see it again. When the food supply was low (grocery stores weren't open on Sundays) Mom would make salmon patties. I have not made nor eaten those as an adult. We thought canned ravioli was a treat. No more. Campbell soup was okay. Now it isn't even okay. I try the various "new" incarnations but it just doesn't taste like much. In high school I loved the Lord of the Rings; I cried over the characters and what they went through. I tried to reread it a few years back and I just couldn't get into it. So I guess I am way past the Tolkien phase of my life. Fritos are good and will always be good, but in smaller quantities. Or there will be consequences. I still love Twinkies but limit my consumption. As in I can't remember when I had one last. I drank a lot of Kool-Aid as a kid. I have a feeling I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole now. And Hank, I remember Buddig's ! Mom bought packages of it and when she made us sandwiches she'd put only one or two of those super thin slices on the bread. I guess that is the Depression influence. My husband used to love the movie Freebie and the Bean. I'd never seen it so I watched it on TV with him a few years ago. It was sooooo bad. Frank's comment was that it was good the first time he saw it.

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    1. "I try the various "new" incarnations but it just doesn't taste like much."

      Pat, I suspect that's because it was the fat, salt, and God-knows what all else that made them taste good in the first place. As soon as they got "healthy"...

      Have you watched the Lord of the Rings movies? I may have to turn in my nerd card, but I enjoyed them SO much more than the books. Tolkien was a writer who never used one word when he could insert five instead.

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    2. Despite growing up reading a ton of fantasy novels, I never read the Tolkien books. But I LOVE the movies and have the DVDS that put all the cut scenes back into the film so I get to watch it complete.

      The main fantasy series I read growing up were the David Eddings series The Belgariad, The Malloreon, The Elenium and The Tamuli. I also read the Terry Brooks Shannara series. I read the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time saga until giving up in Book 7 because nothing was happening in the books first 300 pages.

      Of course, my other love was the various Conan the Barbarian prose novels that I couldn't get enough of! Love me some Cimmerian high adventure.

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  22. I was very disappointed to re-read A Wrinkle in Time a year or so ago and barely be able to finish it (sacrilege, I know). I didn't even attempt the movie. However, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge and The 21 Balloons by William Pene duBois still hold up as my favorite children's books.

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    1. Might be an age thing, Margie. The Smithie read A WRINKLE IN TIME at twelve or so - this would have been around 2004 - and she adored it. Some works of art are meant to speak to one particular time of your life - think of all these 'dying teenager romances' that are so hot today. I guarantee 15-year-olds who are sobbing as they read them today will be rolling their eyes in ten years.

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  23. My brother and I loved BABAR THE MOVIE. Watched it as an adult and it was pretty dull. Although there are still a few good linesy family will quote.

    And the cheese in HERBIE GOES BANANAS is everywhere! That one I can still enjoy thanks for the nostalgia factor.

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    1. The Babar books still stand up well story-wise, I think, but there are some illustrations of African people that will make your hair stand on end in 2019. I would seriously hold off reading it to kids until they're old enough for at least a simplified discussion of stereotypes (and maybe French colonial attitudes.)

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  24. The Suck Fairy got to Star Trek The Next Generation. BBC America runs them during the day, I watched one or two episodes, and winced. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series has the whole women in chains problem. Rereading John D. MacDonald I realize Travis is a man of his times. Maybe I am wrong, does the boozing con artist beach bum still sing to others?

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    1. It still sings to certain middle aged white men, Coralee...

      I re-watched a few episodes of STTNG and what struck me was the hair/make up/costuming. Apparently, future civilizations will all have big hair and shoulder pads.

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    2. You have to remember the time that they were filmed. Also, everyone pretty much agrees that the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation was universally bad to mediocre.

      The series didn't truly come into its own until the third season episode "Yesterday's Enterprise".

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    3. Oh and for those of you language nerds out there, check out the episode "Darmok". Absolutely stunning episode based around language and myth.

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  25. I never had Spam as a child or an adult so my first time trying it was in Hawaii three years ago on the rec of a local and it was...not bad. Maybe because it was new to me? (shrug)

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    1. No, Jenn, they have ways of cooking it in Hawai'i. It's practically the national dish. There's something about the combination of ham products and pineapple that's magical.

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  26. I have never been able to read any of the Tolkien books. I just can’t get into them. Forget about the movies. I have never read/seen Gone with the Wind and have no interest in ever doing so.

    My mom made tuna noodle casserole for us once when we were kids. Nobody, including my parents, liked it. I have never made it myself. We almost never had Spam; my dad hated it from when he was in the service.

    My brother used to dunk Cheetos and Fritos in cold milk. He also used to stir hot chocolate with a candy cane. (He was an interesting kid:-)

    In reading today’s blog, I realized I have never eaten tamales! I wonder if I should remedy that?

    I never ate “food” such as Twinkies until I went off to college. They were not allowed in our house. I got it out of my system in college, and now I can’t believe that I ever liked it!

    In my lifetime I have loved, then hated, then again loved Brussels sprouts. I’ll take any that anyone else doesn’t want!

    Years and years ago when I first saw the movie The Producers I nearly fell to the floor laughing, over and over. A few years ago I borrowed it from the library, and was bored by it.

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo - in my house, we love to stir hot cocoa with a candy cane! Mint chocolate - you can buy cocoa mix + candy canes prepackaged now.

      Also, have you tried the movie of the musical of THE PRODUCERS with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick? You might enjoy it better than the original.

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    2. I had completely forgotten about the Nathan Lane/Matthew Broderick movie. I must look for it!

      DebRo

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  27. Spaghettios. I loved them in my youth, but yuck now. But, I did recently try a baloney sandwich with just baloney and white bread, and found I still enjoyed that. Someone mentioned chocolate pudding, Jello chocolate pudding. That seemed such a special treat when I was a kid, cooked on the stove and topped with whipped cream, yum. When I fixed it a few years ago in a fit of nostalgia, it just wasn't the same. Canned fruit cocktail hasn't been on my favorite list in a long time. I want fresh fruit now, even if it doesn't have a cherry on top. I admit that I still do like boxed mac and cheese, the original, not the deluxe. And, last week I bought something I hadn't had since my kids were little, fish sticks. I fixed the fish sticks and the boxed mac and cheese, and I enjoyed every bite. We never had Spam when I was growing up, and I have avoided it as an adult. My husband, for some unknown reason, likes it and bought some recently. He kept urging me to try it, so I finally took a bite and didn't regret one bit that I hadn't had it before. Hubby can have all the Spam.

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  28. Oh my, you are all too funny. I stumbled on a Cherry Ames book not long ago. Time was not good to it. I have so many memories hooked to some of my books like the Hardy Boys that I read in the tree house with my Girl Scout thin mints, I better not reread my childhood favorites. The childhood food I can't stand now is Twinkies. Others like Fritos, Tuna Noodle casserole, Sugar Daddy's and so many more I eat sparingly

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  29. Tuna casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and. . . potato chips. Definitely Nancy Drew (she was so much smarter than her attorney dad). But I still love Mary Stewart's books, Rhys. She made me wish to visit places I never dreamed of before reading "Airs Above the Ground," for instance. And then--I did! Went to Vienna and watched those amazing horses perform.

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  30. So many people say "it's not the same" about childhood foods. No, it's the same, you're not.

    I notice no one has said they no longer like chocolate.

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  31. I used to love the Page Twin series as a child but when I found a book that I had missed, I didn't enjoy it as much. Lucky I don't have time to reread much!

    I still eat Velveeta, cream of soups, and tuna noodle casserole. I usually only use salt in baking and with eggs, and I add vegetables and herbs and spices. Things don't taste as good as when my mother and grandmother made them. Neither do foods that I had on my trips when I eat them at home. It's the company and the atmosphere that add the extra taste boost.

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  32. I ate a lot of Jello (gelatin not pudding) as a kid but can’t stand it now. I still love the Tolkien books and re-read the trilogy every few years. The movies, not so much. I was okay with the first and the beginning of the second but then there was a scene that didn’t exist in any of the books. That was the end for me. I can understand the need to condense a book to make a movie but inventing something new bothers me.

    A few years ago I came across a book I loved as a child, The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. Even though I’m (much) older than the intended audience, I found I still loved it. I searched online and in used bookstores to find the rest of the series.

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    1. I'm with you on the Tolkein, books and movies. I read the set (Hobbit + LOTR) every few years.

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  33. One book that definitely stands the test of time is Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn -- one of my all time favorite books that I have read many times since I first read it at age 6. The Little House books didn't thrill me, and they were mostly written by Rose based on her mother's poorly written drafts. But one of my sisters identified so strongly with them that she thought about changing her name to Laura and she named her cat Charles. They are a reflection of their times, and yes, Pa was a total incompetent. Yet, Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, for all their un-PC-ness, DO endure. Books that are big yawners for me are Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, and The Little Prince; and I never read -- or had any interest in reading -- Dune or the Middle Earth Trilogy (LOTR). Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayer and their cohort are still loved and appreciated. Things eaten as a kid that I wouldn't touch with a tall eastern European include canned spinach, gubmint cheese, the whites of hard boiled eggs, and my mother's homemade soup with overcooked, dead vegetables. Makes me shiver just to think about how stinky and horrible it was. SOS made with Buddig pressed beef was and is a family favorite, although darling daughter now glories it up on whole wheat toast.

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  34. I recently read a comparison of the ingredients in Heinz ketchup in the US vs the UK. The US version had all these unpronounceable chemicals in it, and the UK version had what one would expect...tomatoes, vinegar, salt, sugar & water. I’m not sure that all our childhood foods were as bad as we think...I just think the “new improved “ , “better taste” versions that have been put out since we were young have been modified with these chemicals so much that they re no longer the same product. It would be interesting to compare ingredient lists from a 1960’s can of Campbell’s soup to a current one.

    As for our friend the Suck-Fairy.... Little Women... still one of my all time favorites... but wow, has it gotten a lot preacher. I don’t remember it being that way. I also recently read an original 1930’s Nancy Drew..... the preface from the publisher warns that it may be offensive to modern readers....let’s just say my liberal feminist self was definitely surprised at Nancy & the gang....very different than the yellow 60’s editions I read as a kid...not sure I want to ruin those by re-reading or not.

    A book that has stood the test of time, though still a product of its time, is The Secret Garden. Still love that story....

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  35. Jello salad was the special occasion salad for major holidays and always served with a small dollop of Miracle Whip. I can't stand Miracle Whip today. I actually like plain Jello when I have a really upset stomach but not the special salad Jello with all the stuff in it: pineapple, mandarin orange slices, walnuts, Cottage cheese to name but a few. Raspberry Jello with canned whole cranberry sauce and either grapes or pineapple and some kind of nut. We had a book full of recipes and Grandma liked to use them. I don't remember a lot of Spam or Velveeta cheese but but if they were inexpensive we might have made it through the kitchen door. But turn the discussion the other way around, what about those items that you couldn't stand as a child but you love now. When we were kids my Grandad had a special lunch, I won't tell you the list of items in this special lunch but two of the things were Vienna sausages, which I actually didn't like then and don't like now and blue cheese. When we had lunch with Grandad, he would ask us, do you want to try my cheese, cuz we always wanted to eat his lunch, and we'd say yes and he would give us a little bite and then ask if we wanted some more, we would said no. But now I like blue cheese. I also like cream cheese now and couldn't stand it as a kid either. I'm a little nervous if I ever started reading my collection of Phyllis Whitney books again, have they have stood the test of time?

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  36. We have the Spam playing cards, and they have the most hilarious recipes on them! No urge to try any of them, though. I can't eat Hamburger Helper anymore. We used to get so excited when we saw that box because it meant we were NOT having tuna noodle casserole. I tried it when I was in law school and had to order a pizza. Yikes!

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  37. I don't ever remember eating, even seeing, Spam when I was growing up. Anywhere, ever. Yet in southern California it must have been on the shelves of the market (1945 - 1960).

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  38. Rhys, thanks! Now I do not feel guilty about not reading Mary Stewart books.

    Diana

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