Candy For Lunch

When we were kids, if our mom packed candy for lunch, I mean, candy in our lunch, we thought we had hit the jackpot.

If you haven’t guessed, that was unusual – to say the least. How unusual? Well, my mom was one of those crunchy moms, before they called it that – she was the local health food coop founder and all that it entailed. We rarely had processed foods, never had refined sugars…I didn’t have my first Twinkie until I was 15 and by then, I was kind of unimpressed.

Oh, we had our share of treats. Home baked cakes, from scratch; with real butter cream icing. We baked brownies, with cocoa powder (after a terrible experiment with carob that made my dad put his foot down – don’t mess with that man’s brownies!) and oatmeal raisin cookies – warm and chewy.

Candy was a rarity. Dark chocolate had nuts and raisins. Anathema for a kid.

Back then, I would take a hard pass. Now, while I do have my weakness for Swedish Fish and Jelly Beans, dark chocolate is my jam.

We made our own applesauce, popped corn in a hot air popper and while we did “enjoy” our spinach pasta, we all firmly agreed the kelp variety could stay at the ocean.  Our canning jars were plentiful, before the modern craze of using them for teacher gifts, easy take-to-work salad or overnight oats.

One exception to our health-nut-life back in the dark days of the seventies was the brief but marvelous week after Halloween. It was a vision into other peoples lives.  Of course, after dad hand-picked all of his favorites (luckily he mostly liked things we didn’t, like Mounds, Almond Joy and Mr. Good Bar) we were able to eat what we wanted. It was a bonus if we had any Twizzlers, plain Hershey miniatures or 100 Grand Bars left from what we gave away.

Then, on the Sunday that followed, my mom would go to work and we would set up a tea party for dad and the bears when we would all have tea and candy for lunch. Now, looking back on it, who knew that we would someday be overly busy working moms and would consider that to be quite respectable for one of our day-time meals in a pinch as long as it contains nuts or peanut butter – or, for that matter – that my canning jars would find their home most frequently used to keep inventory fresh in my slightly indulgent, at the ready, candy closet.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

PS Luckily, my sugar addiction skips a generation – I inherited it from my Nana, my kids got their indifference to it from theirs.

PPS Lest you think my mom was entirely insane, we later found her private stash of Twizzlers, Dove Chocolates (dark of course) and gourmet jelly beans from a specialty retailer that I think was called The Emporium – it looked like a circus tent and had all things “fabulous, frilly and fun” inside. She will correct me I am sure, but I don’t think it is still there.


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