Have you ever ate something out of nostalgia and realized, “This doesn’t taste like I remember.”? My dad is notorious for that exact phrase. I can’t count how many times he’s mentioned, “They changed the recipe.” about something he savored as a kid. “Twinkies and Ho-Hos have different sugar, hog head cheese has too much…hog.” “Molasses used to taste different.” My pop has said it all. I sometimes think that what he ate then, just wasn’t as great as he thought.
My childhood consisted of a lot of eating out This was also a time when moms flocked to the grocery aisles for Hamburger Helper® and Rice-A-Roni®. My family rarely ate from scratch unless we were having dinner at my grandma’s house. Due to a busy working mom, box meal kits were a regular occurrence at our dinner table. I remember loving Cheeseburger Macaroni flavored Hamburger Helper®. I always got excited when that was in the pantry. My mom tried all of the variations of “Helpers” but this was the crowd favorite.
Some time ago I was missing my childhood and decided to pick up a box of Classic Cheeseburger Macaroni. I got the exact type of ground beef my mom bought and began whipping it up. I decided to add some razzle-dazzle and purchased some cheddar cheese for the topping. The smells emitting from the pan reminded me of getting home after school and waiting for dinner to be made as a kid.
As I sat down with my heaping bowl, I turned on the television prepared to watch something nostalgic. I switched on some old Disney Channel show and dug in. The familiar taste didn’t wash over me. I took another bite, and another…nope. It tasted so dull. It had plenty of salt, but just blah. I decided to sprinkle the contents of my spice cabinet on it in vain. It just wasn’t the same. My taste buds decided Hamburger Helper® was a thing of my past, and there was no going back. I ended up attempting to eat some the next day and it was even more distasteful. I gave up, I surrendered to just being like my pop.
“They changed the recipe.”