Food nostalgia

22 Aug 12 09:24AM EST
Post by Rachel Clemons

Recently we published an article on brands disappearing, when hundreds of people contacted us to complain that their favourite brands and products had recently disappeared from the shelves of the big two supermarkets. It was surprising how passionate they were about the topic, and it got me thinking. Or should I say reminiscing. It's amazing how food can be so emotive - to the point that it's not necessarily the food itself you remember, but where you ate it, who you ate it with and the era in which you ate it. And when that food has fallen off the recipe cards or exists no more, you're left with the bittersweet taste of nostalgia.

Take Robinsons Lemon Barley Water for example - the tinned powder variety. For me this conjures up memories of farms and log cubby houses. My best friend and I would set off down into the paddocks armed with a plastic bag heavy with spoonfuls of this tangy powder. We'd lick our fingers, dip them into the bag and then suck. It was our own, vastly cheaper, version of Whizz Fizz (are these old favourites still around?).

I also have fond memories of making vegemite worms with Vita-Weats. I'm now making them for my kids, but is it just me or have the holes gotten smaller? I don't seem to be able to make worms anywhere near as long as I did as a child.

A Sunday night ritual in our household growing up was to sit down to watch The Wonderful World of Disney with a big bowl of "Fluffy Pud" (green, pink or yellow 'flavour' depending on which child had requested it). There's something about the combination of fridge-set, whipped, tinned evaporated milk and jelly crystals and a story about a boy with his canine best friend getting lost and finding their way home that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Fluffy pud would undoubtedly be panned by the judges on Masterchef, but to us kids in the early 80's it was a culinary masterpiece.

On the subject of treats with dubious flavour credentials, what became of that chewing gum filled with a liquid centre - often lime, from memory - that burst into your mouth when you chewed into it? Squirt, it was called. At least I think so - I wouldn't put money on it. Whatever its name, I still remember it as being pretty cool. And then of course we had my all-time favourites Barney Bananas - banana-flavoured ice cream on a stick that actually tasted like banana (and may even have contained banana for all I know). What a concept! Why they disappeared off the shelves, to let the far inferior banana Paddle Pops reign supreme, I'll never know. (I was heartened to note that a likeminded fan in 2008 created a petition to bring back the Barney Banana. Unfortunately it seems his efforts were fruitless).

I could go on - the more I reminisce about dated delicacies the more fond childhood memories I get to relive. However I'd like to hear about your own food nostalgia. What foods from your past do you miss, and why?


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