When I was a kid you could get pudding in a tin can. The can had a pull tab that opened the top. When you pulled the tab, you ended up with the entire lid in your hand, as sharp as a razor. Some kids who weren’t too smart liked to live dangerously and lick the pudding from the lid. Some of those kids actually sliced their tongues. Luckily I wasn’t one of those kids. I couldn’t be, we couldn’t afford tin pudding.
My dad made homemade pudding. He actually made the stuff from scratch. We didn’t get to bring it to school, but we did get to enjoy large bowls of the stuff after it had cooled outside. We didn’t have refrigerators back then. We didn’t seem to miss them because we were so poor that we didn’t know what we were missing.
My favorite pudding was always butterscotch. It still is, and now the stuff is cheap enough that I can actually afford it. My kid hates pudding. He doesn’t know what he is missing. Today things are so easy to get that kids often skip them and choose junk instead. Same with Jelly.
Dad used to make us 1,2,3 Jello. My kid laughed when I told him about it, and even harder when I made it for him. Then he admitted that it was fun to eat. To make the stuff you separate your jello mix into three bowls. For the first bowl you make your jello as you usually do. For the second bowl, you beat the jello with a mixer; and for the third bowl you mix jello with cool whip. then you pour bowls two and three into bowl one, in layers. Try it, it is good. I hear that back in my day you could actually buy 123 jello, but of course we couldn’t afford it. My parents were good at improvising. They had to be.
My dad told us of a candy making adventure he had as a kid. His mother used to make taffy for special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays. He watched as his mother carefully mixed several ingredients, such as molasses and baking soda, and how she made candy for my dad and all his siblings. One day dad decided to try to make some as a surprise for his mother. Instead of carefully mixing the ingredients, he used all the molasses and all the baking soda. He planned to make enough of the ‘sponge toffee’ candy for the entire family. What he ended up with was a large pot of sugar boiling over on the old wood stove. Panicking, using oven mitts, he grabbed the boiling pot and ran for the door, attempting to dump the boiling sugar taffy mix outdoors. The result was a candy road that led from the stove, through the long hall, out to the porch, down a set of stairs, down a long step and onto the veranda. The candy bar trail stopped at the front gate, where my dad met with his parents, who had just returned from a hard day in the fields. They weren’t impressed.
When my grandparents reached the house, they found all ten of their kids sitting on the floor stuffing sponge toffee into their faces. My dad still remembers how instead of getting spanked, he got to witness his parents sitting and laughing hysterically while their kids ate candy. He still remembers how he was forbidden to make candy afterwards as well. Ah memories.