Friday, February 17, 2017

... Of Sandwiches And Slings!

You ever have one of those times when you're feeling pretty OK in life, somewhat accomplished, reasonably confident... and then you start worrying the cat doesn't like you?



Like, maybe the cat doesn't hate you, but there's a definite chill in the relationship. A snubbed snuggle attempt. A new favorite spot, further away from you. Doesn't return calls as often.



So you start wondering what you did wrong (besides the donut collar for her over-grooming), and if maybe more of her favorite hairball treatment would smooth things over - you know, the one flavored like catnip -  when you realize you're obsessing over whether or not your cat likes you, and maybe this isn't normal?

No? Just me? Good, good. Cool talk, bro.


It's Day 4 after John's surgery, and while I have some fun little crafts to show you and an art roundup to do, I thought I'd just chat for a bit. Because I am tired, you guys. How do all of you do this? You know, make meals and keep house and drive around running errands and still take care of work and family? Plus, you know, leave the house so much? 




John's recovering well, by the way, except for his tongue, which turned an alarming shade of lime green yesterday. When you consider all the colors a tongue might turn on its own, I think you'll agree green is up there with most unsettling.

Turns out it's Thrush, a familiar nuisance from the last time John was in a hospital. So now we have more new meds folded in to our regiment of pills, tinctures, treatments, and therapies, and we live by the alarms on John's phone, and to the drone of his V-pulse cooling machine.

Since I figure you don't want a picture of his tongue. :p



But enough about today. Let's talk sandwiches.



One of my grandfather's birthdays was on Valentine's Day, and I got to thinking about him this week over the sub-par turkey sandwiches I'd made for lunch. Grandpa was a tall, rail-thin Texan who loved sandwiches. Big, layered, decadent sandwiches with exotic things on them, like pimento cheese. As a kid coming from a family where the only things you put between bread were bologna and Miracle Whip, having sandwiches with my grandparents was a bona fide experience. Grandma and Grandpa took serious time preparing their lunch spreads: a DIY sandwich buffet of tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, an assortment of sliced cheeses and deli meats, all the condiments - and of course that tub of day-glo orange pimento cheese, which Grandpa would slide across the table with a conspiratorial wink. "Put yourself some of this on there," he'd drawl.

Then after lunch, Grandpa would lean way down and ask, in a stage whisper, if we kids wanted a Goo-Goo Cluster. I still remember the way he'd say it, all slow and serious. Goo-Goo Cluster. Like something holy and forbidden and irretrievably silly, all at the same time. Of course we'd say yes, and Grandpa would open up the highest cabinet in the motor home - the one my petite little grandmother had no prayer of reaching - and pull out a box from his "secret" stash. He also had Moon Pies and Peppermint Patties and enormous buckets of Tootsie Rolls up there, but the Goo-Goo Clusters were my favorite. More than that, I loved that an adult could relish a piece of candy the way we kids did. I loved how happy it made Grandpa, how happy he was to share and see us happy.

I've never told John this, but the sandwiches he makes us most days for lunch remind me of those times with my grandparents. John is a master at sandwiches. He finds the best tomatoes, just the right toasting level, the perfect ratio of mayo-to-mustard. The care John puts into those sandwiches each day makes me feel valued, makes me feel loved.

I guess I should tell him that sometime.

So what about you guys, do certain foods remind you of loved ones? How about old-fashioned candies, any favorites? (My dad used to go through those cardboard milk cartons full of Whoppers - remember those?) Heck, now that I'm craving sugar anyway, go ahead and tell me any lesser-known modern candies you like, too; I am always open to trying new sweets.


Well, peeps, the alarm is sounding. Stay tuned for either my total descent into madness or my mastery of all things multi-tasking.

And also more craft posts.

137 comments:

  1. I totally do that with my dog, all the time, and wondered if I'm the only one! So thanks for letting me know I'm not :-).
    As for goodies, my mom mostly banned all sugary things, but dad would take us on sneaky trips to Dunk'n Donuts...mmmm, bear claws! Can't get those where I live now :-(

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  2. My Dad always has 100 elaborate sides for his meals. Then, at night, we'll have a dinner with all the gourmet leftovers on a tray to do your own meal. Love my Dad's cooking and whenever my husband and I go somewhere that serves three forkfuls of a side that you know takes hours to make, we'll think of my Dad (who's still with us, that made him sound deceased). Those leftover meals are amazing.

    I'm a Malteser girl myself, including their bunnies/reindeers. So good. And after eights, although I haven't had those in ages.

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  3. My Dad loved Whoppers, too (virtual fist bump with Jen)! But the goodie that really made me feel loved was on really cold days when we would walk home from school and find that Grandma had made her special treat. She would line up saltines on a cookie sheet, spread them with peanut butter, top them with a marshmallow and pop them in the oven till they were sweet and salty, hot and toasty. Wonderful! At least, they were wonderful when I was a kid. I tried making them as an adult and they just weren't the same. Maybe my peanut butter to marshmallow ratio was off?

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  4. My Pop Pop (that's what we called my grandfather) made the best grilled cheese sammiches. I can never get mine to taste like his. I think it's probably because he used a boat load of butter, lol.

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  5. Frozen pizzas. Whenever we visited my Grandpa, he would pull a pizza from the freezer and we'd have dinner of frozen pizza. My sister and I would pick one of my Grandma's Audubon Society glasses to drink out of -- which always smelled like the cedar cabinet they were kept in and in fact, I now want to go home and see if they still do. But yeah, I can't eat or smell a frozen pizza without thinking of my Grandpa and I'm ok with that.

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  6. My paternal grandmother's birthday was February 9 and mine is Valentine's Day, so we always had a shared birthday party. Although it grossed my mother out mightily, Nan loved her some Pepperidge Farm cake. A few years ago I figured out a recipe to make a homemade version of the coconut one - all of the memories along with the way you wished it tasted. The only problem is that coconut and my own personal combination of meds do not play nicely, so I can't eat it anymore. I do, however, smile and think of Nan every time I pass those frozen cakes at the grocery store. :)

    As for candy, a new favorite is CVS lemon slice gummies. A friend had their sour worms and let me try them and I was happily surprised, so I got the lemon ones when I went to pick up some of the worms. Let's just say my teenagers said how good the lemon ones were, I tasted a couple, and they then proceeded to inhale the rest of them.

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    1. My birthday is Feb 10 and my mom used t get me a lemon Pepperidge Farm cake for my birthday every year once I turned about 10. That was my favorite. I still buy myself one every few years. I have the last of one in the freezer right now.

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  7. For the thrush issue in future anytime one of our kids is going on antibiotics or having any kind of medical procedure we start them on heavy doses of a good probiotic and give them kids of yogurt starting as far in advance as we can and keeping on it until about a week after. They've finally stopped getting thrush since we started that.

    And on the cat, cats are evil. One of my favorite kinds of pets but still evil. Lol

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  8. My grandparents kept a chest freezer just for ice cream! They always had at least 6 flavors to choose from. Grandpa also lived butterscotch discs, gooseberry pie, and pineapple pie. As for Whoppers, Ghirardelli makes the very best version, but I've only ever seen them at their stores in San Francisco. Better than Whoppers and Malteasers both, IMHO!

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    1. My Grandfather always wore a suit and tie (with a vest *and* hat, thank you very much!), and his jacket pocket was always full of those butterscotch discs. When he passed, we put them in his pockets at the funeral, and my youngest brother carefully unwrapped one part-way and tucked it into Grandpa's folded hands...

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  9. My dad LOVED ribbon candy at Christmas and yellow Peeps at Easter. My youngest sister gave me a ribbon candy ornament one Christmas and I blubbered like a baby. Every year I buy myself one box of yellow Peeps (any other color is sacrilege!) and enjoy them in dads memory.
    I useta love sandwiches but gluten free bread just does NOT do it for me, so I don't bother any more. I loved adding alfalfa sprouts to any sandwich. Also sliced avocado to a BLT! Mmmmmm!

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  10. My great grandpa always had peppermints (the red/white swirled hard candy often seen as you exit a restaurant - those peppermints) in his shirt pocket. I remember being so excited to go to their house, sit on his lap, "sneak" (as sneaky as a 5-year old can be) a peppermint, and then put the empty wrapper back in his shirt pocket. :-)

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    1. My dad loved those same peppermints. The day before he died, I had emptied all my dresser drawers and closet, picked out what I didn't want, and reorganized everything. The day after he died, when I was packing, I found one of those peppermints between folded jeans in a drawer. And then on the plane, my snack box had the same peppermint, but wasn't supposed to. I guess Dad was thinking of me.

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  11. Sigh. I was too curious and googled thrush. That was a mistake.

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    1. [cue David Tennant crying in the rain] I AM SO SORRY.

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    2. Oh, man, I wanted to see the lime green tongue! But I don't think I want to google Thrush.
      And just because I feel the need to whine (or is it vent?) I'm going to whine and complain. Feel free to stop reading here. I'm working this three-day "holiday" weekend (unexpectedly), my mom is visiting from out of state, it's been raining, which isn't too bad except for the part that it is now raining in my dining room. The weekend trifecta. [heavy sigh]

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    3. Hang in there! I'm sending positive thoughts your way, my anonymous friend!

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  12. My Dad always had a stash of bulk candy in the glove-compartment of the car, most memorably the gummy orange slices covered in sugar, or gum drops. He's diabetic now, so no more candy stashes, but ah, the memories.

    And my Uncle Gary always had butterscotch hard candies tucked in his pant leg - which sounds totally weird until I mention he only had one leg, so he'd roll up the other leg of his jeans and it'd be an extra little pocket, just for candy.

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    1. It sounds like you have the makings of a good short story there with your second sentence! Made me smile...

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  13. Current favorite candy is individual sized Take Five! Pretzels, PB, Caramel, Chocolate and Peanuts! The perfect candy if you like salty+sweet

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  14. My GPa always had a carton of whoppers sitting next to his recliner. I can hear the sound of those malt balls rolling inside the wax carton making a slight echo within as you tipped it over to get one. He also enjoyed orange slices. Nothing like that sugary crunch between your teeth as you chomped down into that orange gelatin goodness.

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    1. My grandpa loved those orange slices too!

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  15. I will forever and always associate Dots (those so-gummy-they-bond-to-your-teeth chewy candy domes that come in a yellow box and look like they're from the vintage CandyLand game) with my Papa (my maternal grandfather). He loved those things. He'd buy them for us for a special treat. I actually don't have much of a sweet tooth and I don't like most candy, but I sometimes eat those when I'm missing him. And I steal a box from the kids' Halloween candy every year, in honor of Papa :-).

    I'm the same about Reeses and Jolly Ranchers--those go in the "dad" file in my brain. Now, he's still alive and all, but I can't eat them without thinking of him. Also, WHY DID THEY GET RID OF YELLOW JOLLY RANCHERS? They were the best ones, and blue is yucky!

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    1. I agree about the yellow Jolly Ranchers -- those were my favorites too!
      -Zippy

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  16. I adore Goo Goo Clusters! My mom's favorite old-timey candy is "Bun", I just sent her a big box via Amazon. They are yummy. If you like Goo Goo's you would probably like Bun, too.

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  17. My late dad took us to the candy stone or dairy queen if we behaved in church. He had a stash of goodies and could bake a decadent chocolate mousse cake!
    My specialty is chocolate Carrot cake with choc cream cheese icing that is like cheesecake on top!
    My late mom always made basic meat snd potato meals,stews and was French Canadian so a tourtierre lesson was a must.after midnight mass we'd have a slice, then open xmas presents well into the night.
    I just came home from the grocery store and got the ingredients to make the perfect BLTs all weekend long. As well as all the fixings for lasagna. Yes, I'm hungry right now

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  18. I'm okay with not getting a picture of John's tongue, but I think we all want to know the shade of green. :)

    Ginger ale reminds me of my paternal grandfather, and pink peppermints (wintergreens) remind me of my maternal grandfather. Tuna sandwiches make me think of my dad, and the smell of baking makes me think of my mom. Happy sigh. Thanks for inspiring these happy memories.

    Here's hoping John's recovery goes well and I'm sending you many virtual vibes of energy as you continue to rock at taking care of him. High fives and fist bumps and hugs!

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  19. When my dad's mom passed away, we had a dinner that included all of the foods that reminded us of her--pickled beets, deviled eggs, peanut butter cookies, mini boxes of cereal. It was wonderful. When I miss her, I make those cookies.
    My mom's parents took care of me after school when I was young, and my grandpa and I would always have cheese and crackers for snack. He and I still talk about that.

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  20. My dad is a pie master craftsman. He has a recipe handed down through I don't even know how many generations, a rolling pin that's older than I am, and he freezes batches of fillings every summer and fall from fresh, local, fruit and a cookbook that's over 50 years old. Nothing says home to me like tart cherry pie, and the very smell of blackberries makes me feel like I'm 10 again, traipsing through blackberry brambles picking berries and putting them in buckets made of old coffee cans

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  21. My little brother and I once used a box of Whoppers as cereal. Chocolate frosted sugar bombs! He's a big Calvin and Hobbes fan. Every time I see one of those milk carton I think about the best stomache ever.

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  22. Thank you Jen; I'm crying now thinking about my mom and the candies we shared as I was growing up. Necco wafers; where I'd pass her the mint ones I didn't like and she'd share her chocolate ones because I liked them best. On another day it would Chuckles candy; she'd get my licorice because the black one was her favorite and I'd get her red.

    For the best sandwich in the world growing up was chipped ham which we could only get when we went to visit mom's family in Pittsburgh. I once flew home with 5 lbs of frozen chipped ham in the overhead bin of the plane so mom & I could enjoy a few extra sandwiches together.

    Chippped ham, Neccos, and Chuckles; the food that makes me remember my mom and the times we had together.

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  23. What? No picture of the green tongue??? Darn! ;) Hope John is not getting tired of being laid-up yet!

    Chocolate cake reminds me of my grandparents. Mostly because whenever we visited, there was always a chocolate cake there that my grandma had made. But secondly because of my favorite story of my mom and her siblings.

    So, my grandpa LOVED chocolate cake. And so Grandma always was baking one for him. He would go out to do farm chores, and while he was out there, my mom would cut herself off the TINIEST SLIVER of cake, thinking that there is no way he could miss such a skinny piece. But when he would come in, he would be shouting that someone had taken some of his cake!! Years later (as in, a family reunion that I attended as an adult, lol), my mom and her siblings were talking about those cakes. Turns out that nearly EVERY ONE of them was cutting themselves off a tiny sliver of cake when Grandpa was out. My mom is one of 12 kids! Makes it a little easier to tell when cake is missing when you have that many slivers of cake being cut off!!

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  24. My mom loved candy corn more than anything else (including the giant box of Whoppers she hid poorly behind her chair in the living room). Didn't matter what time of year, my mother always had a bag of candy corn in her purse. My mother, the perfectly put together, always manicured, never a hair out of place woman would run you over with her car if she suspected you were preventing her from obtaining her candy corn.

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  25. Labral tear surgery was by far the most trying time to be the wife of the patient. It didn't help that we have two little kids. I feel your "pain" and hope that his recovery is swift. Day drinking is acceptable.

    My Grandma always had a hidden jar of red hots and would pretend to be irritated that we were swiping them, or at least I think she was pretending. Swedish Fish are high on my list as well.

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  26. I wonder about my cat liking me too (what is it about those side-eye looks they give all too well?) so I guess we are in the same boat. You continue to be the Queen of multi-tasking while John is recuperating. He will be back on his feet - and hopefully without a green tongue - soon. Then he can teach you his ways of mastering sandwiches. We are all rooting for the both of you! I was raised on pimento cheese so I love that stuff. It is a little day-glo orange but it tastes great, especially when eaten on squishy white bread. My Dad used to love jelly beans and would eat them by the handful. He would share the orange and yellow ones with me because those were my favorites. One of my favorite things was when my Grandmother used to make her peach pie. I can never get mine to taste as good. Maybe it was the love she baked into it. Nowadays I prefer dark chocolate and if I can find some with caramel and marshmallow I am in heaven!

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  27. Pot roast always reminds me of my mom - rich, savory, and covered in delicious gravy. The pot roast, not my mom. Although there was this time when the pressure cooker exploded...
    Astro-pops, for some reason they were the absolute best when I was a child. Too sweet for me now, but in my memories they are perfect.

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  28. My sister, my two foster brothers, and myself all had chicken pox together when I was 2 (pretty sure our mother was nominated for sainthood after that). As a bribe to not scratch, my mom gave me Whoppers. I loved them! They're the first things I steal out of my kiddos' halloween stashes. At least they used to be. My celiac diagnosis put an end to my Whopper rustlin' days. Dang it, barley malt!

    My grandmother could put on the most impressive sandwich fixings array! And everything had to be laid out just so. No jars on her table! Banana peppers were scooped out into a little dish. Even the mayo had it's own serving dish. Lunch meat all arranged on a plate. Cheese on another. Lunch time felt like a feast!

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  29. My grandad always had werthers originals to share with us whenever we visited. My mum always told us they were his special sweets and when I first saw them for sale just on the shelf in a shop my mind was blown. They always tasted much better out of his pocket. I also had a teacher who gave us mint toffees on a Friday and to this day the taste takes me back to that classroom

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  30. My Aunt Betty and Uncle Les always had cartons of Whoppers. I was intrigued that they sold them in milk cartons!!! Why? At any rate, I would eat them sometimes but I like the idea of them more than the taste. I have many memories of my mom around food, though. Her meatloaf was THE BEST. Yes, meatloaf. How did she do it?
    All three of these wonderful people are gone from my life now, and I miss them every day. I savor the memories as much as I savored eating with them.
    p.s. I LOVE pimiento cheese, as long as it isn't sweet (that is, made with sweet pickles or Miracle Whip. Yuck!) I grew up in NY and never even heard of it until I went to college in TN. My husband, the southern boy, HATES the stuff so we never have it around the house. So whenever I'm in the south, I'll seek out good pimiento cheese so I can enjoy it without him making fake heaving noises.

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  31. My Dad loved giant jelly beans. They were huge! I think they might have been called Texas Jelly Beans. They were hard to come by, and if I found them, I would buy him a big bag. I haven't seen them in at least 20 years.

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  32. I think for me it's always going to be chocolate eclairs for my dad and meringues for mum. I never did know any of my grandparents well enough to associate a specific food with them.

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  33. When I was younger, my family was a lower income family. (We weren't so poor that we were in danger of being homeless or not having food, but we definitely wore clothes from Goodwill or donated bags that people would give my grandmother, and not to be ironic or cool like some people do now. We wore those clothes because that was literally all our parents could afford.)

    After payday, when we went grocery shopping, we would sometimes go to the deli counter and get nice lunchmeats and cheeses. We could only get 1 or 2 of each, so we would have to agree. But this was a once-in-awhile treat for us (usually we got the cheapest thinnest lunchmeat available, with slices of cheap processed cheese.) And we would make these huge sandwiches on poboy bread (similar to sub or hoagie bread) and those were the best sandwiches of my life. They wouldn't have been so good if we could've eaten them more often. But because they were so rare, they were our some of our favorite dinners growing up.

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  34. My grandma was an amazing cook. She had an ENORMOUS collection of cookbooks and recipes (I'm talking a full bookcase-worth, here). My favorite dish of hers was macaroni and cheese (from scratch), and I'm really glad I asked her to teach me how to make it before she passed away, so now I get to carry on the tradition.
    My tastes in candy are fairly traditional (sour gummy worms, peanut butter cups, dark chocolate M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers). I do live in the nougat capital of the world, though, and I've been working in the industry for the last several years so I've become something of an expert on it. The nougat maker I currently work for makes lots of different kinds, including one with olives in it. As I like to tell customers, I was incredibly skeptical at first, but it's actually really good. That's about as weird as I get. :P

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  35. My grandmother used to put "Oleo" (aka margarine) on saltines to eat with her chili/soups. I still pull that out every once in a while.

    My other grandma seemed to always have hard candy, especially the "ribbon" candy, everytime I see that I think of her and grandpa.

    A friend just turned me on to Albert's Chocolate Ice Cubes. It was good. I had the milk chocolate, but would love to try a dark chocolate one. lol

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  36. My great aunt kept Pop Rocks on hand for our visits. I don't know if she was just entertained by our enjoyment or if the stash was actually for her and she was kind enough to share them with us. It could have gone either way, really, and I think of her whenever I see them.

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  37. I'm reading this from my recliner wearing the exact same sling as John. My surgery was exactly three weeks ago. Last night was the very first night I didn't need any pain meds to sleep. A week after surgery I developed a terrible rash on my back that after consulting a dermatologist they still don't know what it was but it was caused by the ice machine. I have extremely sensitive skin. Good luck to John, he is almost out of the worst part. I start PT on Monday, not looking forward to that.

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  38. My paternal Grandma worked at the movie theater for decades. When we went to her town, and got to go to a movie, she would always give us a box of Jr. Mints. Those are my movie candy. My Mom loved the Milk Duds and Whoppers, and they always make me miss her!

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  39. There's lots of foods that remind me of my Grandpa. The main ones are chocolate covered peanuts which he loved with beer and German chocolate cake which my Grandma made for him on his birthday every year. There's a candy bar called Rocky Road that makes me all nostalgic too he used to have them in the car for me and my sister when he picked us up on Weds when my Mom had to work late. Anyone remember those?

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  40. You can do it. It makes you insane at first and then you settle into a new normal and you realize you're capable of a lot more than you give yourself credit for. Then when you don't have to do absolutely everything its a relief.

    You'll get there.

    In the meantime, treat yourself to a Goo Goo Cluster. You deserve it.

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  41. Favorite sandwich, BLT on untoasted sourdough with a slice of cheddar cheese and sometimes sliced avocado.

    Favorite special candy...CurlyWurly bars from (British)Cadbury. Drizzled caramel covered in chocolate.

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  42. My grandmother loved Nips. Especially the ones with the chocolate filling. They were HER candy and if she share one, it made me feel very special indeed!

    She also liked black licorice, but THAT she could keep to herself. No one wanted to share that with her. LOL

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  43. My grandparents would bring small bags of Brachs Pick-a-mix candies to my Dad's softball games in the summer.
    My other grandparents, or grandpa at least, would occasionally take us to the grocery store where he would let us pick our own frozen TV dinner. May not seem like much, but I can't look at a Banquet frozen meal without thinking about him.
    Oh! The 80's!

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  44. Every year for our birthdays, Momma made us whatever we wanted for dinner. When I turned 15, my parents were out of the country and Grandma was tending us, and one of my lowborn good-for-nothing siblings asked for vegetable soup on my birthday.

    VEGETABLE.

    SOUP.

    I hate soup (I prefer chewing my food, thank you very much), and I have a very strong disinclination towards veggies that aren't fried in bacon fat and drizzled with cheese. To be forced to eat my arch nemesis on my birthday? The betrayal was large.

    Grandma died that fall. When my birthday came around again the following May, I quietly asked my momma for vegetable soup. To this day, it reminds me of Grandma. I don't eat it ever (see above), but I always think of her when I come across it.

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  45. I've continued my family's tradition of showing love to others by making fun of them and baking the most delicious oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies. A little crisp on the outside, gooey and chocolatey on the inside. It's like a hug for your mouth . . . and your heart.

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  46. pistachio's, I have only ever eaten them with my dad and whenever I see them or smell them it brings back the memory of sitting with my siblings trying to get the shells of the little things.

    -Tiffany

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  47. Ritz crackers with peanut butter in the middle like a sandwich! They were my dad's favorite snack before he got "healthy".

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  48. Coming from French tradition here, so bear with me with the French names.

    My Mémé (grandma) makes the most delicious gratin dauphinois (potato au gratin), except instead of cooking it in the oven as you do, she somehow manages to do it in a pot. She also has the best recipe of vegetable soup and even though I finally, after many years, got hold of her recipe (she would always tell me "you just throw whatever veggies you have in the fridge dear"... Well I don't have random veggies in my fridge Mémé, that's why I ask for the exact recipes with quantities and all!), I never get it quite right.

    My Pépé (grandpa) would always, always insist on getting us kids' individual juice cartons when we visited. Even though we were 25. Also, he used to make the best homemade mayonnaise. And finally, he was the only person I ever knew who loved tofu. Coming from this rough mountain grampy who loved smelly cheese and traditions, I never quite understood how and why he would love something so foreign and exotic in rural France back in the 80s, but now that I'm a vegetarian and eat lots of tofu, that's something that reminds me of him.

    My mom taught me how to make quiche, and this reminds me of her every time I, too, make quiche. And chestnut fondant, but chestnuts are hard to get by in Canada, where I live now.

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  49. I'm glad John's doing well aside from the green tongue.

    My paternal grandparents had a lidded milk glass candy dish, which they kept filled with those pink wintergreen lozenges. My brothers and I all had to discover the hard way that it is not possible to lift the lid on that thing without making noise, which would always mean a grownup telling us no candy. Somehow I wound up with the candy dish, but one year I gave it to my younger brother for Christmas, along with a bag of wintergreen lozenges. Ever since, I've made a point of giving him a bag of those candies along with the rest of his Christmas gifts.

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    1. LOL, I don't have any special candy memories except for the Fenton glass candy bowl. My brain is etched with the 'tink' of that lid, when we were trying to be stealthy!

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  50. My Grandpa would make these amazing sweet pickles! So delicious. My grandparents would also can rainier cherries ands other things, but I remember going to their house after school and having a dessert bowl of those amazing pit-in cherries! Another staple was my Grandma's hamburger soup! Perfect year-round.

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  51. My grandmother used to have candy all over her house. Dusty hard candy that couldn't be separated from the bowl it was in, all sorts of really cheap things wrapped in wax paper (remember those little orange and black things at Halloween?), and licorice. She'd have the red waxy stuff for most people, but for her son, my uncle, her FAVORITE, she kept some black licorice around. A movie theater sized box of Crows, which always sounded vaguely racist to me but I couldn't see why. And she'd let me have some. I still like really high quality soft black licorice, but not Crows. They taste rubbery now. And still kind of racist.

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  52. Fudge bars (generic Fudgsicles) always make me think of my grandma. She always stayed up really late, so when I would stay with my grandparents, we would stay up and watch late night movies and eat fudge bars. My grandpa also loved sandwiches, and would turn just about anything into a sandwich. Your post made me smile. Thank you, I really needed this today. Hope John recovers well, and that Lily won't continue to be distant.

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  53. My dad loved Peanut Buster Bars from Dairy Queen, which is weird because he hated all things dairy. I think the combo of salt/sweet/chocolate make the bit of dairy okay with him. On the 10th anniversary of his death, I went to DQ and had one.
    My mom loved anything chocolate, she even liked cheap crappy chocolate. I won't eat cheap chocolate bars. She also loved beef stew - me too! Whenever I make it I think of her. (hers was better)
    Allergies means no good sandwiches for me anymore. C'est la vie.

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  54. Candies of memory? Junior mints at the movies, butter mints with my paternal grandma, butterscotch candies with my maternal grandma, mint chocolate chip ice cream with grandpa. When we visited my maternal grandma, she would serve tuna salad on English muffins that she had put in the broiler. My paternal grandparents would do a sandwich bar with squishy white bread, lunch meat, and cheese.

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  55. You sent me down memory lane...my grandparents always kept a box of saltines and can of salted cocktail peanuts on top of the gas stove, the kind where the pilot is always on. Because of this the crackers and peanuts were always warm. To this day warm salted peanuts are still one of my favorite things to eat. And I would never say no to toasty warm saltines with butter spread on them. Yum.

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  56. One of my Grandmas was a product of the depression and hoarded food, but the special treat at her house was always breakfast. We survived on cold cereal and oatmeal at home because Mom went to work before six in the morning, so Grandma's breakfasts were always a treat. My favorite was canned biscuits, fried apples, sausage patties, and whipped land o'lakes butter, still hard from the fridge. It was always very simple, but she always made sure to feed me lots of breakfasts whenever i visited. My grandfather on that side died when I was almost too little to remember him, but the only thing I can connect to him and food was that he always sat on the porch with an apple and a pocketknife. I think he liked watching the faces I made when he peeled it in one big spiral slice, and then we would share it, one slice at a time.

    My other grandfather was a chef, and never cooked at home that I can remember. He liked to take us out to his friends' restaurants when we were little and show us off. I have no idea how he wrangled all seven of his grandkids by himself, but he did. I have so many memories sitting in restaurant booths and ordering the biggest sandwich on the menu while he smirked behind his menu as the waitresses tried to talk me into something smaller. He is the source of my love for chili cheese dogs, root beer, and the crispy skin on fried chicken. My grandmother on that side of the family would let me help her cook, and I have so many memories of the two of us in her tiny little kitchen, feeding our family.

    I miss them all, but the legacies they left with me still carry on in my kitchen. They taught me how to love and enjoy food in all its forms, and that a sandwich and a handful of potato chips is as special as the thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings, and the company you eat with is the best of all.

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  57. the pink wintergreen discs always remind me of my grandparents. i don't like them now but as a kid it was a special treat when we visited.

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  58. I have frequently been known to say the only reason I want a time machine is to go back and have my granny's friend chicken and coleslaw just one more time. Also, Nabisco Sugar Cookies (shaped like a flower, big sugar crystals) and Chocolate Chip Snaps.

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  59. My dad's breakfast hash brown potatoes...he uses a box grater & russet potatoes and cook 'em up in a cast iron pan, somehow getting them into thin little cakes of starchy goodness with an amazing crust on both sides of the disc of happiness. I still request them on our annual family camping trip. Also, my grandfather had these candies I loved that had a liquidy center...I still have no idea what they were actually called but I believe they had a red wrapper...childhood in a cellophane wrapper right there.

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  60. If no one has mentioned it yet, check out an Air Cast cryo cuff. I had a cromioplasty surgery last year (the bone in my shoulder was cutting my rotator cuff and labrum). I avoided the immobilizing sling (thank goodness). I went home from the hospital with two ice packs (useless). I had researched the cryo cuff before surgery and paid for it out of pocket. Best thing ever. If you get one, get the one with a pump (requires electricity). You put ice and water in it, put the cuff on the shoulder and it compresses for 30 seconds at a time. Between the compression and near constant use of the cuff, I had virtually no swelling. I used it religiously after physical therapy, and it really helped. I'm still using it on occasion (just moved and way overdid it). I got it new from eBay, but it's also sold on Amazon (hit or miss). If he has a large chest, you may have to extend the chest strap, but you could add some velcro and fabric to make that longer. I refilled it three to four times over a 24 hour period. You won't get that kind of performance with ice packs. Plus, I really think the compression helps with swelling and inflammation post-surgery which is where a lot of the aches and pain come in.
    I wish John an excellent recovery and you all the energy and calm!

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  61. My grandma is gluten free and I have allergies to dairy and eggs so eating in general is kind of hard but there's this one restaurant (Flying Apron) that does vegan and gluten free baked goods. And the best part is, they're actually good! It's this special restaurant that just the two of us will go to because we're the only one's in the family with food allergies. She's still alive and probably will be for a while longer but I will remember that restaurant as ours forever. -Zilro

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  62. My gramma [my mom's mom, the only grandparent I had any kind of a relationship with] loved Mary Janes/those gross orange- and black-wrappered Halloween candies, and the SUPER gross styrofoam-textured orange marshmallow circus peanuts. And Nutty Buddies -- the chocolate-covered peanut butter wafer cookies. She ate a lot of cereal -- not just different kinds, but quantity as well -- she'd fill up a butter bowl [what we call margarine tubs, about 48-oz capacity] with cereal and milk and eat that for brunch [she never ate early in the morning]. She always had lots of different boxes of cereal open, which we grandkids were welcome to eat, but we had to stay away from her beloved Honey Bunches of Oats, lol! [Funnily enough, as a young adult purchasing my own cereal for the first time, I *so* wanted to buy some, but by then I knew I was allergic to honey. :-(] She liked her fried eggs to have that crispy ring around the edge, which is how I like mine as well [my mom hates them that way]. I always associate the smell of fried chicken with my gramma, probably because she didn't make it often*, so it was a production whenever she did [*she was more of a open-a-can-of-veggies-to-eat-with-the-Hamburger Helper-type of cook, calling *me* with cooking and baking questions, which made me feel super-special]. She did love to make Amish friendship bread whenever anyone gave her a starter -- I eventually gave her a recipe so she could make her own and not have to wait. She made horrible deviled eggs every holiday, and I now think of her every time I eat any.

    Her last husband made huge 10-quart bowls of popcorn on the stove, which smelled amazing. Whenever I smell that smell -- not the buttered popcorn smell from movie theatres, but the hot-oil-and-toasted-corn smell [with lots of salt!] -- I tend to think of him.

    My dad loved liver and onions, and fried bratwurst sandwiches with honey mustard, so those remind me of him.

    My brother used to make me egg sandwiches when he was in middle school -- I think of him fondly whenever I have one, since it was beyond adorable for a cranky pre-teen boy to be asking his older sister excitedly, "Hey, you want me to make you an egg sandwich?!" :-D He started raising chickens last year, so I'm sure I'll be reminded of those egg sandwiches even more when I'm making my own with eggs he gives me. :-)

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  63. I'm sorry my grandmother's dead mostly because I miss being able spend time with her and talk to her. But part of me misses her chocolate chip cookies that came out of the oven and went straight into the freezer. I don't know anyone else who serves them that way or cooks them that well, but they were delicious.

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  64. I just made chili like my mom's - meaning I raided the fridge for all the random stuff that needed to be used up and would work with chili :) She is the master of hiding vegetables in meals, which us kids thought was especially funny because we all liked vegetables growing up.

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  65. Scotch mints will forever remind me of my grandparents. They had a fancy candy dish full of them in their living room, and a margarine tub of them in their car. It was always exciting to be allowed to get one from the candy dish. Now I have the candy dish in my house (it's crystal and ornate and totally unlike anything I own, but it is in a place of honour on my side table in the living room), and it only ever has scotch mints in it. My sister always checks it when she's over, to make sure it's not empty.

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  66. Good for you, Jen, getting out and about. I've been keeping you and John in my prayers. Hope he's feeling better soon.

    My favorite candies are Baby Ruth bars and Peanut Butter M&M's (Reece's Pieces just don't cut it). My Mom loved those pink wintergreen candies and Peeps. I find both of those selections nasty, but once she became homebound, I would buy them for her; the wintergreen I could only find at Joann's Fabrics. I think of her whenever I see Peeps or go to Joann's.

    My mom made the best homemade mac and cheese, and taught me the recipe. Made it this last Christmas when my siblings were visiting, and they both requested the recipe after returning home.

    Joy

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  67. My Papa (dad's dad) would always have Little Debbie snack cakes and cookies, my favorite was the Star Crunch, I will forever associate him with those and old western movies. My mother's mom, Grammy, taught me how to make gravy. My favorite candy now are the Whatchamacallit's candy bars, I craved them during my pregnancy ... mostly at work!

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  68. Great job at juggling All The Things. I'm *supposed* to be doing that, but fail miserably due to all my autoimmune conditions (5) flaring, and anxiety and depression to boot. I'm really glad John has the cool-y machine, I've had that surgery on both shoulders and it's much better than using a bag of frozen peas. As for food, there's a no-bake stovetop cookie-blob we make out of milk,sugar,cocoa,vanilla,peanut butter, and oats. We call them "Pearl Drops" because they were the only thingsmy great-grandmother Pearl made tht weren't disgusting (terrible cook) and my mother made them for us when we brought our first child home. I'd never HELD a baby before, much less been responsible for one's every need, and those chocolatey goodies made everything feel safe and OK.

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  69. My grandfather was a big fan of caramel creams, which he used to call "Yucks" in a joking attempt to get us to leave them all for him. I miss him a lot.

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  70. As a little girl (late 70s/early 80s) I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and her two sisters. I was like the fourth Golden Girl and happily spent my days shopping at Woolworth's Five and Ten and watching soap operas with the gals. The candy that reminds me of those days are spearmint leaves, which everyone seemed to keep in a dish on their coffee tables. Pepperidge Farm cake (that you get in the freezer section) was a special treat. We called it (and my mom and I still call it) a name I don't know how to spell: "Woodeen" ?? Which was for some reason also a nickname for my mom's cousin Eddie (Eduardo --> Uardine --> Woodeen?) I learned in my high school Italian class that many words from my childhood I thought were Italian names for things were actually not. Or not "real Italian" anyway but the New York Italian that my family used was its own thing.

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  71. My mother's mother used to make fried okra - not the frozen packaged kind, but hand-battered and fried fresh. I always think about her when I have fried okra, and I'm always looking for some just as good, but I don't think anyone does that anymore. Lol. My dad's father used to make big pots of chili beans. I've had chili beans just as good or better than his, but chili beans will always remind me of Grandaddy. Ok, now I'm gonna go cry a little because I miss my grandparents.

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    1. I tried to make fried okra once using Alton Brown's recipe, and I have no idea what I did wrong, but they were burnt to a crisp -- not black, just all brown and crunchy. My husband loved them and asked me to make more! I've never attempted it, but I do get a handful whenever we go eat at Golden Corral -- he refuses to eat the okra there because it's not crunchy like the ones I made, lol.

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  72. I'm very glad you're doing good and John is recuperating well.
    I think there's one rule about sandwiches. They ALWAYS taste better when someone else makes it for you. Even your own sandwiches taste better if you make them for someone else.

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  73. First of all, wishing John a speedy recovery -- from all the maladies! You're doing a great job taking care of him, Jen! We know for sure when our cat is irritated with us -- she takes a chunk out of one of our arms (that's why she had trouble getting adopted from the shelter).

    This comment section is so much fun! I love all the trips down "Memory Lane." My dad was the one with the sweet tooth and always had a stash of candy: Jujy-fruits, those horrible orange circus peanuts, Mounds, huge Tootsie Rolls, jelly beans, Boston baked beans, candy corn, lemon drops, etc. My mom loved After Eight mints. My husband and I still give out Snickers, Milky Ways and 3 Musketeers most Halloweens from their big candy bowl. Road trips always meant coffee nips and butter rum lifesavers.

    We had a local sandwich shop that made huge submarine/hoagie/torpedo/hero sandwiches with the best sandwich spread when I was little. When we moved to the mountains, my parents would drive the two hours each way to bring them back. I still remember the wonderful smell that would hit me when we walked in the door of the shop.

    My mom was the queen of German chocolate cake and spritz cookies. I remember coming home from school on rainy winter days to see the dining room table adorned with racks of cooling cookies. My paternal grandmother made amazing eclairs. My maternal grandfather didn't make a lot of sweets (although his "grandpa cookies" were legendary -- recipe from the Quaker oats tub + bourbon), but he made all the traditional Jewish food for the holidays.
    -Zippy

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  74. food memories: my grandmother made this salad of cucumbers and onions with a sort of sweet mayo based dressing. i have never been able to re-create it.
    she also had these vintage glasses with rose, daisy, etc. flowers on them that i *THINK* were jelly jars originally? she would never let anyone except me use them. my mom insisted i get them when she died. i won't use them though after i broke one :*( thy live on the top shelf in the back. when we re-do our kitchen we are planning on having a small display cabinet for my china (my mother's wedding china--she gave it to me after she inherited my grandmother's china) and i will put those glasses in a prominent spot.
    OH! also! i loved to eat cereal at her house because she had WHOLE MILK! (My family was 100% SKIM *blargh*) she always had honey nut cheerios and bananas. so good!

    THRUSH: i agree with a couple of others about getting a good probiotic--everytime i am on antibiotics, i get a weird fungus patch on my lip (you can't see it but i can feel it, it is dry and scaly) probiotics clears it up in a day or 2.

    PETS: we had a running commentary with our Princess (our beloved dog who passed in oct 2015) that she LOVED daddy and "HATED" mommy (me). she would be fine with me alone but as soon as he came home, it was like i didn't exist.
    our current dog, Pepsi, also loves him more than me (mostly because i won't play tug of war for hours on end with her). oh well. c'est la vie

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  75. upon googling, the glasses were apparently from PEANUT BUTTER! and are collectables! good job not letting anyone use them, Grandmother!

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  76. Glad to hear you're both doing good :)
    And it's funny but as a single girl, I totally am using you two as a 'what kind of relationship do I want' benchmark. You two are just perfect together lol.

    My gran used to make this special candy from a recipe that came from one of *her* great aunts. It's this amazing divinity fudge wrapped in caramel and then rolled in pecans. I think it's big in the south (pecan candy) but to me it's a taste of my childhood. She only made it at Christmas and it's the most finicky recipe I've ever attempted (I blew out an hand blender trying it the first time before swapping to a stand blender). Since she's passed we try to keep the tradition of making it alive :)

    Your grandpa and his sandwiches remind me of mine - except for him it was Vidalia onions! They also knew how to make a sandwich, and would hide maraschino cherries in our glasses of milk to get us kids to drink it. Good memories!

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    1. My maternal Grandmother made a batch of divinity every Christmas for my paternal Grandmother. It's so finicky, and none of the rest of us liked it - she didn't even like it! But I can still hear her whispery little voice "I made a box of divinity for Sister Hartley - I know how much she likes it!)

      She was a timid, unhappy woman, so the fact that she would work so hard to make her daughter's mother-in-law happy really stays with me.

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    2. Divinity is finicky. There's a joke in the family that the recipe is cursed lol and no one but a true born Wilson can master it (I'm adopted XD). I like to think that the hand blender was my little sacrifice to some deity cos I've had luck with it ever since.

      I know the traditional divinity has candied fruit in it - cherries, citrus peel. But we always made it plain and had a special way of making the caramel /dulce de leche.
      It's definitely sweet. There's any number of reasons why people wouldn't like it lol.

      Your grandma sounds like she was a very caring woman who liked to give :)
      I miss my grandparents.

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  77. My grandad had a fondness for peanut brittle that still lives in family legend to this day. I'm the only one who inherited that liking, my cousins all think it sticks to their teeth in an unpleasant way. My personal favourite candies are little tea flavoured lozenges. They're a little smaller than, say, a Werther's but still the same kind of hard candy and they taste just like tea with sugar. (A quick google search tells me they're by Bali's Best and I can get them in local stores! I always thought they were just a beach town treat. I might need to find my shoes, now.) :D

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  78. Thanks for sharing the story of your grandfather, maybe it's been a long week but it got me a little teary. My grandpa always used to share Andes mints with me while we watched Columbo, which when I was 7 was just the coolest thing I could think of.

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  79. My grandparents helped to raise me and I was a pretty sick kid for a few years there. Getting me to eat and keep on weight was a constant challenge. So my grandmother made what she called "treater trays" -- a plate with lots of little bite-sized things. And I'd usually eat them up. They would be something like a plate with: circular center of a toast cut out from a piece of bread (I assume Saint Grandma ate the edges) with butter and (homemade) jam, three slices of apple (peeled), slice of deli meat cut into thirds with each piece wrapped around a small piece of cheese, and a graham cracker with chocolate frosting (one of her favorites!). When she was in hospice and we were trying to get her to eat, I would make her "treater trays" as well. Life sure does go full circle, doesn't it?

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    1. Absolutely it does! What a lovely thing to be able to re pay her. My grandma let me have all sorts of nice things, there was always dessert at her house! I still love jelly and ice cream. When I lived with her for a few years as an adult, I did all the cooking and took her out for coffee. She liked strong coffee, and my dad thought it was bad for her. So i used to buy her espressos! We also had a secret pact, that if she passed away, I wouldn't try to resuscitate her (I am a Basic Life support trainer and nurse). Luckily I never had to enact that one.

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    2. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that.

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  80. Whenever I smell roasting turkey (or chicken), I'm transported back to my grandma's house before Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. She also always had a cookie jar with (stale) pink sugar wafers in it. So, whenever I see those, I think of her.

    My Nana (my dad's mom) would slip me coffee candy as a treat ... so I've got a soft spot for it. Funny, since I don't drink coffee.
    Nana would also take fresh strawberries that Pop-pop grew in their garden and put them in a dish. She'd then drizzle them with some half-and-half and top with some sugar.
    The smell of steamed broccoli reminds me of their house.
    And I make clam (or potato) chowder with canned corn, because that's how Nana would make it.
    (She's in memory care due to dementia now. They don't let her cook anymore. Which is sad, since she's an excellent cook. Crazy to think that when she and Pop-pop got married back in '48, she only knew how to make chili and fudge!)

    It makes me wonder what foods my children do (and will) associate with me. I'll have to ask them.

    Thank you, Jen, for such a lovely post.

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  81. Your cat looks very victorian in that collar! Almost 4 months ago my Mom passed away, 8 days after my brother. He was a grill master. Fish frys were his specialty. He also loved to make some fried tortillas that he would then cover with melted butter and cinnamon sugar! My Mom was well loved for her biscuits and gravy. Recently my son's girlfriend made him some biscuits and came in running to me letting me know that his GF knew how to make Mamaw's biscuits and he was over joyed. I have made the biscuits a few times and every time I do we think about Mamaw and how EVERYTHING she cooked was amazing! It is a very awesome time for us. Thanks for sharing your Grandfathers story with us it was so beautiful.

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  82. The fun part comes in when you DON'T have a car. Wake up, get food packed and ready to go, walk a half hour to work, be on your feet while there for eight hours, half an hour walk home, find the energy to make food for now/when you wake up/food for tomorrow's work lunch when all you want to do is sit down and drink while watching mindless stuff, talk yourself into a shower and then start it all over again. Luckily I'm single right now because after the majority of the people I've been with in the past, I've done all of the above while taking care of them and then never getting any help in return when I've been sick or anything. So, blah, my life is boring and sucks.

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    1. That sounds like my life! I also don't have a car and walk to work where I get to stand for eight hours on tile then walk home where I get to make dinner and clean the house. It's certainly a treat.....

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    2. Most definitely! Walmart has concrete floors, only some of the cashiers get to have the padded fatigue floor pads. The rest of us just get the comfort of wearing through a pair of shoes and many insoles every month.

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  83. My grandad always had pistachios to share. The dyed red kind that made your mouth look like a messy vampire if you ate too many. 😊

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  84. I was the first grandbaby on either side, so I got a little bit of a special treatment for the first bit. (Likely helped that the rents were divorcing, and 2 yr old me was darn cute.) My maternal grandmother made a full meal for every meal, and if I ate any of it, she'd cut me a slice of the chocolate cake she made special for me. Breakfast - then chocolate cake, Lunch- chocolate cake, Dinner, you get it right? "Pa the kiddos hungry for a snack, get her some cake will you? I'm quilting." The cake was the darkest chocolate and the icing was nearly fudge. No one else got this cake. In reality, it was probably the only reason I didn't come home from visits oozing grease because I wouldn't eat a ton of her other foods. (fried catfish with the face still there. Nope. Roadside whatever my uncle brought home, Nope. I'm talking country fried everything) I have the recipe thankfully and make it once in a blue moon. I'm the only one who can stomach it. When the icing finishes cooling, the little round center cavity at the top (it's a bunt cake and you fill the center hole with icing too, so there's just a small depression at the top.) creates a pat of butter. That's right, a small pat of butter forms to be scooped off of the icing. XD The best treat though, was my grandfather's homemade ice cream. I cannot wait to get our garden going, so I can introduce the kids to fresh picked tutti-frutti ice cream.

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  85. My Papa always had candy...between malted milk balls, those pastel mint things, necco wafers, salt water taffy, and the other things, it was always awesome to go to their house (killer kitty and chihuahua not withstanding). The last thing I remember was one of his children getting him this molasses cloud-like candy stuff for either christmas or his birthday. I guess back in the depression they used to make it, and he hadn't had it in a long time. Best I can describe it is that it was hard as a rock, but the inside was almost like cotton candy in that it kind of dissolved? I wasn't old enough to partake of the goodies my paternal grand parents were known for, but apparently rum played a large part :-).

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    1. I've always know that "cloud-candy" as "Fool's Gold". You can sometimes find it as "Sponge Candy" - usually covered in chocolate, which is gilding the lily at the very least...

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  86. My grandpa used to always have Juicy Fruit and Wrigley's mint gum up high on his cabinet but he always shared with us. We also used to get Ovaltine with my grandma. My other grandparents always had those hard oatmeal frosted cookies and we would eat then with canned peaches and dip them in the juice. :)

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  87. When my dad was alive, he LOVED cinnamon bears and spearmint leaves. You know...those minty green, jelly leaves coated in sugar? To this day, I can't resist a cinnamon bear, in honor of my dad. <3

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  88. Four foods remind me of my grandpa Pete. Dill pickles, coffee, Chips Ahoy soft cookies and Cornflakes with sugar on them. He'd eat those things all the time! And he always used to let my brother and me sneak some coffee when we'd stay the night. My grandma hated when he did that!

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  89. My grandma used to baby sit us a lot when I was around 5-7 years old. She lived in a BIG house on a hill, with a huge backyard and lots of flowers. It was also near the beach, so we could walk there and have a play and then get a Rainbow scoop ice cream on the way home. It was all sorts of lurid colours and doesn't seem to be around much anymore. She also kept Ginger Nut biscuits, Monte Carlo biscuits, Shortbread Creams and Orange Slice *drool*. If you were good you also got a special lolly, it was a mint flavoured boiled sweet with a chocolate centre! They're hard to find but I do occasionally see them and get myself some! I really miss having tea and biscuits with my grandma. Her lounge had the coolest sofas, and we had special child sized chairs and tables. She let use play with dolls all over the floor. *aahhh, gets mugged in memory lane*. What a great topic Jen!

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  90. My dad grew up in New England (Maine!) so it is always a good day when we get to enjoy American Chop Suey (I bet John knows what that is!). Anything blueberry brings him home, too. He will not, however, drink Moxie. ;)

    My grandpa loved Rolos! YUM! We always had those at his house.

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  91. So I've been re-reading the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher and got to the last book on Friday. There in the prologue, the big evil bad is trying to understand humans, and about why we have meals together. That, plus your post took me on a walk down memory lane. Although my parents and grandparents have all passed on, I will always remember the meals we shared together. My grandma was a great cook and had a garden and two cherry trees in her back yard. I will forever love and miss her from scratch meals, especially her strawberry shortcake and cherry pie. As for candy, my dad always had hostess ding dongs by his bed that he'd share. Well, occasionally I'd sneak one, too. Thank you for sharing your stories, Jen! I'm glad John is on the mend :)

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  92. For me it's the change in the packaging that I miss. I would love to be able to make a Smarties or Chicklet box honk again. While I understand the need to seal them, they're no longer as fun.

    Also I miss Juicy Fruit, original juicy fruit.

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  93. Mallow cups, it's like a Reese's cup, only its filled with marshmallow goo that gets everywhere, so good. My grandfather was a gas man, and he was assigned to one of the lower rent districts. He kept a bag of Dum Dums lollipops in his truck and gave them to the children whose houses he serviced. He kept the bags in his sock drawer, and when I came to visit he'd give me the pick of the flavors. Pinapple. I always fished those out.

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  94. I can vividly remember eating an ice cream bar with heath candy coating with my Grandpa. He worked outside for a living so it was a nice home from work treat. He would sit and eat while watching Merv Griffin show. My grandma always had butter rum lifesavers in her purse, I don't see them very often but when I do, I usually buy a roll. My other grandpa always had whole walnuts on his coffee table. We would spend a good part of our visit cracking nuts. My grandma, loved anything sweet. She was always up for a ride to the ice cream stand!

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  95. My childhood babysitter made a lunch meal we called macaroni and milk. And that's basically what it was: boiled macaroni noodles thrown into warmed milk with a tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper. I don't know what it was about Billie's macaroni and milk, but it was my favorite treat ever, and I still make it on occasion when I'm feeling a little nostalgic. I remember grandma trying to make it for me a couple of times and I complained because it "didn't taste like Billie's" even though she made it exactly the same way. I also remember the time the lid came off the salt when Billie was making it and we struggled through that meal, lips puckered from the excessive salt. We laughed about that forever. Billie was also the one who always had BB Bats and Kits, and I still will grab those if I see them at an old fashioned candy store.

    And I still make my grandma's spaghetti and meatballs on the regular. It's my favorite spaghetti recipe in the world, and she got it from the Italian war bride who lived next door to them in the early 50s. I'm so glad she taught me to make it before she died, and I love that my own daughter loves it so we're passing the recipe down yet another generation.

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  96. "How do all of you do this? You know, make meals and keep house and drive around running errands and still take care of work and family? Plus, you know, leave the house so much?"

    I don't know. :) It just happens. Crock pot recipes for supper on a regular basis, escapes for errands after bedtime, get housework done when there's a few minutes, cuddles when the 4 yr old asks for them, and working to find time to breathe and take care of me (when my natural tendency is to look after everyone else first). Remembering I can lean on my husband for help... still have to remind myself to do that more often. :) Oh, and I look forward to visits from my inlaws, as they look after lots while they're here. ;) :D

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  97. After 45 years of cold ham sandwiches for lunch on the job, my dad has a special loathing for sandwiches at meals. However, he knows that his eldest child (moi) loves a truly artistic, layered, complex meal between delicious toasty bread. So, he tolerates my sandwich splurges during holiday breaks when I spend time at home.

    Sandwiches = family bonding

    Also, does anyone else know the generic strawberry candies with the goo in the center that was vaguely berry flavored? Those and wintergreen life savers were the only candies my grandmother kept in her purse and it was an EVENT when we were awarded a sweet treat. I still have a soft spot for those!

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  98. I had thrush while nursing both my boys...Therefore I had grimace babies. I used Gentian violet to combat the thrush, which transferred to baby's face. They looked like Grimace!

    My mother in law is sick. She just had a major operation two weeks before Christmas. We didn't do a big get together but did go down on Boxing Day. She had a spread of various meats, cheese etc. And iceberg lettuce. My kids loved those sandwiches. I try and keep washed lettuce for them, but my mother (who lives with us) seems to think that washed lettuce MUST be used right now. Constant battle.

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  99. French toast always reminds me of my grandmother. We would occasionally spend a week there, and she would make us french toast, put lots of butter on it then a spoonful of brown sugar, and it would get all gooey like caramel. The best.

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  100. My Mom-Mom COULD. NOT. COOK. Like melted an indestructible stove-level, so my food memories of her house are a lot of simple things. Cans of soda in the garage fridge (A&W and Barqs especially), lots of toast (which still managed to be burnt half the time) in the form of Chicken a la King and sandwiches with hard boiled eggs and sliced tomato and mayo and salt. Fruit with cream and sugar.

    Once my grandparents moved into a community, we also used to ALWAYS get hot dogs from the cafeteria because they sliced them longways until they were almost in half, and then cooked them in butter on the griddle and served them on a buttered, toasted roll. So bad for you, but with chopped onions, yellow mustard, and maybe relish, it was amazing. These are all the things that remind me of her when I miss her.

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  101. I totally sympathize about getting everything done because my hubby managed to break his right arm not once but twice in fifteen years. Have I mentioned he is right handed? I'm glad you are managing and that John is on the mend!
    My grandmother made great meatloaf. I don't know what was in it and I've never been able to recreate it. My mom makes hers totally differently so that's no help. But the food that most reminds me of her is hot dogs. A crispy bun with melted Cheez Wiz toasted in the oven and the hot dog had a crispy crust as well, was hot but not boiled. I regret never paying attention to how she made them.
    They also had the ubiquitous candy dish with scotch mints in the living room, butter rum lifesavers in Grammy's purse and spearmint gum.
    My paternal grandmother was an odd cook and while I never hated anything she made, I did not look forward to mealtimes with her nearly as much. It was with her that I tried corned beef, sauerkraut and artichokes for the first time. She had always had a bag of Kerrs mixed hard candies hanging around that I could raid at my leisure. She also had those creamy mint taffee candies, which I loved. Does anyone remember those?
    It's amazing how certain foods can bring memories flooding back!

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  102. The only time we got Blue Riband biscuits was at my Granny's and on the rare occasion I eat one now it makes me think of her. The smell of blackcurrant bushes and the taste of homemade blackcurrant jam on Scottish Plain toast transports me back to sitting on her back step.

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  103. My Nan used to have a bowl of Mint Imperials on her shelf - they were old and powdery but just the flavour of Mint Imperials brings back fond memories.

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  104. How ironic! My siblings and I were just talking about the hard candies that our paternal grandmother would put out at Christmas the other day. They were sugary, striped squares that would stick together over time so you'd pull a big hunk instead of one piece out of the bowl. LOL

    Grandma also had a penchant for unique sandwich meats. She would fry up Spam or ring bologna. As the only person I've ever known to do so, it was a treat when I got to have lunch at her house. :)

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  105. This made me tear up. Absolutely lovely. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  106. My granddaddy always had gum. This is because one day, he was out in his yard when someone tried to snatch a neighbor child who was getting off the school bus. My granddaddy stopped the man and brought the child home and fed her gum and (hey, tie back to the post!) pimento cheese toast until her parents came home. After that, all the kids in the neighborhood stopped by his house when they got off the bus for a piece of gum. He asked them about their schoolwork, and how things were going. He learned a lot about those kids, and they always had someone watching out for them. When he passed away, the original kids (now young adults) made a bouquet of Juicy Fruit for him, and placed a package of gum on the coffin. As the service was finishing up, my uncle walked up, grabbed the package of gum, and handed a piece to every child present.

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  107. stories about your grandfather made me smile. thanks for that.

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  108. Favorite sandwich - spinach-feta bread, Miracle Whip, paper-thin honey ham, extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

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  109. My grandma's angel food cake with her vanilla frosting. Yum.

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  110. My partner's grandfather died two years ago this winter. (Sidenote: the only thing more depressing than going to a loved family member's funeral is going to a loved family member's funeral...in upstate NY in the winter in *SUBZERO* weather.)

    The first time I met Grandpa K. was very late at night at his home. My partner and I drove from Cleveland, where we had been visiting two of my college friends, to Niagara Falls, where we spent a few hours, to his grandfather's house in Troy, NY - all in ONE DAY. This obviously involved a LOT of driving at unsafe speeds. (For about two hours I followed an SUV that had a radar detector mounted on their dashboard; I slowed down whenever the SUV did.)

    It also meant that we didn't show up at Grandpa K.'s house until after midnight.

    He was still up. We hadn't stopped for food in several hours and were really hungry, so he made us fresh BLTs. I've never been a big fan of BLTs (except the B part) but that night, Grandpa K.'s BLTs were the BEST thing I had eaten. EVER. In my ENTIRE life. I've had BLTs a few times since then, but they have never been as good as Grandpa K.'s late-night BLTs.

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  111. Is angel food cake a grandmother thing? My late paternal grandma made the BEST angel food cake. She would make it whenever she knew I was coming to visit.

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  112. My Pappy used to keep rolls of Peppermint lifesavers in the shirt pocket of his short-sleeved button-ups and dole them out for any reason at all. Upset tummy? Here you go. Ate something stinky? Try one. Crying uncontrollably because he didn't warn you about Bambi's mom? Lifesaver!

    He also had a drawer and passion for Werther's Originals and I get misty when eating them.

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  113. I dunno if I had a particular food memory with my grandmas. A strong smell of banana will remind me of my maternal grandmother, since she kept her bananas on her backporch, which would get warm in the summer. My paternal grandmother could cook, too, but she had a penchant for take-out chicken. (KFC's, Brown's) Truly appropriate that we grabbed KFC during her visitation 19 years ago this March to feed the family while we were "stuck" at the funeral home.
    My maternal grandmother would make baked apples for my sister. I remember it being a big treat if she had Nestle Crunch ice cream bars in her freezer drawer (before they came back to be popular) and I got to have one.
    This grandmother's siblings lived in the next county over, and we'd always visit the sister that lived in the house that was my great-grandparents. My great aunt would always lay out sandwich fixings for a meal...(& pickled beets! That's where I got my love for them.) Then, when taking German in HS, I think I remember learning that lunch was the heavier meal in German culture, and the evening meal was lighter...i.e. sandwich fixings. Am I remembering correctly? It makes sense since my grandma and her siblings were 1st generation Americans, with their parents from Germany.

    Sweets...those bright orange Brach butterscotches. It's been years since I had one. Also, root beer barrels or root beer Dum-Dums.

    Favorite "unusual" sandwich: Bacon and cream cheese on raisin toast. Yuuuummmm.

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  114. This reminds me of Captain Awkward and "the sandwich means I love you"... it's a great way to think about love in many forms. I think it's so sweet that you appreciate John's sandwich artistry (and many other things, of course). Hope the healing goes well!

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  115. My mom loved black licorice - wouldn't touch red licorice with a 10 foot pole! I love black jelly beans + when I can find them "Crows" which are all black "Dots". Things like this keep my dentist in business! Love the cat pics. Maybe kitty is stressed over John's surgery 😶

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  116. My Grandpa and I were the ONLY people in our family that liked mincemeat pies (note: spiced fruit compote, no actual meat in them). They are very strongly flavored, I can't believe that my six year old self liked them to be honest. Now that he's gone it's just me and a whole pie for one person seemed kind of silly. I think I'll make one this Christmas anyway, you've inspired me.

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  117. The soda Fresca always makes me think of my grandmother. She always had some in her fridge when we were kids.

    As for current candy loves, I really love Hi-Chew. It's a Japanese candy and it comes in lots of flavors. My Japanese co-worker introduced it to me (and even brought me some from Japan when she went home to visit) but you can find it at Target ad Wal-Mart.

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