Archives For Kool-Aid

Summertime: a list

June 5, 2014 — 1 Comment

The backyard thermometer has been inching upward the past couple of weeks, the humidity along with it. I suspect the balmy, breezy days of spring are on the way out. This can only mean…

Summer is upon us.

I recently read that the annual average temperature in the contiguous United States has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, and summers inparticular were 1.6 degrees hotter(So, it wasn’t just my imagination…)

It’s time to brace myself for the inevitable.

Quick! Trick self into believing things won’t be that bad this summer. Make cheesy list of perennially “cool” summer things. Keep fingers crossed that this will work…


1. Garden hoses.

Never has such a simple household implement consistently delivered so much bang for the buck! Makes me want to thank the inventor. Alas, I cannot, seeing that the fellow who got creative with ox gut lived about 400 B.C. More recently — only 400 years ago — a Dutch dude made hausen out of linen, then later his countrymen switched to leather. Eventually, rubber and then vinyl would be fashioned into the bright green coils. Much better than ox gut… eew!

I loved the garden hose from the moment I could manage the spigot on the side of the house. Because hoses could be attached to sprinklers! And playing in sprinklers is one of the absolute giddiest forms of fun. In addition, quenching summertime thirst from a makeshift water fountain ranks pretty high on the fun-o-meter too. (Garden hoses have been known to occasionally tempt me to surprise attack and terrorize neighborhood boys. Had to be careful with this one, though — paybacks could be intense.

I still enjoy special garden hose moments, but not so much for reasons mentioned above. I mostly prance around the yard watering flowers and herbs and vegetables. Nowadays, I tote my hose on a nifty little wheeled caddy. Once again, a thank you note to an inventor is in order. And from time to time, I might pause to fill a few water balloons. Heh heh.


2. Swimming pools (and other bodies of water). It didn’t matter whether it was a municipal pool, a four-foot inflatable number, or a body of water found in nature — if it accommodated the immersing of oneself while the heat was beating down, it’d do. Spent a lot of time and took a bunch of swim lessons at the city park pool, and had the prune fingers and chlorine split ends to prove it.

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Pools are still very cool, but you won’t catch me doing canon balls off the diving board any more. Lolling on inflatable rafts or noodles is more like it… oh, yeah.


3. Sno Cones (and their step-cousins, popsicles). So much refreshment to be gained from these icy colored-sugar-water treats! What can I say? Good to the last chunk of ice.

Admittedly, I haven’t had a snow cone in a while, since I’m more inclined to opt for a fruit smoothie to zap the heat these days. (And where is that wonderful chap who invented the blender…?)


4. Kool-Aid. So many flavors, so many rainbow mustaches. Stirring the Kool-Aid was perhaps the very first meal prep chore entrusted to me. It would be served up in aluminum tumblers, giving the sugary drink even more chill.

Not being into bright food coloring so much any more, I’m more likely to choose fresh-squeezed lemonade over this childhood staple. I even go as far as to chill glass mugs in the freezer beforehand to get that extra frosty effect…


And last*, but not least…

5. Movie theaters. Boy, o boy, how I loved sitting in air-conditioned movie theaters. Many stores and public places back in the day were proud to display their window decals, “Come In — It’s Cool Inside!”. But you could sit for at least an hour or two in a movie theater — an environment as awesome as standing in front of the frig with the door wide open (“Close the frig, young lady — you think money grows on trees?”).

Movie theaters are still calling to me. Not that I go all that often, what with the pricey ticket (I usually try to swing a twilight showing to maximize the old entertainment dollar). After all, who can resist beating the heat while being charmed by little yellow minions, et al.

Well, this has been nice.

Hey, later! I gotta go. I hear Godzilla calling my name…


* A one-time event which hasn’t exactly carried over but is nevertheless worth honorable mention: When I was about 11 there was a Friday night when it didn’t seem to cool off at all, so at 10:00 p.m., it was still probably 90 degrees in our bedrooms. Trying to fall asleep in pools of perspiration was proving utterly futile, when my dad took a notice to drag our mattresses out onto our large balcony style porch, affording us r-e-l-i-e-f. Now that was cool.



Taster’s choice

October 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

During my freshman year in high school, I had biology class first thing in the morning. By 8:00 a.m., we were discussing the mating habits of tse tse flies, inspecting pond scum, dissecting fetal pigs, and other bizarre activities that would have been difficult to stomach at any time of day, much less before my fried egg and toast had fully digested. Needless to say, I don’t remember a whole lot about biology due to the unreasonably early time slot it occupied and the fact that I was pretty grossed out for the duration.

Which is why I know so little about taste buds. The biology textbook probably included information about them, detailing their features and function. But apparently, I have retained zilch. And so I have no logical explanation as to why, as a little kid, I clamored for foods that today I would just rather not put in my mouth. Is it a case of childhood taste buds being underdeveloped until reaching their full maturation following adolescence? Or are they fully developed in childhood, and at a certain point begin to degenerate — leaving adults with absolutely no appetite for the delectable menu items to be found in school lunchboxes across the land? To which delectable menu items do I refer, you ask?


Wonder Bread. During my childhood, television commercials drilled into our heads Hostess’s slogan:”Wonder Bread — Builds Strong Bodies 12 Ways.” In every household I frequented, toast and sandwiches were made with these highly refined white slices. It was the staff of life. Nowadays, I will occasionally find myself in a situation where my options are either 1) to go hungry or 2) to eat something made with such bread. And every once in a while, I cave in and select option number two, which invariably refreshes my memory as to why I am convinced I will always be better off opting to go hungry, Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval notwithstanding. Oh wait — now I get it! It will make you Wonder where all the flavor and texture went!

cupcake hostess

Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies. I didn’t get these treats very often, but when I did, Mom would cut them in half so everybody could have some. And, oh, how I loved, loved, loved scooping out their creamy filling with my finger. Once again, by late adolescence my passion for them had waned. It wasn’t until my children got old enough to beg for treats petulantly in the check-out aisle hostess-twinkiesthat these goodies reappeared on my radar. I must have caved in to the kids’ pressure at least once because I remember tasting them as an adult and being confounded as to what the big deal had been — all they seemed to offer was a weird texture and an unpleasant aftertaste. But the kids inhaled them.

Kool-Aid. This was a staple in our household. And, I might add, I drank it with gusto. Daily, throughout the summer months. Was its appeal the bright food coloring? Or the cool pitchers the Kool-Aid 4488040607_ed00df71e0_ocompany marketed heavily, making me feel like we were missing out on all the fun because our family didn’t have one? By about age twelve or thirteen, I opted out of the Kool-Aid market, and can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve had any since then. Maybe I just became self-conscious about wearing the neon moustache it would invariably leave behind.

back-from-the-store-434x195Oreos. Okay, scratch that one. I still like Oreos. Could someone please pass the milk?

Necco Candy Wafers. These candies were especially coveted. One reason was because there were enough wafers in the package to last for several days, if one was careful. But the main reason I was crazy about them was because when you licked the powdery coating off they turned a much brighter shade of the individual color. That was so cool. (I admit I was very easily entertained.)

Several years ago, my sister and I were at a truck stop and spied the familiar waxed paper rolls of sweet deliciousness in the candy display. I kid you not, I was absolutely giddy at the prospect of having some beloved Necco’s once again, after all these years. A split second after handing my money to the cashier, that wrapper was off. We each got a wafer and licked it, then popped them in our mouths. And then simultaneously, our faces bore identical expressions that said, what on earth had we been thinking?!

I could go on, but then I’d violate the “…in Five” part of this blog’s commitment to keep things on the short and sweet side. (You caught that, right? …short and sweet …like Twinkies …or wafer candies …heh heh.) Meanwhile, you’ll find me searching for the answer to the riddle: have my taste buds evolved over the years or have they simply gone to pot and no longer appreciate the finer delicacies of childhood? Stay tuned.