Paul recently wrote a post about Free Cookies over at The Captain’s Speech. The memories he shared stirred up my own nostalgia and made me think about trips to the grocery store with my dad when I was super young.
Sorry… By “super young” I mean five years of age or younger. And, yes, I do have memories from that early in life.
I remember the career fair in preschool at the age of four where I got to pretend to be a barber and shave another kid’s face using real shaving cream and a razor that had the blade removed. That kid’s cheeks were as smooth as a baby’s butt.
I remember the big flood that hit when I was in kindergarten and watching as mobile homes were carried away by flood waters outside the big picture windows of our classroom.
And I absolutely remember shopping trips to a Kroger that no longer exists. I mean… the Kroger technically exists. They kind of moved the store across the street after that big flood of 1985 when the Lakeside Amusement Park shut down and they built a strip mall in is place. And the old Kroger building still exists… but it’s a Goodwill store and collection center now.
That Kroger was the closest grocery store to where we lived in the early 1980s. One of those things I remember about that place was the glass bottle return. Apparently, back in the day, when you bought a six-pack of Coca-Cola in the glass bottles, you were asked to bring the empty bottles back to the store once you were done with them. And it always felt like a big deal when Dad would let me return the bottles.
At the back of the store, there was this conveyer that you would place your empty six-pack on and then shove down the rollers into the employees only portion of the back of the store. It was fascinating to watch the bottles as they rolled through the tiny little door to see how far they would go before the momentum ended.
After that, we had to carry on with the shopping.
In those days, I remember there being regular free samples all over the store. Say if Hillshire Farms smoked sausages were on special for the week, a store employee would be set up near the Hillshire Farms display with a hotplate and pieces of smoked sausage served with toothpicks on a plate. I miss free samples.
Now, these memories began with cookies and I feel like I should get to the cookies…
I can’t say that I remember ever receiving free cookies at Kroger. I mean… everything was free to me, a small child. But I was aware that my parents were the ones who had to foot the bill. So it was all about how generous Dad was feeling that determined whether a cookie would be purchased from the Kroger bakery or not.
I’m certain that the bakery had a plethora of cookies available, but the one cookie that I always went for was a sugar cookie shaped like a clown. It was roughly the size of what I imagine your typical gingerbread man would be. But it looked like a clown. And it was covered with multicolored sprinkles.
Wait… sprinkles is the wrong word. Because I’m not talking about rainbow sprinkles like you would put on your soft serve at the Golden Corral. They were really more like multicolored sugar crystals.
It was a delicious cookie.
Sadly, this type of cookie is no longer found at the local Kroger. In fact, I’m not even sure you can necessarily purchase individual cookies from the Kroger bakery these days. They’re all boxed in dozens. And nary a clown to be found.
Which is actually good because, these days, I find clowns to be terrifying.
In other cookie nostalgia… Does anyone else remember the deliciousness of McDonaldland Cookies? McDonald’s used to sell cookies on their dessert menu before they started pretending to look out for our health. They had chocolate chip cookies and McDonaldland cookies… The latter were shaped like characters from McDonaldland. Like Ronald, Grimace, Fry Guys, Mayor McCheese… uh… that bird lady… and maybe the Hamburglar?
They were good… Anyone have a direct line to Ronald? Can we get those things back?