It’s not just technology that’s changing – even soup ain’t what it used to be
By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
You don’t need to be an anthropologist to see that our cultural landscape is changing.
In every way, from the way our neighborhoods look to our favorite products on the shelves of grocery stores to businesses opening – and closing – faster than most of us can keep up with, life in the 21st Century, and the pace most of us live, is nothing like the world our parents grew up in. Or even the world a few years ago.
I’ll start with some basics; who of us over the age of say, 35, did not grow up with the ultimate canned comfort food Campbell’s Soup?
My favorite was probably Campbell’s Tomato Soup. On stormy, winter days or when I was sick, nothing hit the spot like Campbell’s Tomato Soup.
But when was the time I had one? In fact have I ever bought one?
That might explain why Campbell’s Soup of all kinds is disappearing from our shelves.
If you have a favorite, I’d suggest stocking up while you can.
That iconic white and red can, once a symbol of home cooking and mom is rapidly approaching extinction.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to soup, almost everyone I know either makes their own or buys some brand that didn’t even exist five years ago.
And “soup” of 2020 is nothing like “soup” of the 20th Century.
The soup on the shelf that appeals to us now better be GMO free, organic or at least “natural” (which by the way, has essentially no legal definition – what, after all, is NOT natural?) low fat, gluten free and, to add insult to injury, probably comes in a box instead of a can.
Does anyone under 40 (or maybe 50) have memories of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee spaghetti in a can?
I have to admit that it sounds crazy to me now, but canned pasta was a huge marketing success way back in the darkest days of the 20th Century.
I ate it, but as an adult I don’t think I ever bought a can.
I’m almost reluctant to say it, but if there was ever a product that deserved to die, it would be spaghetti in a can.
Another product that was put in front of me a child that I am sure I never purchased as a grown-up is Jello. Once a staple, especially for families in the summer or on a picnic. Now, it seems like a jiggling artificially colored relic of another time. It too, deserves to die.
Speaking of food, the Breakfast of Champions, Wheaties, is marching into oblivion – along with most 20th Century benchmark breakfast cereals.
Yes, if you have a favorite cold cereal, buy a case of it next time.
Those pesky Millennials are eating almost anything besides boxed dry cereal for breakfast like burritos or anything-to-go or, gasp, skipping breakfast and “doing brunch”.
When it comes to places to eat, Old Country Buffet was once the ultimate stop for every appetite.
Maybe that was the problem, it sought to feed everyone at the lowest price in town.
At their peak, in the early 2000s there were about 700 buffet-style restaurants across the USA. The names might have been different, but it was all one company and one concept: all-you-could-eat of comfort-food favorites like fried chicken, meatloaf, mac and cheese, and coconut cream pie. The locations all looked the same, and customers could count on the same menu classics.
Like most of us perhaps, I used to love buffets, but the whole idea of endless tubs of bland food kills my appetite.
At the end of 2019, there were only about 20 branches still operating nationwide.
As to drinks, American beer, especially Budweiser, is not happening for young people. Once (self) proclaimed as “The King of Beers”, Budweiser is just not on the radar of anyone except Boomers.
As to home, who uses bar soap? I love the smell, the feel and the memories, and what could be better for the environment than a solid bar of soap wrapped in paper – or even no wrapper at all?
Somehow the plastic pump dispenser has invaded our kitchens and bathrooms.
As with music and Saturday morning cartoons, a solid argument could be made that the 1950s and ’60s were in fact, the peak era in human civilization of candy. Anyone remember Big Hunk? Or Almond Joy? Or Payday bars? Or my favorite local candy bar, the one and only Mountain Bar?
Yes, you can relive – or experience for the first time – the wonders of retro candy. (1*)
Like a favorite, or long forgotten, song – a treat or even a photo can take us back to a simpler time when we had little to worry about except what might be for dinner.
(1*) If you can’t find these treats locally, try https://www.candystore.com/candy-types/retro/ or https://www.oldtimecandy.com/ or https://www.justcandy.com/categories/nostalgic-candy