Table for Two: Childhood Favorites

Remember Orbitz? (Those fruity, clear beverages with colored bubbles suspended in the bottle.) Or those TV dinners with the penguin on the box? Remember when Doritos only came in one flavor? Or when pizza came on mini bagels, or was folded into a greasy pocket? Remember when you expressed yourself by which shape macaroni (spirals, elbow or cartoon character) and which cheese (Velveeta or Kraft) you ate? And how you were disappointed when you couldn’t distinguish the character-shaped mac ‘n’ cheese? Remember when breakfast had more sugar than the dessert we eat now?

Or maybe you don’t have to remember because everything I just named is in your pantry right now. Even if you’re the most health-conscious person, there’s always something from your childhood sitting on a shelf in your pantry. Right now, I have an Old El Paso taco kit waiting for a night when I feel like being nostalgic. I dated a guy who always had to have Cap’n Crunch cereal because that’s what he ate when he was a kid.

If you want to get to know a new guy or girl, try digging up some proverbial food “skeletons” in their closet by asking some of the questions above. The “childhood favorites date” is a great conversation starter for those awkward first few dates.

**Tips for Having a Childhood Favorites Date**

1. Go grocery shopping together. The best part is walking up and down the aisles together and remembering what you used to beg your mom to buy when you were little.

2. Use mom’s recipes. Was there a recipe for casserole or a side dish your mom used to make that you have since dismissed as “not really cooking”? Well get your nose out of the air and take in the familiar smell of childhood.

3. Think inside the box. I know this is a cooking blog and I should be shunned for encouraging you to use pre-packaged box dinners, but there’s something about Old El Paso taco kits made just the way the box says that makes you feel like you’re ten again. Maybe it’s the sodium and preservatives…

4. Share stories. Maybe you used to look forward to Dunkaroos and Hi-C juice boxes after a soccer game. Or maybe you used to sneak cheese balls from that giant plastic tub in the kitchen when your parents weren’t looking. There’s always something to talk about when food is involved.

Alexia Detweiler is a kid at heart who loves red and orange gummy bears and old Nickelodeon cartoons.

Originally posted on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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