Sunday, December 20, 2009


Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a duplex,
And checks.

Sign your 'X' on the line,

Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

--Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt

So I put my hands up

They’re playing my song,

And the butterflies fly away

Noddin’ my head like yeah

Moving my hips like yeah

--Party in the USA
, Miley Cyrus


A bit of nostalgia, prompted by a witty New York Times Op-Ed, "My Half-Baked Bubble" by Joshuah Bearman.

In it, Mr. Bearman recounts his middle school efforts at leveraging slices of a fantastical imaginary cake to be baked by his mother at the year's end in exchange for trivialities among daily lunchroom fare. His business acumen was developed in reaction to the spartan lunches his father packed; after all, this was the age of Snack Packs, Pop Rocks and all manner of unnatural, space program-inspired gooey confections.

His small experiment conveys well the insanity of those who partook in our latest financial and real estate bubbles, while bringing to mind the Trapper notebooks, fruit roll-ups and cups o' pudding of my youth. Wonderful nostalgia of what I would tag the genesis of our current
Society of Immediate Vacuity.

This mindset permeates all niches of society, though it is beyond the purview of this piece. Think Britney, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus. It goes on and on, and it's far too awful to contemplate.

At least frozen dinners resembled food. But as the 70's wore on, no longer did we cook pudding, or even wait for an hour while the instant form gelled. There were pre-made cups of it. And tubes of radioactively colored jellylike goo, if one were venturesome enough.
All pretense to civilized dining was fast evaporating.

Moms were being superannuated. Blenders, mixing spoons, kitchens and ovens -- all, superfluous. One could exist on prefabricated food alone. Sunbeam Mixmasters with their pink and lime green bowls were being relegated to the rubbish heap of "vintage", one day to be hauled out and sold on eBay, their destiny to stand avuncularly in the corner of some countertop, as if to proclaim, "This is a place where food was once made and eaten."

It's all coming back: the Thermoses with apple juice, which were soon transplanted by Capri Suns with straws stuck on the side. But never soda. Oh, and the individual bags of Doritos which the lucky kids got -- what a valued commodity! How hard to recall those tiny measured portions in this, the day of Super-sizing. Each chip was savored; if you inhaled a fistful, you'd emptied the bag. Sometimes, if you were abstemious enough, you could exit the lunchroom with a folded bag of a few chips to eat between classes.

After his ruse is blown, his father says,“Stick with the sardines. Cheap sweets are empty promises.”
Nice moral.

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Anonymous barcalounger said...

Great post Lisa. I'll bet there are a few old timers around here who remember the C-rations they used to pack if they wanted to eat. To whom green scrambled eggs and half cooked bacon served from marmite cans was a treat. Who would have killed for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of M&Ms, a cold can of Coke.

Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:36:00 PM GMT-5  

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