Branded-food nostalgia

When I was a kid, there were lots of foods that you couldn’t get everywhere.

I am not just talking about persimmons and star fruit; there were famous foods you couldn’t get, too. Does food taste better if it’s exclusive?

I only tasted Dr. Pepper and Babe Ruth chocolate bars when I attended basketball camp in Washington state across the border. I know that the world is getting smaller and smaller, but when it was a big place, there was a sense of wonder about taking a bite out of another piece of it.

Is it better that we can have our cake by ordering it online from Amazon in any flavour we want? Does a treat stay special if it becomes “viral” and is available everywhere?

Kellogg’s Pop Tarts were a popular snack when I was a kid, but they fell out of favour as many more options hit the market.

Other frozen pastry companies offered a plethora of choices and Pop Tarts went to the bottom shelf.

They saw a revival recently though, when Kellogg’s opened a pop-up store in Times Square (pun intended there). Complete with strobe lights and limited edition flavours, this store flaunted one of the original breakfast junk foods.

The New York Pop Tarts store is no more, but did you know that Walmart says their No. 1 item to restock when hurricanes strike the southern U.S. is strawberry Pop Tarts?

Nostalgia does wonders in promoting food. Old-fashioned junk food has the added value of sentimentality than something new and everyday, and forbidden fruit always tastes more delectable.

I remember getting a care package from my parents when I was living in France. (This was decades ago, long before there was an internet or Amazon.com)

I got a wonderful letter from home, and a box of Oreos and two bags of Cheezies. I squealed with delight and savoured every single crumb.

Cheezies have never tasted as good as they did in my little boarding room in Nancy. I hankered for a taste of home and that taste wasn’t always Mom’s cooking.

It was much more common to eat homemade snacks when I was a kid, but we did have cool candies, too. Does anyone out there remember Pop Rocks? I don’t see those in stores anymore.

And we had bubble gum galore, and Lick-a-Stick (you could use Jello powder from home, but then it was a dead give-away when your finger changed colour from double-dipping).

Summer lends itself to portable snacks with all the time we spend outside on the go.

Branded foods will fill the memories of many generations of children to come. Even branded concepts are popular, like the good old s’mores. With a campfire ban on in B.C., we can’t toast our marshmallows, so I thought I’d close with an indoor recipe for this vacation favourite.

My S’mores Bars recipe works well to satisfy that desire for a bit of gooey goodness. Splurge and add a few marshmallows on top just five minutes before the end of baking time, and you might even feel like you invented the next Pop Tart.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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