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Friday, August 15, 2014

Recess Snack Staples

Sad but true fact.  School is coming and fast.

For some of you reading this, school is just a couple of weeks away.  In my neck of the woods, the first day of the school year is the day after Labour (or Labor) Day, which this year is September 2.

And, can I tell you that I had some really mixed feelings about going back to school?

The shopping part wasn't that bad.  I was probably one of those kids who actually didn't mind shopping for school supplies, or school clothes, or school lunch stuff.  Now, if I had been able to sit in a classroom of one, I probably would have liked school a lot more.  Learning in school = positive.  Forced socialization with sociopathic bullies = huge negative.

But just going back to the whole back to school shopping angle, I've seen a lot of people going into stores to stock up on things for back to school lunches.  I always used to dread the month of August back in the days in which I worked in food, because if we didn't have a substantial supply of Danino yogurt, Cheesestrings, Lunchables, or Milk 2 Go beverages in stock, we would always get yelled at.

(Of course, now I get yelled at if we don't have USB sticks, laptop computers, ink cartridges, or cell phone chargers.  I tell you, you can't win either way.)

But you know, it wasn't that long ago that I was a little kid, choosing the types of foods that I wanted to bring with me for recess snacks (I very rarely stayed for lunch as I lived close enough to the school that I didn't have to). 

Now, before I go on with my blog, I have to clarify a couple of things.  First, I was an elementary school student between 1986 and 1995.  And back in those days, there weren't nearly as many restrictions on school lunches as there seem to be now.  We could bring peanuts and peanut butter into school and not be treated as if we were homegrown terrorists, and these days we wouldn't be branded as bad people if we happened to smuggle in a Twix bar inside of our lunch boxes.

And secondly, I always brought snacks for recess.  Whether or not I got to eat them was a different story altogether.  I was a very gullible child, and I often gave away my treats to kids to get them to play with me at recess, only for them to ignore me minutes later.

Oh well.  Screw them.

But, in the days in which I would actually get to eat my snacks at recess, it was a good day.

And, just what sort of recess treats did I bring with me?  Well, I'll provide a list of some of the best snacks that I remember bringing with me during my elementary school years.  Some are still around today...and some are not.  Do you remember any of these?


Oh, sure...I could have taken Chips Ahoy in regular, chewy, striped, or rainbow variety.  But no cookie compares to the ones that my mom made.  Hell, she still makes them today.  She provided cookies for the entire Relay for Life team a couple of months ago.  Clearly, no other snack food can compare, so that's why I put it at the top position.


Of course, being a child with an insatiable sweet tooth, and not being able to have home baked cookies every day, sometimes I had to improvise with a candy bar.  At the time, I was really into Mars Bars.  I know in the United States, these bars are probably better known as Milky Way bars, but there's just something about the combination of chocolate, nougat, and caramel that was incredibly appetizing.  I still enjoy Mars bars today, though I admit that the Reese Peanut Butter Cup has now surpassed it as my favourite.

Other candy bars I snuck into the playground included Caramilk, Dairy Milk, Skor, and the now defunct Rum and Butter bar.  Imagine a nine year old boy eating a Rum and Butter bar today!


Okay, just to prove to all of you that I wasn't a junk food junkie throughout school, I did bring pieces of fruit into the schoolyard.  At the time, my favourite was the classic apple.  I never gave apples to the teacher because I would always eat it before I went back into the classroom!

That said, I was very fussy over what kind of apples I would bring to school.  Red delicious is my favourite.  Golden delicious was also tasty.  I also liked the tartness of the Granny Smith.

Spartan apples?  Not so much.  Same deal with McIntosh.  And, I can't stand Cortland apples.  I like my apples to have a distinct crunch to them.

If that makes sense.


I have absolutely no idea if they even still make these anymore, but when I was a kid, I was totally into gummi treats.  Gummi worms, gummi bears, gummi anything.  So when Sunkist started making these little bags of gummi candies shaped like letters, numbers, and animals in delicious flavours like lemon, orange, and raspberry, I was in absolute heaven.  Now, these days, if Sunkist Fun Fruits were still being made, I'd have to eat a whole box of them to feel satisfied.  As a seven year old boy, these were the perfect pick-me-up.


In the spirit of the re-imagining of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film being released last week, I thought I'd post a picture of one of the many juice boxes that I used to drink from as a kid.  This one just happens to be Raphael's flavour (which they spelled incorrectly), but really, I liked them all.  What can I say?  This was a time before bottled water was readily available.  For kids of the 1980s, putting the plastic flexi-straw inside of a cardboard juice container was the best way to stay hydrated. 

Mind you, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" wasn't the only drinkbox that I drank back then.  I also remember there being Snoopy drink boxes as well.  And for whatever reason, I always saw the grape flavoured ones as being the best ones.


Of course, in order to truly appreciate the pudding cup, one would have to have a spoon to eat the pudding with.  And, frankly, I lost count of how many spoons I lost at school.  I think Mom got so frustrated with me losing spoons that she banned pudding from the list of snacks when I was in grade two. 

But, still...pudding was a great snack.  I just wish that Laura Secord still made it.  Their butterscotch pudding was the absolute best stuff in the world! 

I still love butterscotch pudding the best, but chocolate is a very close second.

So, I shared my list.  What were some of your favourite schoolyard treats?

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