Supermarket Sweep!


I absolutely adored going to the supermarket with mom. It was a time when “Supermarket” really meant SUPER!!! It was much more than just food, it was a place to catch up on the gossip of the day and show off to the neighbors. 

Mom would get all dressed up. Full skirt, starched blouse with a stand up collar, perfectly coiffed hair and always a beautiful pump to set the whole outfit to perfection. I, of course, would be dressed in a miniature version of mom and I had to have a purse to match it… Taffy taught me well! Off we would motor to the Food Fair, park the car and stroll in graciously as if the only thing on our minds were a roast for this evenings dinner! 

Like clockwork we would slowly make our way through the aisles. Taffy loved the latest technology in food. When frozen dinners hit the market, we of course were the first to try them. From meatloaf to sweet and sour was all contained in one easy to serve foil tray. Fried Chicken seemed to be a popular entrée, and I loved it! “What a miracle” Taffy would exclaim! Of course always having her finger on the pulse of things, Taffy quickly had fiberglass folding TV dinner trays with brass legs ready for the 3 courses contained in that aluminum foil tray! As we sat in front of the TV watching The Flintstones, we dug into  our dinner.  Of course our trays had eagles on them since Taffy was currently into the “colonial” craze that was sweeping the interior decorating world! 

As we rounded the corner to the meat department Taffy would always wave a hello to the butcher, Joe, who was always there to carve a scrumptious roast for us. This was the perfect place for the gals to gather. Butchering took some time, so all the wives could catch up on the latest. The gals would tell tales of happenings and gossip from the neighborhood and brag about how well their husbands were doing at work. They giggled a lot through their kidskin gloves and told each other they were “terrible”! One by one they would get their roasts from Joe and make their way to a new isle for shopping while the others would continue until their time was up. 

I was always excited when we turned the corner to the cereal isle! It was like going on a safari full of pots of gold, lions, kilted men and … CLOWNS!!! There they were, leering at me... SUGAR SMACKS!… I shuddered in fear. Those clown faces, several different ones, stairing off those boxes of sweetness. I always asked mom to speed up as we passed them! Thank god for “Big Otis” nearby to keep me safe. Big Otis selling “the brawniest, brightest oat cereal of them all!” Who knew “bears” were a thing back then. Unfortunately, it didn’t really sound very delicious. Then I saw it… something I had to have. Something that would satisfy this little gals sci-fi dreams of a brighter tomorrow… SUGAR JETS! Sugar coated puffs that could make me fly! Since sugar was the second ingredient, it was no wonder I had all that extra energy the box said I would have!!! Even better was that it said it was "fun for snacks".  It was even recommended by Betty Crocker herself! How could a housewife in training ask for anything better than that! 

We would continue through the isles, checking for new products to bring home and try. Mom said the boil in a bag veggies were really a life saver. Creamed corn in a bag… what next… a nuclear oven!? The one new product Taffy never liked were those “potato flakes” in a box. She said it was fake and nothing could beat good potato’s peeled at home, boiled until fork tender and then mashed with good butter, whole milk and salt. She would buy a bag of “good ones” and they would be kept on the cellar stairs because it was dark and cool and would keep them from sprouting. 

We sailed through the registers with ease and Taffy never missed an opportunity to say hi to the checker and ask her if she had heard any new gossip! The handsome “bag boy” filled our brown paper bags with the days purchases and then escorted us to the car and placed them in the back seat. I always thought those boys were so good looking in their creased trousers, white starched shirts and long white aprons. A quick ride home and Taffy was ready to start the evenings dinner. Of course, Taffy, like clockwork, prided herself on making a roast beef dinner every month. Slices of onion, tooth picked on top of the roast, a heavy helping of salt and pepper for added flavor and even a shake or two of Accent. Accent was a marvel and seemed so exotic. Taffy said it was what gave “oriental” food its yummy flavor. Next was the big pot for boiling the potato’s and a smaller one for the creamed corn in a bag. Taffy never slowed down. Things always went smoothly in the kitchen. Taffy’s household was a prime example of the perfectly run home. Duke walked in the door at 6pm sharp. Taffy had a whiskey sour ready for him as we all sat down to a marvelous dinner. Duke beamed as he dug into his favorite meal. After finishing up, it was time for Taffy and Duke to enjoy a cup of coffee and a Pall Mall cigarette before heading into the living room to watch some TV. Duke knew that Taffy’s dinners were always full of flavor and perfect! Thank god she had the Supermarket! 

Hugs and love 

Doris Dear

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