Monday, March 17, 2014

And a stamp was 3 cents

Soap dish, small gift box, pesto, Easter basket goodies. I was walking down the aisles of World Market looking for items on my shopping list when I  stopped dead in my tracks. On the top shelf of the gourmet aisle sat two items that catapulted me back to the 1950's. There on the shelf sat Fluff and Bosco. Mom used Fluff when she made some whippy dessert full of calories. Bosco was a treat rarely seen in our home. Neither product had I  seen since way back then.

It is interesting how one incident can open up a dozen memories. I began looking for other items. Around another corner I found Ovaltine. When I returned home, curiosity took me online searching for other things I might be missing from the 1950's. Here are some prices of food items in 1957: Grape Jelly $.19,  hamburger $.89/pound, Hunts Fruit Cocktail $.23, Jiffy Cake Mix $.10, Maxwell House Instant Coffee $1.19, bananas $.27/ two pounds, perch $.49/pound, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls $.23, Campbells Tomato Soup $.10, Carnation Canned Milk $.14. In looking at these prices, I was reminded of what was stored in the our fruit room (pantry). Mom always had several boxes of Jiffy Cake Mix. They always drank Maxwell House Coffee. I vividly remember a lot of fruit cocktail at meal time (didn't eat it). Canned milk was always on the shelf and sometimes dusty. We did not have much, but Mom took advantage of the low prices. Back then, these prices were astronomical for many people. We were farmers and raised much of our food. Yet the freezer and fruit room gave us meals when crops were poor. The fruit room saved us many times over.

In my online journey, I also found that some favorites of today had their beginnings in the 50's. Tuna noodle and green bean casseroles came fresh from the oven along with frosted meat loaf (covered with mashed potatoes). Chex Mix was a new snack and sometimes known as Trix Mix or TV Mix.

It is funny how a glimpse of something on a shelf can trigger a time with family and memories of the house back the lane. A family sitting around the table while Mom emptied the refrigerator of fruit cocktail, sliced peaches or grapefruit slices. The newfangled thing called a casserole came hot from the oven. Dad was not overly fond of them. And, Tang often sat in on a shelf growing old.

What new things will grow old for my grandchildren? What sort of evolution will be next in the future of food? How much more can food prices inflate? I think perhaps I was raised in a golden age. A time of making-do, eating leftovers until they were gone and sometimes having breakfast for dinner. One thing I know for sure. Each memory is golden. 

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