War in the Time of Pop Rocks


At the risk of dating myself, I’m going to write about some childhood memories…and no, I’m not going to tell you about how I had to walk uphill both ways to school in a raging snowstorm or anything like that. Maybe I did, but this is going to be food related.

My mom was a stay-at-home mom and we were a family of five. She baked bread (by choice) and made about 4 or 5 batches of cookies a week. She hated to cook, but loved to bake and we all reaped the benefits. To this day, I will rarely eat a manufactured cookie (not just because I’m a vegan) but because I was so spoiled as a child. But things were different back then in a lot of ways.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a time when radiating food wasn’t even considered, but microwaves were all the rage. With signs for No Nukes everywhere, we happily munched on popcorn that cooked with Jetson ease. Space age food, specifically what the astronauts were eating, was big news. When Tang hit the shelves, you’d think the world had shifted on it’s axis. That was followed by the astronaut ice cream: awful tasting but such a novelty item. Later, but just as novel were Pop Rocks. According to the popular rumors of the time, if you ate those while drinking Coca Cola, you’d die. Guess that means I’ve cheated death.

Closer to home, I can remember getting an Easy-Bake Oven around my 6th birthday! Of course, we had the Incredible Edibles, too. The most incredible thing about them was that we actually ate them. Remember the introduction of the No Bake Cheesecakes? Thankfully, those would never appear in our house, but I’ve heard stories. I’m talking really scary stories. I remember being in Arizona in 1969 after my first plane ride. They had this crazy Jell-O that separated into layers that was being test marketed in their area. I didn’t like to eat the stuff, but thought it was such an amazing thing to see happen, that my parents even brought a few packages home. One of my other big amusements on the trip was my Aunt’s computer. She was an early geek (professionally) and had a computer that took up a whole room! I was in awe at picking grapefruit from a tree, too.

One of my most vivid food memories is the day in 1973 when the American withdrawal from the Vietnam War was announced. Growing up in Ohio within driving distance to Kent State, as well as being the first generation to see a war play out on the Nightly News increased our awareness of the War and it’s protesters. Of course, we heard the announcement on the news right after dinner. My mom had made cupcakes that day and in celebration we put candles in them and spent some extra time thinking about the horrors of war, which all seems worth mentioning on Veteran’s Day.

Pop Rocks hit the scene the same year that Saigon fell and officially ended the Vietnam War. We were all wearing POW bracelets as we guzzled our Cokes and chomped on Pop Rocks, living our very sheltered existence.

Support the Troops. End the War.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 14, 2007 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    You can still get Vietnam POW/MIA bracelets at http://www.powbracelets.com. I am not sure where to get Pop Rocks.

    Rob

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