Dadmissions: The Grocery Store

I walked down the grocery aisle with my wife and kids and out of the blue realized something I’d been hiding deep down for years: Miracle Whip is an imposter. Yeh, you know Miracle Whip, the mayonnaise with the white and blue label. Only one problem. It’s not mayonnaise. But I never knew that because that’s ALL my parents ever bought us when we were kids. They were accessories to the crime. Miracle Whip is a tangy sandwich spread which doesn’t really resemble mayonnaise at all. It was the 1970’s when the deception began. So I started thinking back to all the other things my mother would put in that shopping cart. Picture bell bottom pants, a flower top, and AM radio blasting out of the blue Chevy Nova. We’d park at the Stop and Shop and grab a cart.
There was Shasta. That stuff was usually four cans for a buck. My sister and I could share one can for dinner, maybe a grape or an orange, which basically worked out to half a plastic cup each along with our dinner. Other things in those grocery bags: There would always be a can of Dinty Moore beef stew in there and at least one can of Snow’s Clam Chowder. That can would sit in the cabinet for months until just the perfect cold winter day came along. Then my mom would heat it up on the stove top until you got that little chowder film on top of the soup. We were a Ritz cracker family. Had to have some Ritz. We were a margarine family not butter. It wasn’t Land O Lakes or Blue Bonnet, it was Fleischmann’s with the perfect little assembly line swirl in the top of each container which came two to a package. I didn’t know about butter for years unless it was the sweet cream butter we got for the holidays. We always had some TV dinners in the freezer: a few Hungry Man dinners and a few Van De Kamp’s fish dinners which had the aluminum foil tray with separate sections for peas and potato puffs. We always had a couple of beef or chicken pot pies that you could scratch your initials into the top with a fork and then heat up in the oven until the gravy started to ooze out of the sides. We always had Eggo waffles, Ellio’s rectangle pizza, and Lenders frozen bagels in the freezer and usually a can of Tempte cream cheese in the fridge. There was Bisquick pancake mix in the cabinet and Aunt Jemima syrup to go along with it. There was always spaghetti or ziti or shells. Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti day when you grew up in New England. Ragu or Prego or Newmans was our sauce. It wasn’t until years later, that my parents admitted maple syrup was my dad’s secret ingredient in his meat sauce. We often ate Steak-Umms. Remember those? You could break apart the flat steaks and cook em up on the stove. We were always dieting so there were Jello Pudding Pops in the freezer. And we always had popcorn. Before we had a microwave, we had the big jar of Orville Redenbacher that you could make on the stove top. You’d stuff the pan with kernels and vegetable oil until the popcorn popped enough to blow the lid right off. Then you’d add margarine and eat right out of the pot. We had those frozen juice containers in the fridge that you could mix with water. And when we were growing up, we even used the dry milk. Gross. We had coffee for my mom. Dad didn’t drink coffee but she did. She was a Maxwell House dry coffee person who would put the dry coffee in the cup and then make hot water in the kettle to add to the cup. And when she really went big-time, she bought one of those fancy, glass Melita pots where you’d pour the hot water in the top over the filter. Walking through the grocery aisles with my family now, and I realize barely anything is the same. We DID pick up some Eggo waffles today, s’mores flavor, and some day I’ll teach the kids the whole “L’eggo My Eggo”. And I bought coffee. Now we buy the k-cups for the Keurig. No need to wait for the kettle anymore. We didn’t buy any TV dinners. I can’t remember the last time I made a TV dinner in the oven and slowly watched it heat up. But yes I can be honest that I wouldn’t mind buying those little pot pies just to let my kids etch their names in the top with a fork before they go in the oven. But we won’t be getting Miracle Whip. The kids know real mayonnaise and now there’s no turning back. No imposters for these kids.

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About dadmissions

author of Dadmissions. surrounded by a wife and two girls... and a dog named Cupcake
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2 Responses to Dadmissions: The Grocery Store

  1. beingnenne says:

    I loved the flashback. Great description, I could just see things sitting in the fridge or the pantry.

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