I was back in my old stomping grounds last weekend to meet with a couple of old friends for pizza and a few laughs. We agreed to meet at Athens Pizza, because that is where we always used to go, and also because they had “really good” pizza. We ordered a couple pies and talked about old times, old friends and things we wished we could forget. (Like telling a girl the Jeep out front was mine thinking that would impress her, just a minute or two before the actual owner jumped into it and drove away…The kick is up, it’s long enough, it’s high enough, WIDE TO THE LEFT….NO GOOD!) Before we knew it the pies were ready. We brought them back to the table to tuck into a slice of sweet nostalgia…except it wasn’t.
We chatted for a bit, then I went back to rejoin my friends and continued eating. It’s not that the pizza was bad, it just wasn’t… the same. My friends who still live in the area, have continued to come here as their pie of choice since I left town about 25 years ago. I grew up eating this thinking it was the end all be all of pizza. We would come here after baseball and football games. We hung out here just about every weekend during our high school years. Well we did when we weren’t busy hanging out at McDonald’s or driving around the town square acting the way adolescent boys act…which is to say, like idiots.
Marshmallows might as well be packing peanuts for all the flavor and nostalgia they deliver. I remember eating about half a bag before ever getting one on a stick to roast over the coals when I was a kid. I tried one the other day and all I could think of while eating was I finally figured out what happened to all those Nerf footballs that got lost on the roof of my elementary school.
My dad, being more Spartan in his approach to this mystery in a can, would just slice a few pieces off from the square pasty cube, fry them and put between two slices of bread, add a little mustard for what I thought a pretty tasty sandwich! Now, I just can’t. What animal did this supposedly come from? I like to think somewhere in Brazil there is an animal the locals actually call a corned beef that is in the rodent family, and that’s how they get it into this country as technically being “Corned Beef”.
There’s the old joke that any strange meat you try, be it frog legs, alligator, kangaroo, newt tongues, etc… tastes like chicken. I’m happy to report to you that these things no longer taste like chicken, as chicken now tastes like absolutely nothing. I have a chef instructor friend who says, “People order chicken because they either don’t know what they want, or just don’t want to look like idiots eating a lobster.” I think he was pretty close.
There are plenty of foods out there that still bring me back to when I was a kid or memories of that time. Amongst them but not limited to, Cheerio’s, Bazooka Bubble Gum, tangerines at Christmas, orange marmalade, fig newton’s, waffle cones and soft serve vanilla ice cream, beef stew, Chiclet’s, A&W Root Beer, Mary Jane’s and those damned Snickers bars.
For you young people who don’t know what a paper route is…They once had these things called newspapers, and you’d bring them around to people every day to read, and they’d pay you money once a week. Now I got a guy named Tony who’s in his sixties who drives within falling distance of my front door and still manages to miss the doorstep by thirty yards. Why would someone do this you ask? Well, all we had were four snowy channels on a black and white TV, and a game console called Coleco, that basically played three kinds of table tennis, and a father that kept saying “It’s too nice to be inside!” So we had to do something…You want to know what? What’s a snowy channel?!….Oh, hell… never mind…