Foods I Miss From My Childhood

The other day I had a hankering for pudding, but not just any pudding – I wanted Laura Secord butterscotch pudding. I did a quick google search to find out what direction to set out to procure the snack for which I craved, only to discover IT NO LONGER EXISTS!!!

I thought back to the last time I actually bought pudding cups and I was at a loss. Did I stop buying pudding because they stopped making it or did I just stop eating pudding at some point? Growing up, these cups were a staple in our home for lunch boxes and after-school snacking. We used to buy them at Costco by the case.

I know I could have just gone to any grocery store and picked up a Snack Pack (I assume these are still around) but Laura Secord pudding had a particular texture. It was – I don’t know how to describe it? Silkier? Is that an accurate pudding descriptor? Anyway, nothing short of the real thing was going to fill this void for me so I just moved on, but it did get me thinking about some foods I would revisit if I had a time machine.

For a brief time while I was a McDonalds sold pizza in our area and it was legit. At that time my University residence was literally next door to a participating location. It was not only awesome pizza but also super cheap. The crust was just the right thickness, and it was crispy in all the right places. The sauce was sweet with a kick of spice and was topped with the perfect amount of gooey, stringy cheese. It was perfection.

Apparently, they stopped offering it because of the 11 minutes it took to get it out to the customer, which I find hilarious because, at the train wreck of a McDonald’s that I frequent these days, I’m sure I’ve waited more than 11 minutes for a black coffee and a hash brown (the staff is really nice though).

According to this relatively recent article, there are three stores in the United States that still make the pizza. None of these locations would be very convenient for a road trip though, nor are they near anywhere we would visit though. I’m sure it wouldn’t be nearly as good as I remember anyway.

While I’m thinking about McDonald’s, I also miss their deep fried (not baked) apple pies and the McDLT – which was the burger that was served with the meat and bottom bun packaged separately from the lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, sauces and top bun, to keep “the hot side hot and the cool side cool.” The packaging was styrofoam and was phased out around the same time they switched to cardboard wrappers. I guess losing the McDLT was a small price to pay to keep what was left of the ozone layer.

These were the best chips ever. EVER!

In case you missed these, O’Grady’s were extra thick rippled potato chips liberally coated with a incomparably delicious cheese dust that would cake in the deep ridges. I think these disappeared sometime in the late 90s. I know I bought them into my 20s, as I recall they paired well with the economical Sawmill Creek Red I used to swill back then (apparently that still exists – 36 bucks for a 4 litre box!)

Someone told me that the Ruffles Au Gratin was a decent substitute. I recently tried them and after sampling an entire full-sized bag just to be sure, I can tell you, these are not the same thing. Not even close.

What foods do you miss?

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What I’ve Read This Winter (So Far)


Juliet Naked – Nick Hornby

This was classic Nick Hornby – dimwitted man-children and the women who waste their lives with them. It was laughing out loud funny at times and is a gentle reminder of how different the myths and legends versus reality can really be.

Turbo Twenty-Three – Janet Evanovich

This is the 23rd (obviously) installment of the Stephanie Plum series.

At this point I’m reading this series for the same reason I watched the last few seasons of How I Met Your Mother – I’m invested in the characters and I need to know how it plays out even though the shark has been jumped. This one was pretty decent though, I even laughed out loud a few times.

Worn Stories – Emily Spivack

This is a collection of short stories either written or narrated by notable people about a memorable article of clothing. I loved the idea of this more than the actual stories.

I was initially intrigued for two reasons. First, because I loved Love, Loss and What I Wore and I expected the stories to be along that line, and second because John Hodgeman and Greta Gerwig were listed as contributors. Many other the others were in the fashion industry though, which seemed a bit too easy. I would have loved to hear sartorial stories from people outside of that field.

Night Film – Marisha Pessl

Night Film is a suspenseful story that centers around a journalist who embarks on a strange investigation when the daughter of a reclusive and controversial filmmaker commits suicide. The journalist and the filmmaker had a complicated history that drives the story.

I can’t decide how I feel about this one. There were a lot of tropes that made me almost roll my eyes at times, yet I had a lot of trouble putting it down. There was also the innovative concept of the Night Film Decoder where you were supposed to use an app to unlock additional information but I found it too distracting and skipped most of it.

Funny Girl – Nick Hornby

The story chronicles the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s British comedy – mainly focused on the show’s female lead who had come to London from northern England to become the next Lucille Ball.

The characters seemed a bit one dimensional but it was still a lot of fun – I would definitely recommend this as a beach read.

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What I Read This Fall

Technically, we still have another month left of autumn, but here southern Ontario it’s beginning to look a lot like winter. We’ve had a light dusting of snow and the Christmas tree is up, so I’m just going to declare the season over and tell you what I’ve read over the last few months.

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is yet another novel that my book club talked about many years ago but I didn’t get around to finishing at the time. I recall some of my friends giving it a glowing review at back then.

The night circus was a travelling production created by a wealthy eccentric that served as a venue for a high stakes competition between two illusionists pitted against each other by their respective mentors. It begins in the Victorian era and it’s operation is fueled by various supernatural forces. It is unclear what initially spurned the rivalry between the mentors and throughout most of the story it’s not even known what was at stake for dueling magicians until the players (*rolls eyes*) fell in love.

While I enjoyed the writing, the story itself really left me wanting. There were too many questions left unanswered for me. The white magic concept was far too abstract for my pragmatic brain. The beautiful imagery and interesting characters did keep me reading, but at the end of the day, this book just wasn’t my genre.

An Audience of Chairs, Joan Clark

For the life of me, I cannot recall why I bought this book. It’s been unread on my Kindle for as long as I can remember. I would love to thank whoever recommended it though because I really enjoyed it.

Moranna MacKenzie was beautiful and talented as a young woman, but when this story begins she was middle-aged and known in her community as Mad Mory. She lived in near squalor in a Cape Breton farmhouse where she supported herself as an artist catering to the region’s tourists. Having been abandoned decades before by her husband and young children after a breakdown, she was supported by her patient boyfriend, her long-suffering brother, and a few understanding people in her community.

On the surface, Moranna was an insufferable person, but understanding her mood disorder made her a character deserving of empathy. This novel was just heartbreaking and a reminder about the complexity of mental illness and the way we deal with those who are affected.

Alys, Always, Harriet Lane

I’m not sure what to make of this one, I can’t quite decide if I liked it or not. This was another old book club selection.

On her way home to London after a visit to her parent’s house in a small seaside town, Francis stops her car and comes to the aid of a woman who’d been in a fatal accident on a dark roadside. The woman is trapped in her car so she is unable to do anything but call for emergency assistance but she ends up being the last person to speak to the woman, who turns out to be the wife of a famous author. By the request of the family, she agrees to meet with the family of the deceased to help give them closure. She soon realizes that her new connection can give her leverage both socially and professionally.

It’s a quick read, which is good because there is not much story to tell. It’s more of a character study of Francis, who becomes increasingly unlikable the more you get to know her and her motives. She’s not exactly a diabolical mastermind – just a bit of a douche. I think if I was better tuned into the British class divide, this story would have had a greater impact on me, but it didn’t entirely appeal to my Canadian sensibilities.

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver

This book is a horror story for mothers.

That’s the simplest way to describe it. It probably ranks equally to Rosemary’s Baby in this respect, except there is an element of modern realism that the Sue Klebolds of this world can attest to.

The book is made up of a series of letters from a woman to her husband in the aftermath of a school shooting perpetrated by their son, Kevin. Throughout the novel she recounts their lives up to that point, looking for absolution, or at the very least, an answer to what went wrong.

The letters were often written between her visits to the juvenile detention facility where she dutifully visited Kevin despite his animosity and it didn’t take long to predict the plot twist in the story. I assume this was intentional as it added to the sense of foreboding as the narrative leads up to the tragedy.

Word of caution: if you are a woman of a certain age and are still on the fence about having kids – skip this one. It was a truly disturbing and heartbreaking look at parenthood but nonetheless, a book that was really hard to put down.

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