Saturday, June 15, 2013

Food memories

I was talking with Don yesterday, over breakfast at Hamilton's, about how food keeps some memories very alive.  I remember back in 1971 traveling with a girlfriend from Phoenix to Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon and back to Phoenix with me eventually ending up back home in San Diego.  Leaving Monument Valley behind us, we made a short stop in Jerome, AZ.

Neither Linda nor I knew anything about Jerome but it didn't take more than an instant to decide to stop and take a look around.  Remember this is back in 1971 and at that time Jerome was more ghostly than gilded.  Yes, there were the requisite antique shops and art galleries but for the most part there was not much development.  You drove in from the north. You parked. Your walked the entire Jerome experience in a matter of a few blocks. And you left heading straight down (literally) the mountain into the Arizona desert. But . . .

. . . before we left we stopped in at a little old fashion soda fountain (and I do mean old fashion) and I had one of the taste experiences of my life.  I had my first Peanut butter/Chocolate milkshake.  Not only had I never had one, I had never heard of the combination.  It was, in a word, SUBLIME.  To this day, I remember the flavor and since then, all other PB/C shakes have striven to meet the Jerome standard  . . . and failed.

I perused the chamber of commerce link for Jerome and I really can't tell if the little shop is there anymore.  I have a vague memory of the appearance of the building and from what I saw, I suspect it has been replaced by another food shop.

Somewhere in my stash of pre-digital photos I have pictures from our visit there.  Eventually they'll surface and get scanned.  When that happens, I post those memories too.

And speaking of food memories, is it just me or does anyone else remember how GOOD Jack in the Box onion rings used to be?  I was living in San Diego (where JITB started) when these delectable treats first hit the scene and they look pretty much like this.  

I was 15 years old at the time and I can count that age as the age that I learned that some food things are just plain sacred and should not Never, Never, Never be changed.  And of course many years later, sometime in the 80's, they did the unthinkable.  They changed the recipe.  Now they look like this and they don't even taste the same anymore.  In fact, they are pretty much like most every other onion ring - commercial, flat tasting, and with a dusty of that corn meal like stuff.  I rarely ever get their onion rings anymore but . . .

. . . to this day, I love, love, love their tacos. Crunchy on the top, soft on the bottom, greasy and flavorful - they are the best.

 So JITB, be warned, if you ever change up your taco recipe, we WILL have words!!


trailbee said...

Before Taco Bell became this great big Pepsico conglomerate, they made great tacos. 19 cents would get you a great tasting mouthful. Now? Not so great anymore. It's loaded with salt, so the meat keeps a little longer, and you have to buy a drink to get rid of the salty taste.
Just had some McD fries, unsalted upon request, but they are made differently, so salt or no, there is a change there.
I just wish I could find a banana split for less than $3.99! :) AND VEGAN. LOL. No, I don't want much.

Annie said...

I consider myself challenged. A googling I will go for a vegan banana split.

Ginny said...

How did you ever find a picture of their old onion rings? You can actually SEE the difference!!! I have noticed a lot of chains are changing their onion rings to more inferior. Wonder how many real soda fountains are actually left?

Annie said...

It took a lot of digging and this is the closest I could find. They aren't the old ones from back in the day but they are a good visual. When we first moved to Modesto in '86, there was an old Woolworth's Five and Dime with an old fashion counter but it closed in the early 90's. That was the last of them. Lot's of wannabe's now but just not the real thing anymore.

Jeanie said...

Love this, Annie. My only visit to Jerome AZ was in 1975 and I remember there wasn't much except galleries. Wish I'd discovered that milk shake, because it is a favorite flavor combo of mine!

And just because I notice these things, one of my verification words is Epistle! Perfect for a Sunday read!

see you there! said...

Never visited Jerome but I have fond memories of old fashioned soda fountains. Root beer float anyone?