A friend and I were talking about food the other day when he asked me, “Do you remember Old English?” Me being me, I immediately thought he was talking about Olde English 800, that high-test malt liquor we swilled when we were young and didn’t know any better. After some back and forth, I figured out he was talking about the processed cheese food sold by Kraft in what my friend so aptly described as “jelly jars.” Once the fog induced by too many 40-ounce bottles of Olde English cleared away, I did remember that particular Old English, as well its companion Pimento cheese spread.
Until my friend reminded me, I hadn’t thought about any of these foods for probably 20 years. These two foods, along with another port-flavored cheese spread, were standard holiday fare at my grandparent’s house in the late 1970s. The Old English and Pimento found a tasty home spread into celery stalks. The port cheese, in its fancy ceramic crock, got top billing on the snack table, where it stood spiked with a small cheese knife and surrounded by Club crackers.
I was equally surprised last week when my friend gifted me the two “jelly jars” in the photo. I didn’t even know Kraft still made the stuff. I couldn’t wait to pop the top off when I got home and dip into the creamy, processed cheese products. Of the two, it was the Pimento that really brought the memories back. My grandparents’ house decorated for the holidays, complete with the silvery-white artificial Christmas tree—all my cousins gathered together. It was a taste of my childhood.
I didn’t realize I missed spreadable cheeses until I tasted them again after a couple of decades, but there are a few other flavors I miss from my youth. Probably the one I think about the most, and Google often, is Wild West Firewater. I’d do about anything for a taste of that strawberry soda again, preferably gulped out of a cold steel can to wash down the miniature Tootsie Rolls my grandpa Shorty always had on hand for me.
What food or flavors do you miss from your childhood?