Did You Eat Any of These Foods Growing Up in the 1970's?

Would you let your kids eat them today?

Before chemicals and preservatives made food shelf stable, people only ate fresh foods that they grew, they found or they prepared themselves.  It was a labor intensive task, especially   women who were responsible for most meal preparation.  Eating canned food did not mean grabbing the can opener and placing it on the stove top or in the microwave for heating-it meant putting what you grew in your garden in a can so would have something to eat during the long winter when fresh fruit and vegetables were not readily available.

When food manufacturers created ways to freeze, can, and box food for the masses, what people ate became full of all things artificial.  Dyes, chemical preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and all manner of unnatural things became a part of most people’s diets.

Because we are a more savvy society now, many people, especially parents, are returning to a more natural way of eating.  It has often been said if you cannot pronounce it or if it is not found in nature, you should not be eating it.

I wholeheartedly agree.

During a recent trip to the grocery store with my eleven year old twins, they spied the boxed donuts and cake confections and wanted to know if I would buy them some.

I politely declined and told them I loved them too much to feed them this kind of food.  Then I started telling them about all the things that I ate as a child that I would not buy today.  They thought it was unfair that their grandma would buy all sorts of great things for my brother and me but I would not. (Just call me a mean mom-they do!)

Our conversation got me thinking about the foods that I ate as a child.  Yes, I ate the following and managed to survive. 

While most of these foods were around long before I was even born, Baby Boomers such as myself will have fond memories of the following items.

Wonder Bread

Top 1970's Food-Wonder BreadCredit: By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The iconic primary colors that dot the packaging of the bread made this one that easily targeted the eyes of both parents and children alike. Who doesn't remember bringing to school a bologna or peanut butter and jelly sandwich on this bread?

The Taggart Baking Company was about to launch a 1.5 loaf of bread to the public in 1921. In order to differentiate it from the other breads sold in stores, Elmer Cline, who was Vice President of the company, had to come up with a way to promote it so this would stand out to it’s customers.

Elmer was struck by a sense of “wonder” while watching all of the hot air balloons hang out in the sky at a balloon race. Hence the name and the logo were born. Wonder Bread became a staple in home across America, and in 1930’s, it was at the forefront again by being the first company to sell pre-sliced bread.

Most critics will complain about the lack of nutritional value and the preservatives in this product, but kids love the soft bread that can be squeezed into little balls and tossed at the kid across the cafeteria table from you.

Remember This Wonder Bread Commercial?

Hawaiian Punch

Top 1970's Food-Hawaiian PunchCredit: www.amazon.comAs a child, my brother and I drank quite a bit of Hawaiian Punch. Not only was it sugary sweet, but the large cans had an extra surprise…underneath the label there would be photos of popular television stars, like those of the Partridge Family.

This childhood classic, which was originally created 1934 as a sweet syrup to be used as an ice cream topping, had a memorable commercial that I am sure could never be made today in our politically correct climate.

Could This Hawaiian Punch Commercial Be Made Today?

Twinkies-Golden Deliciousness in Every Bite!

Top 1970's Food-TwinkiesCredit: By Mamiejeanjean (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsWhat can I say about this golden, cream filled treat?  I ate more than my fair share of Twinkies as a child, and I will admit to buying a few for my older daughter when she was younger and we were not a Feingold family.

Twinkies became an American household treat in 1930 when it was invented by Jimmy Dewar for the Continental Baking Company. It was a raging hit.

Fans of the sponge cake dessert were alarmed when they went off the shelves in November 2012, when Hostess Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, the new owners of the brand have done something to change the recipe-the shelf life of a Twinkie has been extended to 45 days from the former shelf life 

Dress Like a Twinkie!

Hostess Twinkie Costume Child Medium 7-10
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How adorable will your kids look in this Twinkie costume! This is not full of preservatives!

Hey! It's Twinkie the Kid!

Hostess Cupcakes

Don't forget the pink Snowballs, too!

Top 1970's Food-Hostess CupcakesCredit: By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsMade by the same people who brought us the beloved Twinkie, no one knows who exactly invented this devil’s food delight back in 1919. There is no mistaking the eight white icing swirls, which appeared three decades later.

The Hostess Snowball is simply a repurposed product that they already produced. It is actually a Hostess cupcake covered with marshmallow and pink colored coconut flakes.  It was created in 1947 after of World War II rationing of flour and sugar had ceased.  Originally just white in color, when pink was favored by the public, the color stayed and the creamy filling was added.

Have you seen any pink coconuts? 

You Get a Big Delight in Every Bite of Hostess Cupcakes

Drake's Coffee Cakes

Top 1970's Food Drake's Coffee CakesCredit: By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsThese tiny coffee cakes packed a lot of flavor.  Packaged as a set of two, these were both eaten in a very specific way.  First, the crumb topping was picked off and the cinnamon sugar flavor was to be savored.  Next, the golden pound cake was either eaten by itself, followed by a large swig of milk.

My kids have eaten this treat, which was created by Newman Drake in 1916 by the Drake Brothers Bakery in Brooklyn, New York. My mom still buys these today, so my children can get a fix whenever they visit grandma.

Pringles Potato Chips

Top 1970's Food-PringlesCredit: By Glane23 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsPotato chips are a relatively innocuous treat.  Yes, they are fattening due to being fried in oil, but there are basically only three ingredients in the making of them-potatoes, oil and salt.

Now enter Pringles-the stacked chip that comes in a can!

Proctor & Gamble, the company that brings you all kinds of detergent and personal hygiene products, came out with Pringles in 1967. Customers were tired of bagged chips that were broken or became stale after opening them. Pringles are made from dried potatoes brought back to life. They are made of on 42% potatoes, with the rest of the ingredients being fillers like starch and flour, as well a multitude of items that are hard to pronounce.

Vintage Pringles Video


Top 1970's Food-NesQuikCredit: By Hydrel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As a child, I disliked milk.  The only way I would drink it is if it were flavored chocolate.  While my mom occasionally bought different brands, the one my brother and I liked the most was Nesquik. The yellow and brown container, featuring the bunny, was a great pick me up as an after school snack.  My Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies (two other products banished from my house) were the perfect dunking material for my calcium fix.

It was created by Neslte in 1948 and remains a top seller on store shelves.  It has come in other flavors, like strawberry, banana and vanilla.

It's so Rich and Thick and Chocolate!

As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure I feed my children foods that will help them grow up to become healthy adults. There are many all natural versions of the products I used to eat as a child, which I do buy or bake for my family.

These foods make for fond memories for me, but not for my kids.

Hawaiian Punch Tee Shirt

Hawaiian Punch Juice Punchy Mascot Youth Junior Girls Tshrit Tee Drink XXLarge
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Your favorite childhood beverage characters appear on this women;s tee shirt. It is also available for men in gray.