Siege Diaries 5/7/2020

It seems clear that a lot of restaurants will not survive the closures due to the pandemic—especially smaller mom-and-pop places. It’s possible we’ve eaten at some of our favourites for the last time. That got me thinking of some favourite foods of my childhood that have disappeared…so enjoy a little light nostalgia, and maybe be reminded of some of your own favourite foods that are gone, but not forgotten.

Jolly Rancher Lemon Stix

This was for the “Fire” flavour, but you get the idea

My mother worked part time as a bookkeeper at the Riverside Pharmacy after we moved to Upper Arlington. My absolute favourite things to buy in the candy aisle were Jolly Rancher Lemon Stix. These were long pieces of hard candy, maybe 8” long and about an inch wide. They came in all kinds of flavours—grape, watermelon, apple, cherry, “fire”—but the lemon ones were the only ones I wanted. At 10 cents apiece, I bought them by the handful, and often found them in Christmas stockings. I’ve never found another lemon hard candy that was so perfect. Eventually, the Stix disappeared, but you could still get them as pieces of hard candy. Then, sometime maybe ten, maybe fifteen years ago, Jolly Rancher discontinued the flavour, replacing them with blue raspberry in its mix of flavours. They still make a pretty decent cherry candy, but I miss the lemon ones.

Tantalizingly, when I did a search it turns out that Hershey, which now owns the brand, may have revived the lemon flavour–but of course, now with the world gone sideways, it may be awhile before I can find out–maybe there is hope for the future!   The Stix seem to be still made, but only in small quantities.

Life Savers Wild Cherry


Life Savers used to make a lot more whole rolls devoted to a single flavour. Wild Cherry can still be found in Five Flavours rolls, but you used to be able to buy an entire roll of it. I could inhale an entire roll of Wild Cherry in a manner akin to a chain smoker going through a pack of cigarettes. Maybe it’s best that they’re gone…although a Google search revealed that they might still be available via mail order…..nooooooooo!

Oscar Mayer Sandwich Spread


I was a picky eater as a kid. For a number of years, the only sandwiches I would carry in my lunch were peanut butter (no jelly) and what I called “lunchmeat.” This was a spread sold in a tube by both Oscar Meyer and Kahn’s; the Oscar Meyer was the superior product. I later found out that this was also known as “hamsalad.” The main meat was finely diced bologna, and it also contained sweet pickles, water, corn syrup, mayonnaise, vinegar, corn starch, dried red bell peppers, salt, and dried onions.  It was the colour of bologna, kind of chunky looking, with little flecks of red and green from the peppers and the pickles.  I occasionally referred to a sandwich made of it as “barf on a bun.”  It seems to have been a Midwestern comfort food, but seems to have disappeared from shelves at least a decade ago, maybe more.  And unlike the two candies above, this one appears to be gone for good.  Not much call for retro lunchmeats that would appear to have escaped from a 50s recipe book, alas.