Old Foods I Miss, Volume 1

You know how sometimes you find yourself sitting around doing whatever, and a random thought just pops into your head about some fast food item, or one of your favorite home-cooked dishes?  And then right behind it comes the hunger pain, and then you walk around with this craving laying heavy on you until you make the run to that fast food place, or whip up that dish that’s been on your mind, and quench that craving.  Well, that’s what every waking moment of my life is like.  But I get no relief from those cravings, ’cause the food that I crave don’t exist anymore in most cases.  I continually carry the burden of a thirst that can’t be quenched.  I’m like those cursed pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  I just can’t satisfy those cravings because what I crave just can’t be found.  I’m talking about all those awesome fast food items, chips, candies, snacks, and drinks from years gone by, and they’re always on my mind and driving me crazy!  And I don’t know it it helps, or just makes the cravings worse to talk about them, but I’m going to do it anyway.  So here are three old desserts that I could never get enough of, and unfortunately, can’t get again.  Well, until someone puts them back into production again.

 

Del Monte Pudding in a Can

Kids who came along in the early ’90s and later can have their Hunt’s Snack Packs, or their Swiss Miss from the dairy aisle. For me, the king of the hill when it came to pre-packaged pudding was Del Monte’s Chocolate Pudding in the can. Not a plastic cup, but in the little metal can! Scientists can conduct all the experiments they want to determine what effects tin and plastic packaging have on the taste of packaged food, but I can save them a little time and sum it for them in one sentence. It just tasted better out of the can! Period. End of story.

Of course, fond memories, nostalgia, and many, many years of time can mislead the brain when it comes to reality. Maybe it wasn’t the metal can that made it taste better. It could have been the fact that I would get this fantastic little treat when visiting my grandmother. She always kept a large supply on hand, because she had 16 grandchildren, and every one of us was fans of these little cans of chocolate heaven. More times than I can even start to remember, my cousins and I would sit on her front porch indulging in the magic of those little cans of pudding while talking about important subjects of the day like He-Man, Transformers, and the latest issue of Batman.

When I was sick and out of school, that meant a day at Grandma’s to recuperate. And on those days, you were treated to not one, but TWO cans of Del Monte Chocolate pudding. One with lunch, and an extra one “just because” later in the afternoon. You pair those cans of pudding with some Tropicana orange juice out of its glass bottle, and a can of Chicken Noodle soup, you had a remedy for sickness better than anything a doctor could prescribe.

Nowadays, you can always run to the store to pick up a 4-pack of pudding in cheap plastic cups, but you’ll not find that incredible taste that you could enjoy when you popped a top on a can of Del Monte back in the day.

 

Jello Jigglers

Jello Jigglers

Now I know that technically, this product hasn’t gone away.  You can use the jiggler recipe on whatever type of Jello you want to turn it into a jiggler version of that flavor.  But I guess what I miss is all the hype around the creation.  Jello put out quite a few dollars in marketing this “new” way to eat Jello with your hands.

My mom bought into the craze hook, line, and sinker back in the early ’90s, and was buying every Jello Jiggler mold kit they produced.  That never bothered me any as I was more than willing to eat her creations of small flags and stars in red and blue colors, or the purple and orange Halloween themed molds of gelatinous goodness.  Heck, I was actively searching the grocery aisle for new mold kits that I could point out to her, hoping that later that afternoon I would be holding that cool goodness in my hands.  Yes, my hands.  Something about holding and eating Jello instead of putting it in a bowl and eating it with a fork just made it better.

I think Jello still puts out new mold kits from time to time, but their heyday has certainly passed.  And while that picture above of the Halloween mold kits looks totally awesome, it sadly isn’t available anymore.  But I’ve got good news for you!  You can use any silicone mold to make Jigglers, and I found an awesome silicone ice cube mold on Amazon that would make an excellent substitute for the above kit.  It’s got six different tombstone designs featuring skeletons, spiders, spider webs and the like.  Go check it out!

And to be extra generous, here is the recipe for taking normal, plain old Jello to the next level by turning it into Jigglers.

Jello Jigglers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Category: Snacks

Cuisine: Retro Inspired

Yield: Probably just yourself

Jello Jigglers

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water (do not add cold water)
  • 2 packages Jello brand gelatin (any flavor)

Instructions

  1. Stir boiling water into dry Jello mix in a large bowl for at least 3 minutes. Make sure Jello is completely dissolved.
  2. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  3. Dip bottom of pan in warm water for 15 seconds.
  4. Carefully remove your beautiful creations, and store in the fridge in an airtight container. Or just eat them all immediately. Whatever.

 

Frozen Cream Pie

Pet Ritz Frozen Cream Pies

I know the title don’t match what’s in the picture.  But that’s because I can’t find any pictures of the actual Pet Ritz Cream Pies.  But trust me, those Banquet frozen pies are the same thing.  They were just sold under the Pet Ritz name around here.  The deliciousness was off the charts, picture or no picture.

My mom would pick those frozen pies up from the grocery store, and instead of putting them in the fridge to thaw, she would just leave them in the freezer, and we’d eat them like that.  In theory, it was like eating an ice cream pie instead of a cream pie!  The inherent creaminess of the pie kept it from getting too hard when frozen, so it wasn’t even a chore to eat.  Just pop a slice out onto a plate, and go to work with a fork.

I’m not sure what all flavors they used to make, but we used to get the chocolate ones a lot, and we’d get Vanilla and Strawberry too.  On those evening when my dad was traveling, and my brother was working, mom and I would settle down in front of the TV to watch stuff on The Family Channel like Batman and Rin Tin Tin and slowly indulge ourselves in our slices of pie.  I think enjoying it with her added to the appeal, and probably why I’m so nostalgic for these darn things.  They really hit the spot on hot summer evenings.

 

Well, there’s three old desserts that I desperately miss from my younger days.  I could probably go buy one of those huge restaurant-sized cans of chocolate pudding and devour it, but I doubt it would be the same.  And I know I can make the Jello Jigglers recipe anytime I want, but those Pet Ritz pies are probably gone for good.  Well shoot.  Now I’ve got to go wipe the tears from my keyboard before they short out my computer.

You could probably help ease my pain and suffering caused by the foods I miss by distracting me with tales of your own missed goodies.  Share with me in the comments and we’ll reminisce together.  It’ll kinda be like AA or some other support group.  “Hi, I’m Mickey, and I was addicted to pudding…”

 

More food stuff

Cereals of the Past  |  Why Wendy’s Ain’t the Same Anymore

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