Childhood Memories: What I Begged for at the Grocery Store

To view a photo credit, click the linked phrase “photo credit” (or other linked words).


Photo credit

My childhood began when JFK was president and passed uneventfully thru LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter. I was a Freshman in college when Regan was elected. My mother cooked from scratch. She might give in and buy a cake mix or bottled salad dressing, but that was about it. When we went grocery shopping she often had one of these in her hands to keep track of the total.


Photo Credit

My brother, about four years older than me, was often the more persuasive child when it came extras at the grocery store. I understand he tells that story differently, wrongly thinking I was somehow usually the winner. Memories can be tricky.

In the Cereal Aisle



Photo Credits: Post Cereal   Quaker  General Mills

It’s not true that all 60s kids grew up on cereal for breakfast. We certainly didn’t. It might be set out on Saturday morning so we could serve ourselves while Mom and Dad slept in, but it was rare to have a bowl of cereal before school. One big problem was that, like all 60s kids, we believed the commercials. Most cereal tasted then, and tastes now, like crap. Or milk. It tastes a lot like milk. Since milk had to be covered up to get it past my lips this probably is why I have not minded missing out on this cultural norm. I do like some cereal dry as a snack and did back then, too. I recall begging for Kaboom when it came out. It tasted exactly the way a cardboard vitamin pill should taste. I think my grandfather got stuck finishing that box. Poor man.

Yet another problem was my brother preferred things like Rice Crispies (with bananas–gag!) or Crispy Critters (yes, children, that pejorative label comes from a very humble breakfast cereal) and I wanted Alapa-bits. They were exactly the same cereal in different shapes. Both tasted exactly like the box. But they looked FUN. Like Alphabet soup. Same soup, but with more expensive macaroni.

Understandably, we wanted to try the newest kinds or those with the coolest prizes. I recall Sugar Crisp had a “record” [that’s “vinyl” to you whippersnappers] on the box once. Very cool. We had a habit of dumping out the cereal into a Dutch oven or mixing bowl, retrieving the prize and then never wanting to eat the cereal again. Maddening kids!


But the Holy Grail of cereal was the little individual serving boxes. Boy were those rare in our house! And, always there was something gross like Raisin Bran in the package.

Photo credit



Photo Credits left and right

Elsewhere in the store

Cool Deserts



Photo credits  Royal  Hunts   Jello

Pudding and Jello loomed large in any 60’s kid’s meal plan. These three were possibly the coolest of the products. I longed for those little snack pack cans!! Nope, I got a Tupperware with the kind my Mom made at home. I remember the pure joy when she started buying the instant mix kind–no think “skin” (“scum”) on the top to make me gag! I think I did get the canned pudding ONCE. It was as horrible and stingy a serving as Mom had said, but like any kid I merely gloated over how great it was.

Shakeapudd’n went to my other Grandpa’s house with me. This man had fought in World War II from the beginning to the end. All over North Africa and Europe. I’m pretty sure Shakeapudd’n was among the things he fought to protect me from. He just sat there trying not to laugh as I ate it and it failed to live up to expectations.

1-2-3’s we had several times. I’m guessing my Dad must have actually liked it. That’s usually what it took.

Iconic Snacks of the Era



Photo credits: Space Food Sticks and Jiffy Pop

Surprisingly, even though they tasted like erasers, my Mom allowed Space Food Sticks. Go figure! Jiffy Pop was another matter. I got to take one to my Great Aunt’s. Once. That was enough. Yet, Jiffy Pop was the one product that lived up to the hype. It was great. I even bought it once for my kids. But it did nothing for them. The microwavable bags were much cooler to them.

Milk Flavoring Products



Photo Credits: Nestle  PDQ   Bosco

Bosco! My goodness how many days did a DREAM of Bosco! We had to make due with Nestle’s Quik (or, if there was a store brand version then that was what we got). Bosco, like it’s cousin Hershey’s Syrup, could be used up in a single day. Mom knew better than to buy that! If it was on sale, she would buy us PDQ. It dissolved quicker. It also came in a vomit-inducing Egg Nog flavor that I promise you never darkened our door step! Bosco, was once sold by afternoon talk show legend Phil Donahue, when he was a neighbor of bestselling humor writer, Erma Bombeck. How cool is that? [Phil who? I’m so old…..]

The Dairy Aisle



Photo credit: Nabisco and Kraft

My mouth is watering just looking at the bright orange goodness on this page!!!  One problem: my Dad sold REAL cheese for a living and sold it for Kraft’s biggest competitor. We got real blue cheese, real cheddar and stuff like that. Velveeta, individually wrapped slices and, naturally, the goodness depicted here were clearly VERBOTEN. But I think my Mom may secretly have liked this stuff too because once in a while she’d let me get this and some good crackers. The kind of stuff we’d enjoy with the Afternoon movie in the summer or when staying up till midnight to see reruns of Upstairs, Downstairs when I was teen.

Want More Childhood Memories?

Thank you for taking this long trip down memory lane with me. If you enjoy Childhood Memory posts, then check out my friend Susan’s Blog, Girls In White Dresses. Most Fridays she features a Childhood Memory of her own. You can read more of my own Childhood Memory Posts here:

The Toys I Wanted, But Never Got

Red Shoes


Girl Scout Christmas Crafts

Book Plates and Library Stuff

Family Affairs and Meeting “Cissy”

The Horse Years

School Literature Books

Childhood Favorite Books

4 thoughts on “Childhood Memories: What I Begged for at the Grocery Store

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Wouldn’t you know, I don’t have one for today!
    This brought back a ton of memories. I didn’t know you didn’t like cereal. I do — still have raisin bran for breakfast pretty much every morning of my life, so some habits die hard. I’d forgotten the little cans of pudding, but yes, they seemed like an indulgence. I don’t remember the 1 2 3 Jello?? I do remember the yummy squeezable cheese, and yes, what a thrill were the little individual boxes of cereal!! My sisters and I also LOVED TV dinners (in the aluminum trays, eaten on TV trays while watching TV)!! Such an indulgence! My mom never had one of the counting machines, but those are kind of cool — and actually useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You can re-create the magic of 3-2-1 Jello in the comfort of your own home! You need a package of Jello, add the amount of hot water recommended on the box, and stir until the Jello powder is dissolved. THEN get yourself a tub of Cool Whip. Put the Cool Whip into the hot Jello water mixture. Stir in the Cool Whip until it is dissolved. Pour into serving cups and let cool. As it cools, the Jello and Cool Whip will stratify into three separate layers- a Jello layer bottom, a mixed middle and a mostly foam top. It’s pretty cool, and kids love it.

    My Mom did NOT like to cook and we lived on convenience foods. We always had brightly colored kids cereal in the house, along with Oreos, Cheez-Its, Fruit Roll Ups and the like. The only thing she didn’t buy was chocolate chip cookies because they are the one thing she likes to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! I’ve always had an interest in vintage foods, and have even picked up a few vintage cookbooks from library book sales (although I haven’t been brave enough to try any of the recipes…yet). I was a child of the ’80s, and a lot of these were still very popular then! I remember the scum on the pudding tops, which my mom carefully tried to disguise with a generous helping of Cool Whip. Spray can cheese was another of those rare treats. Great post!
    Lauren @ I’ve been hearing buzz about this book for awhile, and I feel like sometimes that builds up too much expectation. I’m sorry you weren’t a fan 😦 I think I’d still like to read this, but perhaps with lesser expectations.
    Lauren @ Bookgirl Secrets

    Liked by 1 person

I enjoy reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s