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Top 5 Most Memorable Foods I Ate as a Kid (And Still Crave)

August 8, 2012

Please welcome Rachel, of the blog Rachel’s Table, who is today guest-posting at Childhood Relived.

As the winner of the Dynomite! Photo Contest, I would like to take a moment to thank a few key people.

Thank you to Tammy, my sixth grade hair role model.  Tammy was a few years older and styled her hair very similarly to the hydrangea blossom bangs seen in the winning photo.  Years later, she played stylist and crafted the following masterpiece.  

Tammy, you truly gave me wings.

You are the wind beneath my wings.

Thank you to DEB (the store) for always having the choicest 1980s yarnwear (yarnwear is my new favorite word thanks to Angie) available.  Without you, school pictures from 1987 to 1990 would have been boring and lifeless. 

Finally, thank you to Mom and Dad for not putting braces on my teeth until 1989.  I believe my sweet smile and giant front teeth catapulted me ahead of my competition.

Now on to the post . . .

I’m a locavore, meaning I only eat local foods grown within a 100-mile radius of my front door.  A daunting task for someone that grew up eating Captain Crunch and drinking Mountain Dew.  I occasionally dream about eating an Ellio’s frozen pizza dipped in ranch dressing.  These dreams cause me to reminisce about the processed foods of my youth.

Top 5 Most Memorable Foods I Ate as a Kid (And Still Crave)

Chef Boyardee Beefaroni — My mom rarely bought any Chef Boyardee products.  We were always forced to eat nutritious meals that included vegetables and non-heart-attack-inducing sodium levels.  However, on occasion she would fill my Strawberry Shortcake thermos with Beefaroni and send me off to school.  I would happily recite my multiplication tables and practice my cursive, knowing what goodness lunch had in store.

Jell-O Pudding Pops — I was a sickly child.  If the flu hit the school, I’d be down for two weeks.  And strep throat?  I’ve had it at least a hundred times. Nothing’s better for a sore throat than a Jell-O Pudding Pop, especially if while eating it, you imagine leaning your feverish head on the swirly-sweatered chest of Bill Cosby as he does the voice of Fat Albert, just for you.

Fruit Roll-Ups — NO ONE in my third grade class was a bigger fan of strawberry fruit roll-ups than I was.  NO ONE.  I would trade my left arm (and definitely my Kudos bar) for one.  The reason for my love of the sheets of fruit-flavored high fructose corn syrup?  I spent my entire lunch period cutting them into mouse shapes, just so I could pretend I was the lizard-alien Diana from the TV series “V.”  I dangled them menacingly over my mouth before chomping down.  Charming.

Chocodile — If you don’t remember this delicacy, you’re missing out.  It wasn’t really a Twinkie, but it seemed like a Twinkie covered in chocolate.  Or at least it seemed like chocolate.  Chauncey, the Chocodile mascot, convinced me that if “I had to wait awhile” I NEEDED a chocodile.

Funyuns and Mountain Dew — Every ninth grade lunch period, I would head happily to the vending machine (most likely humming Step by Step by New Kids on the Block) to buy my lunch— Funyuns and Mountain Dew.  One could not be without the other.  They were eaten together, while playing a rousing game of “HORSE” in the school gym/cafeteria with my friend Allie and the English/Chemistry teacher (it was a small school).  I was obviously one of the cool kids.

I have Funyun breath.

93 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2012 6:18 am

    Hi Rachel! Congrats on being DynoMite. I think.

    I miss Devil Dogs although they are still available. I had a wonderful cupcake 4 years ago that tasted just like a Devil Dog (only less plasticky). I have to reroute myself in the grocery store so I won’t buy any.

    • August 8, 2012 8:38 am

      Hi Elyse! I will take your congratulations as a good thing! Devil Dogs remind me of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. I had a very specific way to eat those and it took at least a half an hour.

  2. August 8, 2012 6:25 am

    Oh Rachel, you poor thing! It’s clear you were born too late to have enjoyed the Zagnut bar. By the samer token, I was born too late to have savored the Chocodile. Elyse, while Devildogs were the bomb, the true pinnacle of baked goodness was the Funny Bone….I’m salivating now, i guess I’ll go eat my multigrain bread and egg white sandwich.

    • August 8, 2012 8:40 am

      I feel like I’ve seen Zagnut bar’s before. Funny Bones! I remember those! They had some sort of peanut butter flavor, right? One of those would be so good with my coffee right now. But I guess I’ll just eat this cantaloupe instead.

  3. August 8, 2012 6:31 am

    I am drooling over your post, Rachel. And weeping. Sobbing because of my memories of pudding pops. Your line about resting your head on Bill Cosby had me in tears! I miss them so much I am going to write an entire post about them now.

    • August 8, 2012 8:43 am

      Thanks, Darla! I think pudding pops DESERVE multiple posts from multiple bloggers. Maybe we could start a trend…

    • August 9, 2012 9:39 pm

      Ha – I ate my kids puddin’ pops!

      • August 9, 2012 9:40 pm

        Oh, you thought I stole them? No, they were too small to know any better. :)

      • August 10, 2012 10:20 am

        Shame on you! You should have shared with me. ;)

  4. August 8, 2012 6:47 am

    What happened to pudding pops? I loved pudding pops. It made me feel like I was eating healthy because it was pudding after all. And then I would eat 6 in one sitting followed by a Domino’s Pizza. The pizza was necessary because I just ate something healthy.

    • August 8, 2012 8:44 am

      I felt healthy after eating pudding pops, too. All that milk. It does a body good, right??

  5. August 8, 2012 7:53 am

    Congratulations, Rachel on winning the Dynomite competition and writing a great post. I remember when my dad ate a fruit roll-up without realizing that you have to remove the plastic sheet. After somehow tearing off one bite, he told me they tasted awful and didn’t understand why I liked them.

    • August 8, 2012 8:45 am

      Thanks, Amy!! I’m so pleased to have won.

      I think this is why fruit roll ups are a kid-only food. Grown ups don’t get it.

    • August 20, 2012 8:56 pm

      That is the first I’ve ever heard of that type of fruit roll-up tragedy. But it seems so easy to do — the fruit part sort of felt like vinyl.

  6. August 8, 2012 8:05 am

    Mmmmm… I miss pudding pops.

  7. August 8, 2012 8:39 am

    My husband always talks about Chocodiles, but I guess I was born too late to enjoy them. Funyuns are the best!

    • August 10, 2012 10:21 am

      You can still find Chocodiles on the West Coast I think, and online. :) Funyuns and Cool Ranch Doritos were my favorite!

  8. Mark permalink
    August 8, 2012 8:52 am

    I don’t understand why Chocodiles® aren’t around anymore? I mean how hard is it to add a chocolate dipping station to the Twinkie assembly line? Apparently the people at Hostess are too lazy to add in a small step to insure that those of us who are too lazy to exercise can get our Chocodiles®. This is exactly why every country in the world (except The Ivory Coast) is now beating our kids in Math….i presume this is true as it makes sense.

    PS – I’m not sure if there is a Registered Trademark at the end of Chocodiles® but there certainly should be.

  9. August 8, 2012 9:15 am

    Fruit Roll-Ups were the shit. And when they came out with Gushers, I nearly lost it. A gooey, sugary substance surrounded by sticky fruit-flavored goodness? Add a Capri Sun and my life was complete.

    • August 8, 2012 10:41 am

      As a first grade teacher a few years ago, I discovered that Capri Sun’s are STILL the bomb. I also think children are more intelligent or coordinated because there were rarely any straw/pouch mishaps.

    • August 20, 2012 8:54 pm

      My mom would never buy me Capri Sun. She thought it was a waste of money. She thought I should be drinking milk or water. So mean! My mom was like a frugal Joan Crawford.

  10. August 8, 2012 9:15 am

    I still crave Ho-Hos! I used to hold them by the ends and unwrap the chocolately goodness by rolling them like an ear of corn. I want one right NOW!

  11. August 8, 2012 9:36 am

    You have taken the already amazing phrase “wind beneath my wings” to new, er, heights. I bow down to you. Consider yourself a humor writer, my friend! This was epic.

    I can’t BELIEVE you would trade a Kudos bar for a fruit roll-up, though. There’s NOTHING funny about that.

    • August 8, 2012 10:39 am

      Epic? Really? I’m so pleased! I bow down to you, my humor blog role model.

      Kudos bars were a staple of my diet in elementary school, but more fruit roll ups equaled more mice to eat. I liked to impress the boys with that little trick.

    • August 20, 2012 8:51 pm

      I love that she worked in Kudos bars into this post. If you blinked, you might’ve missed it. I’m glad you didn’t blink. My husband screamed “Aw, Kudos bars!” when he read this post. That’s how amazing that reference was.

      • August 21, 2012 9:31 am

        One of my friends said, “Only suckers traded their Kudos bars” after she read this post. Haha. She’s right.

  12. August 8, 2012 9:57 am

    How did I miss out on chocodile? Never even hear of them I must have been sleeping on that chapter. Other than that – My list looks pretty similar to yours. And – yep – Deb hooked me up too ;)

    • August 10, 2012 10:23 am

      There is still a DEB in the Independence Mall in Kingston, MA. Somehow the clothes look the same as when I shopped there in the late 80s.

  13. surroundedbyimbeciles permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:58 am

    Funyuns were awesome. Especially when they were washed down with grape Ne-Hi soda. However, the greatest food was Hot Tamales, the candy that at the time could only be gotten at the movies. I sat through A Bridge Too Far with my dad just to get them.

    By the way, candy is a food.

    • August 20, 2012 8:53 pm

      Funyuns were so good. And I hated onions back then. Hated them! Yet I’d eat Funyuns anywhere, anyhow.

      Candy is in fact a food group, and I’d add to that pyramid a small category for frosting.

  14. August 8, 2012 12:21 pm

    Hi Rachel, pleased to meetcha. Wow! Your pictorial history went from hydrangea bangs to heavily medicated to hot – congrats on finding a new stylist.

    They didn’t have Fruit Roll-ups back in my day, so I had to eat real mice to impress the boys. Didn’t work so well.

    • August 10, 2012 10:24 am

      Hi Peg! Delighted to meet YOU. Haha, heavily medicated. I can’t imagine why eating real mice WOULDN’T impress a fourth grade boy. You would have RULED my school.

  15. August 8, 2012 2:27 pm

    I haven’t thought about chocodiles in a long, long time. Oh lord, those were disgustingly good. I feel nauseous just thinking about them, and also have an urge to track them down from someone on eBay who’s been stashing them in his basement, or bomb shelter.

    • August 10, 2012 10:27 am

      I’m sure we could find ones stashed away in 1988 and they would still be edible! Then we could feel nauseated from the cloyingly sweet cream filling.

    • August 10, 2012 10:30 am

      Dear Ask Mr. B-Man,

      When is it appropriate to use nauseous and when do you use nauseated in a sentence?

      Inquiring (yet English-challenged) Mind

      • August 10, 2012 10:51 am

        Jeez, sor-ry! I will proofread my comments more carefully.

      • August 10, 2012 11:58 am

        No – wait! I’m not criticizing – I’m asking. I don’t know – I really can never keep them straight.

      • August 10, 2012 6:54 pm

        Oh… got it… Well, I used it incorrectly. It’s a really commonly mis-used word.

        “Nauseous” would be something that causes nausea. “Nauseated” would be how you felt as a result.

        It really should probably just switch over in meaning, like “flammable.” Forget grammar rules.

      • August 20, 2012 11:09 am

        I have learned oh-so much today. Thank you, Mr. Byronic Man.

      • August 11, 2012 4:27 pm

        I agree with B. “Nauseous” and “nauseated” should mean the same thing. I never say, “I’m nauseated” after I eat a chocodile. I always say, “I’m nauseous.”

      • August 20, 2012 8:47 pm

        Thank you for asking the exact question I wanted to ask, but was afraid to appear dumb. Thank you for appearing dumb so I didn’t have to.

  16. August 8, 2012 4:04 pm

    You ARE talking about the fruit rollups from the produce department, right? Stuck to the wax paper and they were kinda gritty? Those were the best. And why oh why did they stop making pudding pops? Oh GOD I LOVED THOSE CREAMY TINY TREATS.

    • August 10, 2012 10:29 am

      Pudding pops are THE BEST! I don’t think the adult version of me would like fruit roll ups now.

    • August 20, 2012 8:49 pm

      Yes, Kimberly! The ones in singles in the produce aisle! They were a gourmet novelty back in the early 80s. Hard to believe that when there are ENTIRE AISLES in the grocery store now dedicated to dehydrated fruit concoctions.

  17. August 8, 2012 5:50 pm

    What are these Jell-O Pudding Pops of which you speak? And Chocodiles? I feel us Brits have been deprived of reptilian shaped goodies laced with e-numbers! *Weeps for what might have been*

    Thank you Rachel for your excellent guest blog hosting. You’ll be a tough act to follow. Oh arse…

    • August 10, 2012 10:31 am

      I’m excited to read your post! I enjoyed your and Angie’s pen pal letters. :) I can’t believe you’ve never had a pudding pop. They are so, so good. I’m weeping for you right now.

    • August 20, 2012 8:46 pm

      I would send you a case of Jell-O Pudding Pops if I could. Alas, they have gone the way of the dodo bird.

  18. August 8, 2012 6:45 pm

    How do I not know about chocodiles? HOW? My life has been a sham.

    • August 10, 2012 10:32 am

      You can remedy that! Order a box online so life will have meaning again!

    • August 20, 2012 8:45 pm

      I’m also reeling from all the wasted years I’ve spent not knowing about Chocodiles. And then to find out now when they’re no longer around? How cruel life can be.

  19. August 8, 2012 10:43 pm

    Great post… although being a Brit, we didn’t have the same stuff back home… but yes, pretending to be a lizard alien as I dangled and dropped food into my mouth was definitely a minor thrill when I was 12 :D

  20. August 9, 2012 12:44 am

    I wonder if your pudding pops were like the UK’s milk bottles? A sort of milky sweet, shaped oddly enough as a small bite size milk bottle. Must admit I never felt I was eating a healthy sweet, I was more interested in eating the whole blooming packet!

    • August 10, 2012 10:34 am

      Hmmmm…pudding pops were basically frozen pudding, like a popsicle. I’m googling milk bottles, though, so I can see if I can get a packet shipped to me in the good ole U. S.

  21. August 9, 2012 12:46 am

    OMGosh… I think I lived on beefaroni and chocodiles for about 2 years straight!!!

    • August 10, 2012 10:35 am

      Haha! I’m sure you must have had Cool Ranch Doritos and Jolly Ranchers at some point in that two years. :)

  22. August 9, 2012 1:36 am

    Are Cheetos considered food. They last forever. They were my go to snack. I like your trend in chocolate.

    • August 10, 2012 10:35 am

      Ah, Cheetos. Anything with orange cheese-flavored powder is a great snack.

    • August 20, 2012 8:44 pm

      I see your Cheetos and I raise you Planters Cheese Balls. Basically the same thing. Only better. My fingers would be orange for days after eating a can.

      • August 21, 2012 9:33 am

        I can hear the can opening now. The anticipation! I loved Planters Cheese Balls and would bring them to any and all school parties.

  23. August 9, 2012 9:55 pm

    Congrats on your esteemed awarding. Well deserved, for sure.

    Petitions have been started in the past to bring back the Pudding Pops. Sounds like you have plenty of signers. :)

    • August 10, 2012 10:37 am

      I must sign this petition!!

      And thank you for your congratulations. I feel like my awkward decade was worth it. Sort of.

  24. August 9, 2012 11:19 pm

    Oh, gah, I still have cravings for fruit roll ups. Strawberry might’ve been my fav, too.

    • August 11, 2012 4:25 pm

      I think I’ll have to try one again soon. I’m curious if I will still like them.

    • August 20, 2012 8:42 pm

      Do you remember how they only used to sell fruit roll-ups in singles in the produce section of the grocery store? I would sit on the bottom shelf of my mom’s cart (the bottom shelf…because we were safe like that) and wait to grab a roll-up as she swung by the apples.

  25. August 13, 2012 6:01 pm

    I think I’m going to the grocery store to get some Beefaroni for dindins right now. Don’t judge.

    • August 15, 2012 5:41 pm

      That actually sounds amazing, seeing as I just finished a salad for dinner. Make sure you drink plenty of water with your Beefaroni. It will counteract the sodium content. ;)

    • August 20, 2012 8:38 pm

      I no longer eat red meat but I think I’d be game for Chef Boyardee — because none of that meat-substance is actually “meat” anyway, right? ;)

      • August 21, 2012 9:38 am

        So I have a confession to make. Yesterday morning I was sorting out some canned goods donated to my church for our local food bank. Guess what was in there? A GIANT can of Beefaroni! I was so tempted to get out my can opener on the spot. I had to argue with myself for a full two minutes before I put the Beefaroni back in the box.

      • August 22, 2012 8:23 pm

        I can so feel for you in your dilemma. I don’t know that I could’ve been so strong. Way to stay true to yourself.

  26. August 15, 2012 8:00 am

    Hey, Rachel! I’m late to the post only because I TOO am on bloggy hiatus. I’m back now. And catching up.

    Fabulous foodie post. Amazing what it is we called “food” in those days, isn’t it? I continue to be amazed that the human species didn’t evolve with extra limbs at the turn of the century due to our consumption habits of the 80’s. With four kids, I sure could use that extra limb about now…

    That picture at the end? Wow! Funyuns did you good, my friend. Real good.

    • August 15, 2012 5:45 pm

      My hair was fabulous in that photo, right?

      Haha, I bet it seems like you have extra limbs to your kids. I know I always thought my mom had special vision and at least six arms. She got so much done! She still runs circles around me sometimes. Maybe I’m still having a carb/sugar crash from all the 80s foods I mentioned above.

    • August 20, 2012 8:40 pm

      I’m convinced that the food-like substances I once ingested are the reason I can’t remember anything from college. Okay, one of the reasons.

      • August 21, 2012 12:02 pm

        LOL It’s amazing we even lived. Really. Amazing.

  27. August 20, 2012 8:35 pm

    This list was perfect. Except its only downfall being that I never before knew what Chocodiles were. And now I do, and now I want them. And they’re nowhere to be found. Great.

    I loved Pudding Pops so much that I still remember that the blue-trimmed box was Vanilla and the green-trimmed box was Banana. I know this because banana-flavoring of any sort was my absolute favorite artificial substance. And the banana-flavored pudding pops were a rare find — much like Boo Berry cereal. So when I’d go grocery shopping with my mom, I’d often sprint ahead to the freezer aisle, only to be disappointed when there were no green boxes in sight. Oh, the despair! To think that back then I thought I actually had to “settle” for vanilla, chocolate or swirl. What I’d give for any one of them now.

    • August 21, 2012 9:35 am

      Banana pudding pops! Yes! My favorite was swirl, though.

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to wax nostalgic! I had a blast. :)

      • August 22, 2012 8:24 pm

        I was weird about chocolate ice cream-like anything back then. Today I would lick melted swirl pudding pops off the floor if I could.

  28. August 23, 2012 12:43 pm

    Oh, Lordy– fruit roll-ups! I was so obsessed with those, although my mom *rarely* bought them for us. Another favourite of mine was those tiny little yogurt-covered fun fruits. I think they were called Cream Supremes (or something like that?) I’m positive my current dairy allergy has something to do with the copious amounts of yogurt-covered candies I ate as a kid. That’s not real yogurt, anyway. ;)

  29. August 24, 2012 8:15 am

    I think you forgot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pies! Remember them? I don’t even know who made them…Hostess? They were just your basic vanilla pudding pie but were iced with green “mutogen” icing. Oh yeah.

    • August 24, 2012 3:17 pm

      Wow — what I missed out on!

    • addercatter permalink
      September 13, 2012 10:02 pm

      What about the Ninja Turtle frozen confections, a box of four ninja turtle heads with gumball eyes? And Cornquisto’s! Does anyone remember those? (I think that’s what they were called)

      • September 14, 2012 10:15 am

        Darn, I don’t remember those. I’ve let you down. I will have to dig around on YouTube for the commercial to see if it’ll spark any memories for me. Thanks for reading!


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