Sunday, September 6, 2009

A roller coaster is to a box of cookies as.....

Have you ever had a snack thrill you and chill you at the same time - a roller coaster ride of emotions? When it comes to Irvin's Famous Spice Wafers, they never fail to deliver. I don't know if it's the same where you live, but these cookies would turn up in the supermarkets on the east coast in early September, and disappear before Thanksgiving without a trace until the next year. My family wasn't big on treats, but this was one thing my mother would faithfully buy every year. Just the sight of the orange and black box would put butterflies in my stomach. There it would sit ominously on the kitchen counter, whispering to me that summer was over and school was starting (oh, dread!). Back in the day when corporal punishment was permissible in school I took a lot of smacks for being a daydreamer - until it was discovered that bad eyesight and dyslexia were the real issues - which was why I homeschooled all my children....but, I digress.
Yet at the same time, seeing that box also thrilled me because it meant autumn, my most favorite season, was coming. I so agree with you, Mr. James Whitcomb Riley:

O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

All of my romantic notions of fall are captured in that poem, along with the smell of burning leaves, candied apples, and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
So, here I am a grown-up, still loving autumn, but no longer able to be intimidated by impatient teachers. And yet seeing that box on the store shelf can still take me back to third grade. So I [bravely] grab a box and put it in my shopping cart.
How about you - is there any foodstuff that gives you a mixed jolt of nostalgia?


Anonymous said...

Wow what a confectionery catharsis!!! But it's interesting, I know what you mean, the way certain things like that have significance. I never knew you felt that way about Ginger Snaps. I always thought you just liked the box. I personally love the old box and they are so great with scalding hot tea :D

I'm trying to think of certain food labels and whatnot that I feel the same about. Hmmm...I've always been pretty partial to the Morton (sp?) Salt box. I always loved the girl with the yellow dress and umbrella. I remember staring at the box when I was little and loving the picture. Although, I always thought she was quite thoughtless to spill the container of salt behind her and not notice.

Great stuff! Keep posting!


imchosen4worship said...

It's a hard to choose between Jordan Almonds and Black-Cherry Jell-O.

My dad would make the Jell-O and put it in small, glass bowls - snack sized before snack-sized was in! However, I also had to eat all the Jell-O, even when it went from cool and fruity to rubber, dried out, and eventually a door stop.

Jordan Almonds were one of my grandmother's favorites. She would share them with me and I'd feel special. I'd suck on them and then use the last bit of shell to eat with the almond inside! Yum ... until my grandmom started losing her teeth. After that, she'd suck off the shell and give ME the almond! I had to eat those pre-sucked almonds. No choice in the matter. Still gives me the willies just to think of it, but nonetheless I sure loved my grandmom!

Anonymous said...

I've memories of eating at my Grandmom's house in South Philly. She most often visited us at our house, but once in a while we'd go down to her magical talcum powder scented house, where of course we'd share some little snack with her. It didn't seem like she ever had much food in her house, being that she lived alone; she didn't cook big meals for herself, but rather nibbled, as elderly folks tend to do.
She would serve us chocolate milk with a side of hard bread which we were coached to dip into our milk to soften before we munched. Almost a biscotti experience but not quite.

My Granny, which we called Gram, had lived through the depression and didn't waste a thing. She knew what it was to have a crust of bread and how to savor it. I kid you not.
She wasn't like anyone in our local world. She only wore dresses with pockets and she'd share stories deep as those pockets filled with scraps of paper, rubber bands, and bobby pins that she found strewn in our house.
She sometimes had a supply of graham crackers in her pantry which we zipped through like army ants. Now they could pass for cookies!

Immediately after my husband and I had our first child, he lost his job. We decided that year near Easter that we'd visit Gram, to go outside of ourselves in charity.
As we were packing to leave, she emptied her pantry full of rice-a-roni and progresso soup and handed us a bank envelope with $40 one dollar bills. My husband and I went away stunned. We had been given the widow's mite.

Even the scent of a graham cracker makes me miss my Gram.

Jodi said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I especially loved the image of the talcum powder scented house. What a generous woman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to share it and the inspiration to remember it, Jodi!
Forgot to sign my name.

Joan Drennen


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