Thursday, August 21, 2008


There has been much ado about the great Michael Phelps endorsing "Frosted Flakes" (They're GRRREEAAAT!). The food Nazi's would have us all eating "organic" fruit, driving electric cars, living in Yurts, and clothing our children with hand spun sack clothes. In defense of our Olympic champion's decision (I'm actually eating a giant bowl of Frosted Flakes now with banana and soy milk---sorry I'm allergic to cow's milk and Dean tells me that anything that can turn a 50 pound calf into a 500 pound cow is not something I want in my body) I shall write this entry. So in tribute to our advanced society that enables Processed foods to exist at all, I present my personal list of favorites. Now when I say favorite, I don't mean, "Oh this is good." I mean when I eat this stuff I'm like, "Ohhh, aahhhh, sweet lord, this is so insanely good."

1.The wonderful Chick-O-Stick, made in a factory somewhere in Texas, this is a regional Southern favorite. I was in withdrawal when living in Massachusetts and later Chicago and only was able to enjoy it during travel back to my homeland. It is something like a butter-finger without the chocolate and with a bit of coconut. Delicious.

2. Funyuns, have no real Onion in them (except for Onion powder) this is Cindy's favorite too. They are horribly addictive and I've never been able to stop at just one. They are salty and tangy and oh so good.

3.The Atomic Fire-ball. This one is the fotter of many a mythic moment from my childhood. I remember a lot of rumors going around. One kid said they called it "Atomic" because it was made from real atoms and likely radioactive. Another kid said that he knew of a kid, up north, who managed to fit 10 into his mouth at one time and was subsequently pronounced dead after his heart stopped from the heat. (Likely the kid was set "up North" because all the great Southern myths about buffoons usually involved a Yankee). In about 1995, I was driving into Chicago to go to class when I pulled off the road in awe. There, right by the interstate was a huge old brick building with a sign that said, "Home of the Atomic Fire Ball." I pulled off the exit to see if I could get a tour of the factory but alas, the man at the gate chuckled and smiled and said, "Son we don't give tours here." I didn't even get a sample, but I'll never forget the day I almost got to see how they were made.

4. Circus peanuts, oh circus peanuts. I had a very bad experience with you once. I loved you dearly, but my oh my. And that's all I can say about that.

5. Whitman Samplers was my Grandparent Saunders' favorite. My Grandfather Bartow used to buy these for my Grandmother when they were "courting" back in the 1930's. He was rather poor and this was a real treat back then. Every year then after, for over 60 years on their anniversary he would buy her this box of chocolates. We would all share them. I never could quite figure out where the good ones were and where the "weird" ones were, but it was always a surprise. I guess Forrest Gump was right.

6. Hershey's Kisses have always been my favorite. My Grandmother McWaters would keep a bowl of these in her living room and dole them out in exchange for Grandchild kisses. It was a fair trade and we were happy with the barter. I liked them because you could hide a few in your pocket just before church and they would be nice and soft by the time the preacher started. It made church more bearable. But if wasn't careful and accidentally got some of the tin-foil wrapper in my mouth and bit down, the electrical charge caused by hitting my fillings would send a shiver down my spine.

7. Fruit Striped Gum (with the Zebra). This is hard to find now. It was a favorite of my Uncle Dwight and we would chew it in church or when working in my Grandfather's garden. Delicious. The flavor was intense for about 30 seconds then would wear out after about 2 minutes.

8. Coke products. I love Coca Cola, I even loved the movie the "Coca Cola Kid" about Coca Cola and a love triangle with a crazy old man in Australia. Coke, it the greatest. It even has it's own myths. I enjoyed all Coke products as a kid and love it even more now as an adult. Now, I take Coke Zero, a dash of Vanilla, and 2 ozs of Knob Creek Bourbon, mix and sip. That is a satisfying drink.

9. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that "Icee" was a brand name. I thought it was the name for a type of drink. My Dad was/is very impulsive (usually in a good way) and would often yell to my brother and I, "Hey boys let's go get an Icee." We would go down to the Tom Thumb and get one. They were so good and satisfying on hot Florida Summer days. On our trip to Yellowstone, my Dad admitted to me, "Sometimes even now, I'll get an Icee at the store and think about you boys when you were kids." I smiled and nearly choked up and admitted I did the same and thought about him. I have a good Dad.

As a side note, Dude once chastised me for eating too much processed food at the Movie theater after enjoying a huge buffet at the, now defunct, Morrison's Restaurant. So I humbly dedicate this blog entry to Dude. After writing this blog, I now perhaps know what he meant about "careful observation."


E said...

This is hilarious, Sir. I laughed and laughed.

Some of my favorites are back in production: Charleston Chew, Sugar Daddy, Chuckles, Beer Nuts, and you can even find Quisp if you look hard enough. My favorite was a Velveeta sandwich on white bread with "Sandwich Spread" which was orange in color and was sort of like Miracle Whip with sweet pickle relish. Mmm.

Tom said...

This is a very inspired entry. Fun to think of those things again. I'll admit ignorance to Chick-O-Stick.

I too would like to know what happened to Zebra gum. We use to get it in elementary school at this little market called the Burger Dairy Store. I use to get baseball cards there too.

Revan said...

Strange...Alot of those old, nostalgic foods are still in production...

Go Phelps!

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