If you’ve been following this blog for long, you know I like my food local, if possible. I do indulge in the occasional California avocado or Florida orange, but overall, my meat and veggies are locally raised or grown within a 100-mile radius of my front door. This is daunting task for someone that grew up in the 80s eating Captain Crunch and drinking Mountain Dew.
Lately, I’ve been dreaming about dipping an Ellio’s frozen pizza in ranch dressing (I blame winter). These dreams cause me to reminisce about the processed foods of my youth, and I’ve narrowed it down to five of the most memorable, most of which happen to be lunch foods.
Chef Boyardee Beefaroni – My mom rarely bought any Chef Boyardee products. We were always forced to eat nutritious meals that included vegetables and non-heart-attack-inducing sodium levels. However, on occasion she would fill my Strawberry Shortcake thermos with Beefaroni and send me off to school. I would happily recite my multiplication tables and practice my cursive knowing what goodness lunch had in store.
Jell-O Pudding Pops – I was a sickly child. If the flu hit the school, I’d be down for two weeks. And strep throat? I’ve had it at least a hundred times. Nothing’s better for a sore throat than a Jell-O Pudding Pop, especially if while eating it, you imagine leaning your feverish head on the swirly-sweatered chest of Bill Cosby as he does the voice of Fat Albert, just for you.
Fruit Roll-Ups – NO ONE in my third grade class was a bigger fan of strawberry fruit roll-ups than I was. NO ONE. I would trade my left arm (and definitely my Kudos bar) for one. Why did I love these sheets of fruit-flavored high fructose corn syrup? I spent my entire lunch period cutting them into mouse shapes, just so I could pretend I was the lizard-alien Diana from the TV series “V.” I dangled them menacingly over my mouth before chomping down. Charming.
Chocodile – If you don’t remember this delicacy, you’re missing out. It wasn’t really a Twinkie, but it seemed like a Twinkie, covered in chocolate. Or at least it seemed like chocolate. Chauncey, the Chocodile mascot, convinced me that if “I had to wait awhile” I NEEDED a chocodile.
Funyuns and Mountain Dew – Every ninth grade lunch period, I would head happily to the vending machine (most likely humming Step by Step by New Kids on the Block) to buy my lunch— Funyuns and Mountain Dew. One could not be without the other. They were eaten together, while playing a rousing game of “HORSE” in the school gym/cafeteria with my best friend Allie and the English/Chemistry teacher (it was a small school). I was obviously one of the cool kids.
This post was published first over at Childhood Relived, where the amazingly funny and talented Angie reminisced about her growing up years. If you’ve never been over there, you should go. Bring some Captain Crunch with you. Oh, and get ready to see another epic photo of yours truly. This time my whole family gets in on it.
So tell me, what are the most memorable lunch/processed foods of your youth? Did you have big hair while you were chowing down?
Chunky peanut butter (Skippy, of course) and fluff on white bread (ah, the days of Wonder bread). And to those who may be curious what a kudos bar is, all you need to know is never put one in the microwave 😜 FYI, Funyuns are Amelia’s favorite.
Ah, yes, fluff – one of my faves as well. I have a lot of favorites.
I knew Amelia and I were kindred spirits!
Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. SO much to comment on here. I’ll sum it up with: yes. I had the big hair, the fruit roll-ups, the pudding pops. Oh how I miss the pudding pops! [weeping]
You were beyond cute, Miss RP.
Thank you, D!!! I could eat an entire box of pudding pops right now. I wonder if they sell them on the black market…I wonder how to find the black market…
I had the Farrah haircut in fourth year at university and got contacts–and ate to my heart’s content as I had a high (nervous) metabolism and put on no weight–you were probably not born yet
when I was in grade 13 I survived on Captain Crunch–best marks ever that year and I attribute them to the Captain (in Canada back then we still had grade 13 which is like first year univ)
So did you live with chronic pain in the roof of your mouth from all that Captain Crunch?
Oh my god, Diana from V!! What a flashback. Fruit roll up mice. Yes.
Hmmm, let’s see, childhood foods . . . I used to get a Twix and a coke from my school’s vending machine in middle school. Neither of which I’ve experienced in YEARS. So much sugar! I miss my middle school metabolism.
I used to LOVE to have a giant Coke and even gianter tub of popcorn at the movies.
Yes, what happened to our metabolisms???
One word: Spam. LOVED Spam sandwiches. Don’t tell anyone….
My mom used to make Spam sandwiches when we went on long road trips! The BEST!
That last photo looks exactly like a senior year photo of mine! Love the do! Yep. I remember Fritos and diet Pepsi as one of my guilty pleasures.
I’m a sucker for Fritos too, especially with a bowl of chili.
The funny thing about that hair do is that the back was completely flat. The front however – voluminous.
It never occurred to me to look back there either!
Fruit roll ups, ring pops, Dunkaroos and the ultimate- Build Your Own pizza Lunchables were what was “cool” to eat for lunch from grades 4-6. All washed down with boxes of 5Alive!
Dunkaroos!!! What I would give to have one to dunkaroo in my coffee right now…
My fingers still taste like Funyuns a quarter century later…
Tell me about it!
Loved beefaroni! I was much more of a fruit by the foot girl 🙂
I think Fruit by the Foot came out when I had already made the transition to my Mountain Dew and Funyun phase.
You rocked the Molly Ringwald ‘do. My sister and I ate Lil’ Debbie Nutty Bars for breakfast. On a recent trip to Indiana, I discovered that there is such a thing as super-spicy Fire Funyons.
Nutty Bars!!! Do you remember Fudge Rounds? One of those and a Coke – breakfast of champions.
Oh girl, I SO had those bangs. And I have a crazy mop of naturally curly hair, which I teased to such a point in the late ’80s that it needed its own zip code.
Why did pudding pops get discontinued? There is literally nothing wrong with them. They are a classic. BRING THEM BACK JELLO! BRING THEM BACK!
In high school, I lived on Strawberry Kiwi Snapple, or really any Snapple product, and lunchables (because they were cute and ladylike??).
At least yours was naturally curly – mine was just old perm.
I STILL don’t understand what happened to pudding pops. The consensus seems to be that they were the best thing ever invented. We should start a petition to bring them back!
I had a bad experience with a lunchable. Let’s just say I bonded with my still best friend (we didn’t really know each other at the time) because she had to hold my hair back while I puked in a waste basket.
I still cannot get over the fact that you’d trade a Kudos bar for a fruit roll-up. I guess we would have been fast friends back in the day, too!
I’ll trade you my champagne for a gin and tonic.
Chicken Rondelets – do you remember them? Some varieties even had little cheesy bits mixed in. *Shudders* I wonder how much permanent damage I did with those. Oh, and the hair. I had a bang “poof” like you wouldn’t believe. Curling iron, brush, and spray liberally with hairspray whilst “poofing” with the brush, until the hair defies gravity. Yes, that was me from 1987-1991. LOL!
I DO remember them and I loved the cheesy ones. Now that I’m thinking about it, pretty much everything I ate, except for meals my mom cooked, was processed and full of chemicals. Ugh. I’m hoping we have reversed the damage with our current homegrown, whole foods lifestyle. 🙂
Rache – I love these old photos of you. You are equal parts, adorable, geeky, cute and AMAZING. I have never heard of any of these food things but they sound a bit gross and like things I would not expect you to be eating now. My biggest craving from my youth are Chicken flavored Twisties. DELICIOUS! I have a packet in my cupboard at home now.
Do you not have canned beefaroni or raviolis over there? My mind is blown.
I feel like I’ve seen the chicken flavored Twisties before. They sound delicious. I love a good salty snack to go with my wine.
I remember in my teens I loved deviled ham in my sandwich. I’m proud that you’re taking care of yourself.
Love it. You’ll see why:
Did I catch a smile?
Twinkies ruled my world, for a time , at least.
And now you see what I looked like in Middle School…
Chocodiles were JUST like twinkies only chocolate flavored.
You were a cutie!
(And you turned out ALL RIGHT, young lady. If you don’t mind me saying.)
That’s sweet of you to say! I got better with age, thankfully.
You sure did!
I’m pretty busy these days, but would you be interested in doing a 5×5 post?
I just need an e-mail address and I can send you five questions guaranteed to test the limits of your mind.
I would love to! You can email me at rachelstable at live dot com
We had these yoghurts called Hippopotatots in the UK. I was bereft at the age of 25, when they discontinued them. I hadn’t eaten one in over a decade, but thats notthepointreally
Just like the discontinued pudding pops! I don’t know if I’d buy them at my age now, but I liked to know they were around if I had the urge.