Posted by: literallydelicious | April 20, 2010

Food Memories

When we were kids, we didn’t eat out often, not even for special occasions. That made the treats we got in town even more special. There was a little place on Highway 66 right after you got to town that sold ice-cold pop in a cooler filled with ice and water. You lifted the lid, and there was a maze of metal racks that held the neck of the bottles above the water level. On a hot day, there wasn’t much that felt better than taking a bottle out of the cooler, its icy water running over our hands — except maybe taking that first long drink. Real Coke or Pepsi — I don’t remember ever drinking anything else until I was a teenager, and it was always better out of that cooler than any place else.

Ice cream was also a treat. I so envied my friends who lived in town where the ice cream trucks made regular rounds. One of the tiny little grocery stores — across the parking lot from the place where we bought the pop — had a freezer with little single servings of ice cream for sale. Vanilla in little cardboard tubs with pull-tab tops and funky little wooden spoons or a vanilla/orange sherbet push-up were my favorites. It was always a race to see if we could finish the push-ups before they started melting down our hands. We usually could.

Mom always bought groceries once a week, on Friday nights. We’d go to the store for the bulk of stuff, then stop at the tiny little grocery to buy their specials: three pounds of bologna, three pounds of other sandwich meat and three big loaves of bread, all for 3 bucks. We ate a lot of sandwiches! 🙂 But not on Fridays. Most weeks there was a little trailer out in the grocery store parking lot selling barbecue pork sandwiches. I don’t remember the price, but I know it was cheap because we always bought a big bag of them for dinner. I can still remember the smell of that barbecue; sometimes I catch a whiff of woodsmoke, and it takes me back.

That’s one of the great things about food: the meal itself might soon be gone, but the memories can last forever.

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Responses

  1. MJ,
    When I was little, okay-young, my daddy would take me to this barbecue place on Lake Austin Blvd. I loved going there. Sawdust on the floor, bar stools 10 feet tall, and on the bar–peanuts in the shell. I could throw the shells on the floor. We would go home with our 5/$1 sandwiches.
    The other treat was getting Sandy’s Frozen Custards.
    We had ice cold Dr Peppers instead of Cokes. Daddy would take an ice pick and puncture the cap. I’m sure this kept my mess to less than a flood when I knocked the bottle over.

    Thanks for the visit down memory lane. And without the calories. 🙂

    • Great memories, huh? It reminded me . . . when I was little, we drove over to Eureka Springs for a weekend. We went to this little burger spot: a tiny, square building made of blocks of stone, with a stone retaining wall on one side. The business was mostly carry out, but some people would sit in their cars or on the stone wall to eat. It was the first burger I’d ever had that had mayonnaise on it, and I was amazed. I showed it to my dad, and he said, “Yeah, some people eat them that way.” I don’t remember anything else about that entire trip!

      But I always eat mayo on my burgers!

  2. I remember my dad taking us kids to the White River fish place when it was still downtown. We would get fried fish (don’t remember what kind), fries, hushpuppies, and slaw. As a special treat for mom, he would buy us stuffed crabs…but none for him. He didn’t like crab.
    Then there was the Golden Drumstick, a chicken place somewhere near Harvard and Admiral before the Highway was built.

    • Sometimes my folks had to go to Bristow for something or other, and we’d always have lunch at this little diner there. We all got the blue plate special, regardless of what it was. My sisters and I thought it was cool, first, that we were eating out for no special reason; second, that we got to sit on the stools at the counter; and third, that we got to say, “I’ll have the Blue Plate Special.”

      We were easy to please!

      I didn’t know White River used to be downtown! I love going there!


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