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What would you bring back from "the good old days"?


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Going on a field trip to the Helms Bakery was part

of my elementry school experience. The place was

located in Culver City and was huge.

After the tour, we were all given a mini loaf of

bread and a little cardboard Helms truck filled with

tiny chocolate chip cookies. I probably had all the

cookies eaten before getting back on the school bus!

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For the right-coasters: what's a Helms man?

Like the milk man of olden days, except he delivered baked goods. The Helms Man in our neighborhood didn't drive a van, per se. To me it had more of the shape of a hearse. :shock::laugh: It was a dull blue-ish gray color and had a bell that he would ring to announce that he was in your neighborhood. I think eventually the bell was replaced by the car horn.

He'd swing open the back doors and there would be a stack of drawers, each drawer containing some sort of baked good, from loaves of bread to cookies to pastries, etc. The bottom drawer was filled with the penny candies (Mary Janes, Bazooka Bubble Gum, wax lips, and other assorted candies). Candy had to be in the bottom drawer because the clients for that drawer were usually the small kids from the neighborhood who weren't very tall. :cool:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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When we lived in LA (mid-80s), the Helms Bakery building in Culver City had already become the Antique Guild. I used to wonder about its former life as a bakery - that building is HUGE! They did have a nice selection of Helms Bakery memorabilia, as well as some nice, affordable antiques, many of which found their way into my apartment. Thanks for closing that loop for me.

(Edited to remove a stray apostrophe from "its")

Edited by Special K (log)
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The Helms bakery even has a wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helms_Bakery

Helms was, for his day, a marketing genius. The contract for "Helms Olympic Bread" was a winner.

It was especially handy for folks in the San Fernando Valley that lived, as my dad did, in one of the "rural" areas (we had horses, goats and chickens) where it was too far to walk to a store and at that time (late '40s and through the '50s, there was only one vehicle in a household. (It wasn't exactly the Real McCoys, but close)

There was also milk delivery by the Adohr milkman (aqua colored truck).

I visited my dad in 1952 (just in time for the Tehachapi/Bakersfield earthquake) and after having been raised on a farm, found the idea of getting goodies delivered to the door absolutely incredible (as was being able to walk out into the front yard a pick oranges).

There was also a subscription meat delivery - one had to order and pay in advance and got fresh meats (also bacon and etc.,) delivered twice a week.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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- real bagels

- birch beer

- ice cream from local dairy stands (esp. black raspberry, a new england specialty in season), back when there were local dairies

- inexpensive fresh fish

Do they carry Polar in Boston? Their birch beer isn't as easy to find here in southern NH as it used to be, but it's pretty good. I can actually find Boylans more easily than Polar, but it tastes less like the birch beer I grew up with.

I not only miss local ice cream stands -- more of them here are year-round places, which isn't the same to me, and the ice cream's not always made on-site -- but black raspberries themselves. My local farmstand no longer carries them, and with all the new housing developments, I no longer know anyone who has them growing on their property.

As for the ongoing butcher shop discussion, that was one of the first things I asked about when I moved back to New Hampshire from Indiana. All the "favorite must-see 'butcher shops'" here are places selling chicken breasts and steak tips in ten kinds of marinade, with a couple aisles of gourmet pickles and Kettle Chips. The marinade is the selling point, not the meat. At one place, I asked if they had skirt steak, and they offered to pound a strip steak out for me.

I also miss Cajun Spice Ruffles, darn it.

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We had a Charles Chip delivery man. He came in a van and filled your Charles Chip tin with fresh potato chips.

The milk came from the local dairy. My father's first job was delivering milk by horse-drawn cart when he was twelve. We left a slip of paper with what we wanted checked off, and the milkman would leave it in the insulated box outside the door. This dairy also had, for a while, an ice cream shop. The milk tasted good. I buy only organic now, and it doesn't taste quite as good.

Cottage cheese with large curds and actual flavor is what I think I miss the most.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Anyone else remember Alderny Dairies out of Whippany NJ? Grew up on their milk and ice cream - always hand dipped. Went on to spend a summer dipping it at their old dairy store which had become Sip and Sup Drive-In - Corner Rte 10 and 202.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I miss,

From the IGA country store in the little town where I grew up:

1. Ice-cream, hand-packed into quart containers until it was over-flowing by the proprietor, wrapped in layers of newspaper and tied with butcher's twine like a present to help maintain the temperature on the drive home.

2. That huge wheel of “rat-trap” cheddar cheese that lived under the big glass dome on the store counter. The dome was hooked by a rope to a series of pulleys and a counterweight so when the store-keep applied the slightest upward pressure the dome swooped up and was held high above the cheese wheel for him to cut off a piece (or sample!). The health department would have an aneurism with something like that today.

Other:

1. The milkman bringing creamline milk (not homogenized) to our door every few days and leaving it in the little insulated metal box on our front steps.

2. The fish man coming around in his bright red pick-up truck on summer evenings. The back was packed with fruits de mer of every description burrowed into huge mounds of shaved ice. He would fillet, debone or cut into steaks, anything you wanted right on the tailgate then weigh it out on a scale hanging from a hook on the back. As he drove off there would always a WHOOSH of briny water sloshing out the back of the truck from the melting ice.

3. Stealing the maple sap from the buckets my grandfather had placed on many of the trees around our house to collect for syruping. I would drill or break a hole in the ice with a stick then tip the galvanized bucket up to my mouth (always worrying about it freezing to my lips, but it never did) and drink the sap. Nectar of the Gods! I still have a wee bit of his 1966 vintage Grade A Amber syrup I just savor straight by the teaspoonful from time to time.

The Big Cheese

BlackMesaRanch.com

My Blog: "The Kitchen Chronicles"

BMR on FaceBook

"The Flavor of the White Mountains"

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We had a Charles Chip delivery man. He came in a van and filled your Charles Chip tin with fresh potato chips.

We have friends who moved to one of the swingin' retirement communities in Phoenix - and there they have Charles Chips! My friends are in heaven! My folks never subscribed (in Florida), but my friends' folks did, and my friends shared. Charles Chips were wonderful! Not sure they're worth moving to Sun City for, though. :cool: Ask me again this winter.

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We had a Charles Chip delivery man. He came in a van and filled your Charles Chip tin with fresh potato chips.

We have friends who moved to one of the swingin' retirement communities in Phoenix - and there they have Charles Chips! My friends are in heaven! My folks never subscribed (in Florida), but my friends' folks did, and my friends shared. Charles Chips were wonderful! Not sure they're worth moving to Sun City for, though. :cool: Ask me again this winter.

I live in Phoenix, but a ways from Sun City. Are these chips also sold in stores? If so, do you know which ones? I'd like to try them.

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Real delis. Pasteurized but non-homogenized milk delivered from a dairy. NY Extra sharp cheddar (hard to find these days). Eclair--a Viennese pastry shop on W. 72nd St. in Manhattan, down the street from my grandparent's apt. Some people's grandmothers baked apple pie & cookies, my grandmother walked down the street & bought petit fours & Sachertorte at Eclair for our visits. I don't remember ever missing home baked apple pie (which I don't care for much anyway) or cookies.

Meals where people stay for awhile & talk. In my family (& I am not that old), no one was permitted to talk on the phone during dinner, no TV (I did hide a book under the table & read occasionally). However, we argued alot, and my father tended to engage in monologues, so it wasn't as if every meal was a delight. Most of the people I eat with now seem to race through their food, get up, go off somewhere. Sometimes my family would get so involved in a discussion, it seemed the food would get cold before anyone realized we'd been talking that long. Maybe we should've paid more attention to the food those evenings, since my mother, or occasionally my father, had put in the thought & time of cooking it, but I miss talk at the table being so important & absorbing. I miss some of what we talked about too, I haven't met that many people who talked about what we did. Maybe I don't get out enough.

I would bring back the relative lack of noise. Not so many planes flying overhead, no double or triple trailer trucks. Few helicopters. No boomboom cars & I don't remember any loud exhaust Harleys or any other motor vehicles w/custom loud exhaust systems in the areas I lived when I was growing up, no megabass sound systems blasting from houses, apartments, etc. Not until I went to college at least. No cellphone ringtones, unmuted or otherwise.

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Meals where people stay for awhile & talk. In my family (& I am not that old), no one was permitted to talk on the phone during dinner, no TV (I did hide a book under the table & read occasionally).

It's like the good old days every night at my house for dinner. :wink:

Another thing I'd bring back: the old Italian fruit stand in DePasquale Square on Federal Hill. You couldn't touch the stuff and it cost more than the supermarket, but he'd pick out pears at the peak of ripeness, incredible oranges and figs, you name it, and stick 'em in a paper bag for you.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Jaymes -

I live about half an hour from where the outermost Amish farms start.

I had told a friend of mine who lives here, but grew up in Brooklyn, about this thread. As we were waxing nostalgic over the foods of NYC that are not available here, she mentioned that she knows of, and will show me how to get to, a farm not too far from here, where they churn their own butter and make their own cheeses for public sale. She said the butter is as white as snow, and has no salt, coloring, or preservatives. She also said that they sell bulk items (flours, grains, sugars, beans, spices, etc) inexpensively, so be prepared to spend some big money there. I can't wait to get there.

Theresa :smile:

Don't know how they'll sell their butter but, as I said, at our local Amish store, we buy the butter in big rolls. You can slice off a disc and freeze the rest. Those big round slices are not handy for our small rectangular butter dishes, but they're absolutely perfect for my nice big round "butter bell" that I picked up a while back at a local swap meet.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Good chicken - it used to have more flavor. And my Grandmother to fry it for me.

Also, McDonald's french fries cooked in beef tallow and real Coca Cola, together with the idea that chips, sodas and candy were a real treat to be savored in small amounts on special occasions, not supersized and eaten daily.

Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

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Why did all those delivery operations die off? Rise of the supermarket? Increasing cost of gas?

Well, for one thing, these days there's nobody home to receive the delivery.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Delivery died off for the same reason doctor's house calls died off. Inefficient. Far less costly to roll a semi-trailer up to the supermarket.

Also, just a guess, but perhaps agra-business food scientists where able to give dairy products more life so daily or every-other-day was not essential.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

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All those things--refrigeration, women working outside the home, supermarkets, etc.--killed off delivery, and yet we have delivery for just about anything in New York (where many people don't own cars), and online shopping is bringing new forms of delivery everywhere, not to mention CSAs, which sometimes involve delivery, sometimes pickup from a central location.

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- real bagels

- birch beer

- ice cream from local dairy stands (esp. black raspberry, a new england specialty in season), back when there were local dairies

- inexpensive fresh fish

Do they carry Polar in Boston? Their birch beer isn't as easy to find here in southern NH as it used to be, but it's pretty good. I can actually find Boylans more easily than Polar, but it tastes less like the birch beer I grew up with.

I not only miss local ice cream stands -- more of them here are year-round places, which isn't the same to me, and the ice cream's not always made on-site -- but black raspberries themselves. My local farmstand no longer carries them, and with all the new housing developments, I no longer know anyone who has them growing on their property.

Yes, Polar is a local brand (Worcester, I believe) but I haven't seen birch beer since forever. A great uncle of mine used to make it, nothing better, even as a kid I preferred it to sweet tonic (local parlance for soda).

I never see black raspberries anymore either. They sure made scrumptious ice cream. Even better when when eating it next to a field full of the cows that produced the milk. It didn't seem like a luxury at the time. Who knew.


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Why did all those delivery operations die off? Rise of the supermarket? Increasing cost of gas?

Well, for one thing, these days there's nobody home to receive the delivery.

Way back in the good old days, the neighborhood grocer did make deliveries to homes when no one was there, because no one locked their houses! My mom and dad both talk about being delivery folks (my mom's dad owned the store), and they'd just walk in the back door, and if the owners weren't home, they'd put the perishables into the ice box (that's what they called it then).

I'm not sure why those places died off. Probably because the owners of the stores that provided those services died.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I live on the Berkeley/Oakland border and there are two butcher shops within 10 min walking distance from my house, and a few more within short drives, so I feel quite lucky.

I miss all the really good Chinatown BBQ places. Now there's only one or two places left that make duck wings properly, and they don't even do it consistently.

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It's funny, here in Singapore there are no lack of butchers at all, in fact its ridiculous the amount of "artisan" butchers that there are around since they all practically sell the same thing. But i guess its better then not having any. What i wish there were more off are proper fishmongers. Here in Singapore also, each time the government decides to renovate old hawker centres, the quality of food somehow will ALWAYS suffer upon reopening. Some things are also hard to find, all the old labor intensive food stuffs anyway. And too many chain places, urgh.

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