Yes, I’m an old fart…


Pasta had not been invented. It was macaroni or spaghetti.

Curry was a surname.

A take-away was a mathematical problem.

Pizza? Sounds like a leaning tower somewhere.

Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time.

All chips were plain.

Oil was for lubricating; fat was for cooking.

Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves and never green.

Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.

Chickens didn’t have fingers in those days.

None of us had ever heard of yogurt.

Healthy food consisted of anything edible.

Cooking outside was called camping.

Seaweed was not a recognized food.

‘Kebab’ was not even a word, never mind a food.

Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold.

Prunes were medicinal.

Surprisingly muesli was readily available. It was called cattle feed.

Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.

Water came out of the tap. If someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than gasoline for it, they would have become a laughing stock.

The one thing that we never ever had on/at our table in the fifties and sixties … was elbows, hats and cell phones.


TBT… — 23 Comments

  1. Of course you wouldn’t put your phone on the table, because it was part of your shoe. That’d just be rude, so let’s just 86 that idea right now.

  2. We had bottled water back then. Only it was five gallon bottles because the tap water while clean was nasty tasting or too salty to drrink.

  3. Things like spinach, asparagus, green beans, beets, and unless you had a garden, peas came in a can.

    Baloney sandwiches were a food group.

    Milk, half and half, and cottage cheese were delivered to your front door, (not applicable in rural areas). Be sure to get them out of the insulated box before they spoiled or froze depending on the season.

    Mac and cheese did not come in a box.

    A trip to a restaurant for a hamburger and fries was a special treat.

    Bread was white and either home-made or Wonder.

  4. The chips comment definitely rings a bell. Lays or Doritos were the choices. One bag shared amongst us and shopping was done once a week, usually Sunday after church.

    Tea was big with Dad, we drank that every day for lunch and supper. He drank it non sweet, I took it with sugar. Soft drinks were for outdoor activities, though through the years, it became more common. But Dad stuck with tea as his meal drink. Also always drank it last. Not sure how that habit began.

  5. A friend of mine, for a class, did this thing where he came up with a company that sold bottled water. This was in High School in 75 or 76? I forget.
    He was sure it was going to be a thing.
    We all thought he was crazy.
    His only regret is that he didn’t follow through on it.

    Who knew, right?

  6. If you have not browsed James Lileks’ “Gallery of Regrettable Food,” you are in for a treat, if you will:

    Meals made of god-knows-what encased in aspic, because that was one-way to preserve vegetables in the fridge – Who remembers parents or grand parents calling it the “ice box?”

    I can still fondly recall one particular moment from “The Virginian” TV show when he (James Drury) strides into the tavern and is asked “What’ll it be?” and he says “Meat, potatoes, pie, and coffee!” Not a green vegetable to be heard from – that one spoken line was like a cherished promise in my childhood that eating vegetables was something you would get to grow out of when you grew up.

    • Much like the restaurant in The man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Your only choice was beans or no beans, pie or no pie.

  7. Pizza came in a box. Your dad made it and pepperoni was the only topping. 😉

  8. When Mom assembled a pizza kit from Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, it was a special meal. We had it twice a year … maybe.

  9. A gallon jug or case of water are typically cheaper per gallon than gas. The chilled bottles tend to be pricey.

  10. My dad, being a world traveler and food explorer, meant we had curry, kabobs (which were a thing on the officer circuit back in the days, marinated in wine for 24 hours) and various pastas and such which we called by the correct name (having Italian fairy god-parents helped in that respect.)

    Cooking outside was called barbecuing or hibachiing or done with those clay Japanese cookers that look kind of like chimenas but couldn’t be moved much once they were ‘burned in’ and were a hot smuggled commodity amongst Air Force transport personnel travelling from Japan to the US (along with high-end stereo gear that was paid for by others and delivered by SAC or MAC flights.)

    Pizza was also a thing in the late 50’s and 60’s but the restaurants were more sit-down than take-out.

    Yogurt was what the Greek Orthodoxers made tadziki sauce out of and we imbibed at the local Greek Orthodox festivals.

    Seaweed was eaten with sushi (see, my dad had exotic tastes.)

    And elbows on the table? Not in my mom’s house. Her standard eating implements included a very long bbq fork for which to spear the elbows of anyone, family, friends, visitors, very important people, who put said elbows on the table during dinner. If the friggin president had come to our house and been a goob and put elbows on the table, he and his protection detail would have pulled away bloody elbows.

    Oranges, kumquats and nuts were what Santa stuffed in our stockings. And almost got my grandmother arrested when she brought a whole suitcase full into Hawaii when she came to join the family vacation. Because it was Grandmother (she punched Woody Hayes one night, yeah, tough old broad) we had 1 week to eat a bazillion oranges. Which were great.

    To us, boxed mac-n-cheese was what was fixed when the parents were sick.

    Mom fixed popcorn and gave us a paper bag to take to the movies.

    I thought I had a normal childhood until I started comparing notes with other people when I became an adult.

  11. Ag- Really??? sigh…

    Bill- I really don’t remember that!

    NRW- Exactly!

    jrg- We never had Doritos, and yes, tea!

    JohnV- Ouch!

    John- Yep, lot less choices, eat it or go hungry.

    Guy/Mike- OMG, yes, ‘salad’ in aspic… No, just NO! Concur on the westerns.

    Linda/Rev- I don’t think I ever had pizza at home, only at other houses.

    TOS- I don’t remember any bottled water back then, maybe I just missed it.

    Beans- You definitely had an interesting upbringing for the time! And yes, military folks always ate ‘differently’ than most families.

    • “Back then” was before my time, but I was talking about current bottled water and its pricing. Anything beverages in the refrigerated cases cost about two to three times more than elsewhere. You can often buy a gallon of room temperature water for a buck, or a 20 oz bottle of cold water for two bucks, at the same store. Or a cold 20 ounce of soda for two bucks, and a room temperature 2 liter for under 3 bucks. Crazy premium or flavored waters excepted.

  12. “Pasta had not been invented. It was macaroni or spaghetti.”

    *In the USA.

  13. I think the switch from ice boxes to ‘fridges at home may have happened in the 50’s for most people, but our parents continued to refer to it as the “ice box” while we were living with them. I think I still call it that on occasion. Hmm, I’ll have to ask my older sister about this.

  14. My grandmother said she and her siblings would get an orange in their stockings at Christmas. She would get a coloring book, and her sister would get the crayons!

  15. My mom made great pizza at home with the Appian Way kit. My sister still has the pizza pans from them.

  16. “Water came out of the tap. If someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than gasoline for it, they would have become a laughing stock.”

    Literally my family’s income since the old man came back from Korea in the 50’s and figured out that the dairy wasn’t going to pay the bills..

    Muni/rural water sucks. It’s totally potable, dump enough cholrine in any source and you can drink it. (see “water buffaloes in Iraq or Afghan. you can drink that shit, it’s terrible.) We have a good spring. People are willing to pay for that water in various bottle sizes. Rinse and repeat until 2023.

    Ironically we’re back to raising cattle with the water business as a supplement.

  17. If you grew up with ice boxes, or parents that did, they were always yelling at you about standing in front of the open ‘fridge door. You didn’t want to run out of ice for the food, but kids don’t think about that sort of issue.
    Now, it would be more along the lines of the heat from the cooling system being dumped into the house in warm weather.

  18. This brings up(see, another use for up) a lot of memories. I grew up on Long Island and we had both pizza and Chinese takeout. We got to go to a restaurant on our birthdays. My Dad would have been stunned to see what people pay for water today. My Mom had a lot of Italian friends growing up, so we did have pasta. Mostly spaghetti and lasagna.