Those Things They Used to Eat

Growing up with your grandparents can be an interesting experience but also give you a total different look at life. My grandparents had dentures so they never thought to remind me to brush my teeth because theirs were just soaking.

And I learned a lot about Country music before it became country rock, rock country, pop country, or whatever types of country they have now.

But the most interesting things I can recall were the things they used to do with food and drink.

Coffee and tea were staples in our household. It was a time when people drank coffee all hours of the day and always had a pot going except from 12 to 1 PM when it was ‘midday’ and time for a ‘refreshing’ beverage.

Wait, come to think of it we now have coffee houses everywhere. Granted, it’s not the straight black or add milk and sugar coffee types I grew up around that are most popular but I see people are still doing this. Hmmm, I wonder if Starbucks was started by old people who just wanted easier access to coffee all day.

Anyway, one thing that people DIDN’T worry as much about was sugar. This could easily be reflected in the way my nana drank tea.

First I have to recall that she often had the best tea around. She would make sun tea and that always tasted better than any other type of tea. But most memorably was how much tea she put in the pitcher… which was none.

No, she sugared each glass individually. Here was the recipe, feel free to share.

Get an 8 oz glass. This was in a time when people only had 8 oz glasses. There were no big cups in every cupboard and glasses were actually MADE out of glass. Now fill your 8 oz glass to the top with ice. Now fill the glass with tea so that, with the ice, you have around 3 oz of tea.

Now add your sugar, you’re gonna want about 4 tablespoons. Yes, I said tablespoons.

Now mix as well as possible. You know you’ve done it right when your tea is sweet enough to kill honeybees yet still has enough sugar to create a 1/4 inch layer of sugar/tea mush at the bottom. If you don’t see this layer of sugar that can’t dissolve because the ratio of tea to sugar is so great that it simply can’t.

Ahhh, you now have a nice, refreshing, diabetics nightmare glass of tea. Ironically, somehow, my nana actually used MUCH less sugar in coffee. Seems backwards but that was her.

A great transition from drink to food in this story is what she would have ALMOST every night for a bedtime snack. For lack of a better name, it was always referred to as crackers and milk. Here’s another great recipe for you to share.

Get an 8 oz glass. You’ll want to wash out the layers of sugar leftover from your glasses of tea. Now, take a bunch of crackers and crumble them up until the glass is 1/2 to 2/3 full. Next, fill the glass with milk. Serve with a spoon and enjoy.

But now let’s transition to some meal ideas. While S.O.S. was a common item I know plenty of people have had this growing up. (And if you don’t know what it is check it out. It does make a great cheap dinner.) But some things we had were much less traditional. One of the oddities was a cheap dessert that we would have from time to time. Get your pencils and pads out of the closet, dust them off, and write down the next great recipe, though I have no name for this one. I’ll call it, Pineapple WTF?

We need slices of pineapple. While you could get fresh pineapple you will find soon that doing so would seem a little too fancy so let’s just get a can of pineapple slices.

Now, grab a saucer and put a slice of pineapple on it. Top the pineapple with a dollop of Miracle Whip. About a teaspoonful. Now sprinkle a bit of cheddar cheese on top of that. Serve with a fork and… well, I remember liking this when I was a kid but can’t bring myself to try it now. I’m wondering if this is why I don’t like Hawaiian pizza.

While we’re on miracle whip I remember how it would be combined with peanut butter as well. Miracle whip, peanut butter, and banana sandwiches? Or switch out the banana with potted meat. These two items were favorites of my papa.

Lastly, I will say thanks to my nana I like one of the least liked pies in the world, Mincemeat, not to mention Fruitcake. But it has to be real fruitcake. I still believe that people that don’t like fruitcake have only had the fake kind with weird colored cubes acting as fruit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look down grandparent recipe memory lane and if you have any oddities that your family has eaten I’d love to hear about them.


16 thoughts on “Those Things They Used to Eat

        1. Good Geek Ranting Post author

          When I used to smoke I would combine anything in the kitchen and call it cooking. I think it’s a good thing though because now that I cook regularly I’m not afraid to take risks mixing things.

  1. motherofgeeks

    yeah, I would tell her that if she couldn’t stir it all up, it was enough! she insisted the extra was necessary….
    I remember when your brothers were younger & we had NO money,,,, mom would come in with grocery bags full of stuff,,, the churches didn’t give a lot of food back then,,, it was state commodities,,,,your uncle joe got them, too,,, the funniest thing,… one of the main things in the commodities box was this huge block of cheese that made velveeta look gourmet, and mom would do anything to get her hands on our cheese,,,, I had little use for it, and loved going to the store for ‘replacement items’ ….. she ate that cheese on crackers… ugh!

    1. Good Geek Ranting Post author

      The imitation cheese. You can still get that stuff in some grocery stores just called different things. It doesn’t melt right but is ok if you mix it in with LOTS of other ingredients. But by itself or on crackers? No thanks lol.

  2. motherofgeeks

    guess what I ate for dinner tonight? peanut butter, miracle whip (generic) and banana sandwich… I’ve been craving one for days, but we were out of peanut butter & bananas.
    as for coffee, nana took it black, no sugar,,,, I, too, thought that was odd, but hey, maybe she was afraid if she used sugar in her coffee, she wouldn’t have enough for her tea….
    and wasn’t it funny in a restaurant, watching the looks on the waitress’ face as nana used half a sugar dispenser in her tea? made for very interesting outings… đŸ˜‰

    1. Good Geek Ranting Post author

      See, the pb, b, and mw sandwiches just never stuck with me. I had them when I was younger and thought they were fine but I don’t crave them now.

      Yeah it was papa that drank brown coffee. It was an oddity. She loved the taste of her folgers coffee though.

      Yeah, I have known few people to take their tea as sweet as she did. For a long time I had to keep slowly reducing the sugar in my tea to a normal amount because I was so used to that.


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