Saturday, April 2, 2011

A (sweet-tooth) trip down memory lane . . .

(Prepare to see a lot of pictures.) 

Today on our way home from P.F. Chang's where we met Shannon and Butcher for an early dinner, Brad and I stopped at Dairy Queen. Somehow I'd gotten a craving for an old childhood snack, something I haven't thought of in years and I wasn't even sure they'd still have. Sure enough, we pull into the drive-thru and it's not on the menu. But when Brad asks, the woman affirms they do, indeed, still carry the Misty Float. 

Growing up, we called it a Mr. Misty Float. It's like a Slush Puppy (only I'm thinking DQ doesn't have that brand - ?) with soft serve in the middle. Kennywood Park has something like it called an Iceberg, which is soft serve and Icee. Also delicious, but it can't touch the blue raspberry Mr. Misty I had today. 

This one little Mr. Misty - I haven't had one in at least a decade - really sent me spinning back to childhood in the most delightful and nostalgic way. When I was young, elementary school-age, me, my mom, and one of my sisters would stop at DQ on our way here or there, and I'd always pick a Starkiss (loved those!) or a Mr. Misty. I was little and they were simple and delicious, yet more special than a regular cone. 

Memories of the Mr. Misty then call to mind the Slush Puppy machines at convenience stores, and what a treat it was to get one when my mom or dad went in to pay for gas. And, of course, thinking about convenience stores of old has me thinking about pumpkin seeds and penny candy - Swedish fish and Sour Patch Kids and flying saucers that tasted like styrofoam (and that I still love). I'd fill up a mini-paper bag of treats while my mom (who in 2011 still pays cash for her gas) stood in line. 

Thinking about penny candy (do they even sell such a thing anymore?) brings to mind the time my dad took me to S & S Candy and Cigar Company in the South Side so I could pick out big boxes of candy; it was like penny candy on coke. I can't remember everything I got, but I do remember Sour Patch Kids Watermelon and these lollipops (they're made by Swizzels Matlow), which I never see anymore and totally forgot about until about 10 minutes ago. I now desperately want to find these wonderful, chalky treats, and if anyone knows where to get these, well, my birthday's coming up . . . 

After the candy store, my dad and I walked down to the the Pretzel Shop on E. Carson St. They make homemade pretzels, as you might have guessed - salted and unsalted, cinnamon, other flavors I can't remember. After we bought some (they put the pretzels in big paper bags), my dad asked if they'd show us the brick oven they use to make the pretzels. It was big and hot and really cool; I'd never seen anything like it. 

Thinking about this 20 years later (did I really just say that? Eeks), I realize this was very likely something they did frequently, whenever someone asked. But, as an 8-year-old, this was thrilling. My dad seemed like a superman. First, he'd taken me into the city; next he'd let me have my pick of the candy store's seemingly infinite contents; now, he was showing me some super-cool oven that no one else got to see. Now that I think of it, this has got to be one of my fondest memories of childhood. My dad and I would visit the Pretzel Shop every now and again in the ensuing years, and when Brad and I began dating, we'd often stop to pick up some pretzels on our way out of the city to my parents' house. That little shop has remained special to me for all of these years. 

There's obviously something about food that brings people together. Just look at the big Italian families with the big spreads across their tables and dining rooms filled with laughter. Simple memories like these above are really the sweetest things. They're just the kind of memories I want to make with Brad and kids of my own.


  1. I remember eating everything pictured in your blog! I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I must admit. When my sister visited several weeks ago, I insisted that she bring me a “healthy” quantity of Sweet Tarts. O God, how I love those things....

    Dairy Queen Blizzards are the best ever! I’m foaming at the mouth, just looking at that damn picture!

  2. Sweet Tarts are awesome, but not as awesome as Sprees!