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Ten-foot pole

June 20, 2009

While driving home from Market Basket today, Marc and I discussed the irony of how we LOVE certain foods that most definitely sounded gross as children — like pot roast, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts.  I think a lot of people, specifically people whose food tastes are varied and mostly all-encompassing, often have this conversation.  Somehow, we started talking about things that we ate as children that we certainly would not touch with a ten-foot pole as adults.  As it turns out, I have more childhood foods that I wouldn’t eat than Marc does, so I decided to share them with my generous Internet audience, in hopes that you might be able to tell me some of the things that you loved as a child that totally gross you out now.

Here’s my top four, in a very definite and specific order (I have thought a lot about this):



1. Spaghetti-O’s with Meatballs or any other canned pasta product by Chef Boyardee or Franco American: I cannot even begin to fathom the grossness of the orange-red Spaghetti-O sauce, not to mention the gelatinous “noodles” (in multiple fun sizes and shapes…) and the diiiiiiisgusting fake meatballs that floated in the nasty sauce.  We had Spaghetti-O’s, most often at my Aunty Cece’s house and I’m sure at home every now and again.  I definitely remember running the noodles through the gaps in my baby teeth (yes, please tell me that this is totally grossing you out as much as it’s grossing me out!!!), and thinking that Spaghetti-O’s were the cat’s meow, but now, the thought of it absolutely makes me want to barf.  When I was selecting the picture to the left, the spongy consistency of the meatballs came back to me immediately, as did the shininess (and sweetness) of the sauce.  No way, no way, no way.  You could not pay me to eat Spaghetti-Os, Beefaroni, filled Ravioli or any other iteration of canned pasta product.  Sick.  The thought of it sliding out of the can is enough to send me into a fit of revulsion.

2.  Kraft Macaroni Cheese: I’m pretty sure that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese might be excellent hangover food for some, but reconstituted toxic orange “cheese” is not my thing.  Even worse is the microwave version, Easy Mac.  (We DO have Easy Mac in our house, but that is because Marc is actually a big fan.)  Now, I’m not THAT much of a snob that I will only eat homemade Mac and Cheese (though I do love it).  I definitely enjoy the gooey, saucier Velveeta Shells and Cheese, or Annie’s Shells and Cheese, but classic Kraft in the blue box is not for me.

3.  Canned Campbell’s Soup, specifically Chicken Noodle and/or Chicken and Stars: If you read my other blog, you will know that I am absolutely a soup fan.  I could eat soup every day of the week and in the winter, I have been known to make a new soup each week and eat from it almost daily.  I, however, do not do any soup from a can.  I WILL, every once in a while, indulge in some Mrs. Grass’ soup (like my Granny would make in a pinch) but any sort of soup in a can just will not do.  Probably the greatest offender in my book is the Campbell’s Chicken Noodle or Chicken and Stars soup.  The noodles are gummy, and the little chicken bits that float in the (really greasy) broth are …. ugh.  Sick.  As a child, I am sure I LOVED this soup, because I have ALWAYS been a soup fan, but I do remember shunning the canned soup at a relatively young age, saying to my Mom at maybe 12 or 13 that “condensed soups [were] DISGUSTING”.  Lucky for me, I come from a long line of soup makers and so I was given the tools early, to make phenomenal homemade soups of ALL kids.

Lunchables:  Good idea or absolutely disgusting?

Lunchables: Good idea or absolutely disgusting?

4.  Lunchables: Marc and I had a long discussion about Lunchables, when I was making this list.  For all intents and purposes, I have no idea how I EVER got to partake in the Lunchable craze.  I come from a family where money was always pretty tight, and so the idea of these relatively expensive pre-packaged cheese and meat slices was almost always out of the question.  My mom would sometimes make us “homemade” Lunchables, with little cuts of deli meat and American cheese, but anyone who has ever tasted, craved or desired a Lunchable knows that the homemade stuff just doesn’t pass muster — plus, there was always that added fear that your peers would make fun of you for your homemade Lunchable, while chowing down on their very processed and salty meats.

Every now and again, as a special treat and purchased with a coupon, the Kocinski-Mulder kids were allowed to pick out a Lunchable.  Let me tell you….those were SERIOUSLY red-letter days.  We each had our favorite (I remember being pretty partial to the Ham and Swiss myself, while my sister was a big Bologna and American fan).  It felt so special to crack the little container open, and to place the (somewhat warm–especially after having been in the elementary school coat room!) cheese on top of the wet, veiny, grade-D meat, and top it all off with a buttercrisp cracker.  I remember feeling SO special, and SO en vogue with my lunch, especially while other people around me were just eating their plain old sandwiches.

Would I eat a Lunchable now?  HELLS no.  I would not even touch that nonsense with a ten-foot pole.  You could not pay me to eat the wet meat.  Ew.

What about you?  What are foods you enjoyed as a child — for whatever reason — but could not imagine partaking in now?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2009 10:57 am

    I used to eat Ramen on a very regular basis, as it was one of the few things I was allowed to cook when I was home alone. Now I can’t imagine busting into that salty brick of noodles at all. I have to disagree on Kraft macaroni though. I love that stuff still! Sometimes those old yucky foods are comforting, reminding me of MUCH simpler times, but yeah, Chef Boyardee is happily not a part of my diet anymore…

  2. June 21, 2009 1:42 pm

    As a kid I ate a ton of food I wouldn’t even think to touch now. Spaghetti-O’s were a staple of mine. I used to open a can, dump in half a container of Parmesan cheese, and pop it in the microwave. Breakfast, lunch and dinner… they were always perfect. I think I ate them into my teens. Nasty.

    Lunchables were also a favorite. I loved the make your own pizza one. It consisted of a mushy cracker that was a a few inches across, nasty pizza sauce and some shredded cheese. A glorified cracker for lunch, what a special treat at the insane price of 5.99.

    Fish sticks and ranch dressing… hot dogs and ranch dressing… WHAT THE HELL?! Did I even have taste buds?

    Let’s be honest though, I think I ate those things well… maybe even until I met Jane. Ugh!

  3. fabulous in brooklyn permalink
    June 21, 2009 9:25 pm

    Ummm….can anyone say “McDonalds”? The days we were able to have McDonalds for lunch or dinner – even the occasional breakfast – were super special. As a child, I loved my happy meals, until I moved onto a bigger happy meal minus the toy, number something: two cheeseburgers and fries, supersized. Oh, and the thing for awhile was a 20 piece chicken nugget, no fries. How the hell….

    Ramen Noodles were a staple, an absolute must. Now, I keep one or two packets in the back of my cupboard and call it “poor food”. For those days when you just don’t know how poor you might be and Ramen is all that is possible. My partner thinks I’m crazy, I find it comforting to know that there is a food that will never go bad that I might be able to eat when there is nothing else in my cupboard. It is now a last resort, but it is there just in case.

    And…macaroni and cheese is definitely a comfort food, still. Not a staple, but a comfort which I indulge in with varying frequency.

    But I think that the top of my list of grossest things I ate as a child would have to be something called….(drum roll please)…MOCK CHICKEN LEGS. <> They were sort of in the shape of – you guessed it – a chicken leg, but flatter and with an even thickness. They had breading on the outside, and I have no idea what kind of meat was on the inside. No idea whatsover. It was usually coupled with macaroni and cheese. Walaa, dinner. Barf.

    • June 21, 2009 9:30 pm

      Oh my GOD, my Granny makes mock chicken legs! With veal and pork and breading and celery and it’s AMAZING. HAHA! she only makes them once every like 5 years, but they totally make me salivate right now.

      God, after watching Food, Inc., Ramen looks SO tame compared to McDonald’s. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!!

  4. ejobrien permalink
    June 29, 2009 1:19 pm

    Wow….Numbers 1, 3, and 4 are still amazing foods in my opinion. I certainly can’t eat them every day…but about every 3 months or so, I’ll pick them up and they are always fantastic. If you ever run into any, send them my way!

    • ejobrien permalink
      June 29, 2009 1:20 pm

      Errr…change that to 1, 2, and 4!

  5. July 4, 2009 2:02 pm

    Oh man, I know the “home-made lunchables” act. I admire my mom for trying, but really, it was so embarrassing to show up at school with separate bags of water crackers and cookie-cutter shapes of cheese and pieces of chicken or turkey. The shame.

    • July 4, 2009 2:47 pm

      Water crackers? That’s pretty fancy for a lunchables-alike! The funny part is that any homemade ingredients in one of those would have been miles ahead of any of the processed garbage in a lunchable.


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