Toni’s Corner

Maturing Tastes

Jul 28, 2023

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.”