About a month ago, one of my kids mentioned casually that he’d never had a milkshake.
I’ll let that sink in.
Never. Had. A. Milkshake.
Almost eight years old!
I’m a terrible parent, you guys. A terrible, awful parent.
I’ve since rectified the milkshake issue (“this is so delicious, mom! I wish I could keep drinking it forever!”) but it did get me thinking.
Parents in my peer group are so health-conscious now. We know more about nutrition (or at least we think we do) and we are always fretting about what our kids eat. We make them kale chips and roasted chickpeas and avocado fudgesicles. These are all tasty snacks! I enjoy them myself! You can give the kids a bit of a treat and feel good about it too… plus those linked recipes are Nicole’s and they taste fantastic.
Sometimes I am forcibly reminded that I ate a bunch of crap as a kid – whenever I could sneak it past my mom, that is – and while I’m carrying more junk in the trunk these days than I’d like I can’t say my early indulgences did me any harm.
And so, I’ve been trying really hard to occasionally give in to my baser instincts. I’ve been giving the kids freer access to some of the treats I loved as a kid myself… and mourning the ones that no longer exist, probably because of new food safety rules.
Shirley Temple (the drink) – When I was a kid, there was a “fancy” Italian restaurant in my hometown called Bacco’s. I don’t have any idea if the food was good, but I do know that on the rare occasions that we went, I was always allowed to order a Shirley Temple. It came in a tall glass and had two maraschino cherries speared with a plastic sword for garnish. They tasted so good, and at no point do I remember hearing anyone chastising me for drinking too much pop. We’ve now continued this with our kids at their favourite Chinese restaurant; the older boys can order Shirley Temples and jitter like fools until bedtime.
Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes – My very favourite kids’ cereal was Frankenberry (mmm, red dye # 5), but it was pulled from the Canadian market in the early 80s. I switched my love to Froot Loops and it is a love that endures to this day (even though eating them lacerates the roof of my mouth and leaves a weird sugary film on my tongue that no amount of milk seems to rinse away). We go camping two or three times a summer season and one of our traditions is to stop and buy the snack pack of sugary cereals for the kids to eat while I’m cooking breakfast.
Squeeze Cheez – Oh, squeeze cheez. If Cheez Whiz wasn’t artificial enough to suit your tastes, there were always vacuum-sealed plastic tubes of “cheese” you could squirt
onto crackers on to the end of your finger directly into your open mouth. For the adventurous among us, there was a spicy variety. As far as I know, you can’t get squeeze cheez anymore, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be still have perfect recall of that peculiar taste when I’m 90.
Bologna sandwiches – I haven’t given these to my kids yet although I have described them, and the reaction was horror from all three. My grandmother used to buy bologna just for me (she called it “baloney” and I still do; get out of here with your “bo-low-na”) and I reel to imagine how many sandwiches with Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip I consumed between the ages of 5 and 13.
Buried Treasures – These ice cream treats were “the bomb dot com” as my eight year old is fond of saying. A mix of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, they tasted like a better Creamsicle, but the best part was licking down to the stick and seeing what character was printed on it.
Sadly, Buried Treasures are no more. It’s a little disappointing. Nothing was as delicious on a hot summer day as one of these little orangey-vanilla delights and you know, if Farmers Dairy can bring back Beep for a limited nostalgia run I don’t see why Buried Treasures can’t make a triumphant return.
What was your favourite junk food indulgence as a kid? What have you shared with your kids while turning a blind eye to the questionable nutritive value? What sadly-departed treat do you miss the most?